Category Archives: Family Fun

Family Honor Plate

When I was growing up my parents had a tradition that for various unique/monumental occasions, we had a special plate that one of us would get to use at dinner. It was gold in color and much more fancy than the other dishes they used for every day.

So for things like a birthday, or a great report card…things like that, we were “rewarded” with the special plate at dinner. We all wanted it and loved having the honor of eating off of it!

It is a tradition that I wanted to carry on with my own kids, but honestly, I hadn’t taken the time to find a special plate that would work for such occasions.

Then I was contacted by #Flyby Promotions about a new product they had for review called the Family Honor Plate. It was a kit that had everything available to paint a plate together that could be used to recognize honorable traits in your kids.

Around the edge of the plate are listed the Fruits of the Spirit. Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness,  Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-control.

The idea behind using the plate is simple. Watch for those times when your kids are displaying one of the Fruits of the Spirit and then they get the Honor Plate to use that day. But even beyond that, they encourage you to have your kids watch for those traits in other family members and “gift” the plate when it is appropriate!

What a wonderful way for us parents to be watching, but also for our kids to be learning how to see and recognize those fruits as well.

The kit comes with everything you need to paint the plate. We sat down as a family to come up with a design and color pattern. As you can see from the top picture, we used painters tape to mark off equal sections and it worked pretty well!

Then you start painting, making sure to clean your brush well between each color. I will say that for some reason my red and purple especially were very thick upon opening. Almost to the point that I couldn’t spread them with the brush. I was really hoping that when we baked the plate the brush strokes would soften and even out.

But as you can see from the finished picture below, that didn’t happen. So my only piece of advice would be to not paint on several coats and keep it as thin as possible! I have done other painted pottery pieces before and if you didn’t have several coats, the color after baking would be very light. In this case, the color after baking was just the same as before baking!

Once you are done painting, you let it dry for a period of time and then they have baking instructions on how to cure your plate. Once it has baked and cooled you can use it to eat on!

Our family is going to have fun using this plate over and over again as we watch for honorable characteristics in one another!

In addition, I was sent these fun Table Tyme Discussion cards. Every day has a new question that helps encourage conversation around the dinner table!

Even though my plate didn’t turn out “perfect”, we had a lot of fun planning how to paint it and discussing how we were going to be using it. I think this would be a wonderful project for any family and a great way to encourage kids to be aware of and watching for the fruits of the spirit!!

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I was sent the Family Honor Plate for free to complete and review. All opinions expressed are my own!

Getting Our Paint On – #TheFringeHours

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In honor of her upcoming book, I am joining Jessica Turner today for Fringe Friday. Sharing fun ways that we spend our fringe hours.

I had seen the idea on Instagram. My friend Logan had created a fun abstract art project for her kids to work on and I was inspired. I showed a picture of it to Elijah and he said that he wanted to do it too.

So one evening I ran over to our local Wal-mart and grabbed some new paints and some 11×17 blank canvases. A 2-pack for $6.97 seemed like a steal, so I grabbed 2 packs, a couple of rolls of painters tape and some new brushes and started dreaming up ideas of what we would do.

I will be honest the supplies sat untouched for several weeks. It is hard for me to take time for things like this. My kids love it and are asking me to let them paint all the time. I tend to get too stressed out about the potential messes and the fun quickly loses its appeal.

But I am learning that I need to take time for myself (and my kids) for fun projects. And I love painting, although I don’t have a lot of natural talent. So after dinner one evening I asked the kids if they wanted to paint.

Excited to get started, we pulled everything out. The idea was to use painters tape and tape off patterns on the canvas and paint around the tape. When it is dry you pull the tape off and the colors pop!

I did the taping, but let the kids tell me where and how to position it. I wanted these to be their projects – not mine! And then I let them choose their colors and set them to painting!

Painting Collage 1

It really was a lot of fun watching them explore their creative side. Continually praising their work, they beamed with pride over their creations. We were all anxious for the next morning when we could take the tape off the dried canvases!

The first thing we did in the morning was remove the tape and wow, what beautiful pieces of art we had!

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They are now all proudly displayed in their rooms.

Sometimes my fringe hours are spent encouraging the creative side of my littles. (<====Click to TweetAnd while there was commotion and mess and a little bit of crazy going on during that time, I have memories of fun and laughter and pride over their work.

It was worth every minute.

I forget this all too often. That I need to be willing to make a mess, and to show my kids that I am not going to be stressed over it so that I can enjoy some quality time with them!

And the look on Elijah’s face the following morning as he held his art, perfection.

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And after they were all off in bed, I took some time and did some quiet painting of my own and came up with this….

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My heart has been focused on community lately, and dreaming of that turquoise table this spring…I thought this painting captured that well.

I don’t always do a good job of enjoying and utilizing my fringe hours, but when I do…what a blessing it is.

What do you like to do in your fringe hours?

A South Dakota “Bacation” (goes to Wyoming) – Part Six

Alright, last but not least I have to share about our South Dakota, turned Wyoming, vacation stop! I haven’t ever been to Devil’s Tower, I have seen pictures, but it was another few hours farther West.

We decided that if we got going on our last full day at a reasonable time, it would be worth it to make the drive over the border to Wyoming because we were already so close.

Man was it worth it! What a site!

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It is pretty amazing seeing these rolling hills and then this tower of rock dominating the landscape!

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Once we parked there was a trail that some of us decided to hike around the base of the tower.

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You almost can’t see it, but at the far left of the tower (picture above) a little more than halfway down, there was a climber. There were several actually and they need permission to go up! I am sure Isaac is planning a trip back there some day to do just that!

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Apparently there is a wooden ladder on one side of the tower…you could look through these spyglass deals and see it. Karlena didn’t fully understand she needed her eye open though! 🙂

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Birds circling the top.

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This tree was so interesting and unique I had to take a picture!

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Here are the prayer bundles that they warned about touching!

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The hike around the tower was a little over a mile. Karlena led the way most of the time.

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It was a wonderful way to spend our last day of vacation!

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Have you ever been to Devil’s Tower?

A South Dakota “Bacation” – Part Five

I don’t know that you can take a trip to South Dakota without stopping through Custer State Park. What a beautiful part of the State!

After our pontoon ride on Thursday we were only an hour or so away from Custer so we headed down that way. Our first stop was the Needles Highway.

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HUGE rock formations and narrow driving paths make this a fun adventure. Unless you are a over sized motor home who has come to a narrow, one-way tunnel and you have a line of traffic behind you and you can’t go forward, and you can’t turn around. It was a bad day for that family!! (I wish I had taken a picture – they had to close that section of the Needles Highway for a time!)

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There were several spots to get out and climb (this mama’s worst nightmare as my kids scaled up the sides of the rocks)

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Karlena would have loved to do this on her own!! I on the other hand thought Dominic had to go with her!

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The we decided to head to the Custer Wildlife Loop in hopes to see some Bison.

It was HOT and sunny and I think all of the animals were hiding in caves somewhere….thus no wildlife, and no pictures…

Oh wait we saw a smooshed snake in the middle of the road. I didn’t take a picture 😉

On our way back home we were heading through Custer (the town) and saw Scott’s Rock Shop. It was a find after a disappointing bison search. We were probably there over an hour and we spent WAAAAY too much money on rocks and treasures but the kids loved it and if I am honest the adults did too!!

If you head to South Dakota, Custer State Park is a MUST stop!

A South Dakota “Bacation” – Part Four

In the middle of the week we took a morning and Dominic, Isaac and I went into Rapid City and had a tour of a potential college choice, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. It was a small campus, but we got a nice tour and if Isaac decides to pursue Engineering it will likely be a top contender. So crazy that we are having to makes these kinds of decisions already!

One thing I would say about vacations is to schedule in a down day. For almost every day we were in the Hills we were going, going, going. By Friday Gabriel asked if we could not drive somewhere and just stay home. So next year we are going to try and do that.

On Thursday morning we did something pretty fun, we rented a 22ft pontoon boat at Lake Sheridan. Gabriel really wanted to do some fishing, and my parents had done this with us last year when we were out there and it was a lot of fun, so we thought it would be fun again!

Lake Sheridan

We didn’t think of the idea until Tuesday so finding a place that had boats large enough for our group was difficult. The only boat we could find during a 3-day period was Thursday from 8am-1pm. It seemed early in the morning and I was worried it would be cold, but the day ended up being perfect!

Karlena fishing

Karlena caught the first of 4 fish. It was the cutest thing ever! Once it got in the boat she wanted to look at it but didn’t want to touch it! 🙂

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I even caught a fish, we got 4 rainbow trout. It was awesome. Elijah posed with the one I caught!  I felt bad because Gabriel didn’t catch anything that day but it was still a blast.  The boat had a fish finder on it so the kids would watch that and then yell that a “big one” was coming!

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It was perfect weather, got a little warm even. But we had snacks and juice pouches etc. with us so it was a wonderful time on the water…even wore Karlena out completly!

Lake Sheridan

If we ever go back out there we will definitely do this again. It was only $165 for the 5 hours, the pontoon was plenty big for our group and the lake was beautiful! Fishing in a pontoon is so much easier than a small fishing boat because the kids had plenty of room to walk around and it didn’t sway the boat any.

We even did some swimming, well the bigger kids did. But the water was ice cold so they stuck really close to the boat. Karlena even wanted to go in so Isaac helped her a little, but once her legs got in that cold water she was over it! 🙂

Have you ever rented a boat like this? What was your favorite part?!

A South Dakota “Bacation” – Part Three

For those of you sticking along with all the vacation posts, thanks! 🙂 I know it can get boring to read about someone else’s vacation…but I wanted to post these so that I don’t forget everything we did. I didn’t do this last year, I did 1 big post I think and there were so many things I wished I had written down. So this is all about me! 😉

The only tough thing about vacationing with a large group is deciding what we should do each day! We had a range of ages between adults and kids and so tried to find things that we could do that worked for everyone.

We decided to check out Wonderland Cave on Tuesday.

Wonderland Cave

There are several caves in South Dakota that you can explore. This cave was about 30 minutes from our rental home and had the least amount of steps…so we thought it was the best bet for everyone.

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Gabriel and Elijah waiting for our tour to begin.

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Karlena loved this covered wagon…it would have been even better with real horses. She wants to ride a horse SO bad!

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After a short hike down a trail we came to the entrance of the cave. Our tour guide Kyle was quite a character…he made the tour interesting to say the least! 🙂

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Caves are pretty cool. Have you ever been in one? The only downfall was the steps were pretty steep and because of all the rain they had had the week before we came the steps were wet. A little scary at times, especially with the little ones!

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They called those formations bacon! 🙂

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The tour was about 45 minutes long and the kids loved it (well all except our niece Ari…she just turned 2 and wanted to walk on her own, but because of the slippery steps she couldn’t so she was upset about that! 🙁  But I think all in all it was a fun experience for everyone.

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A random picture of Isaac that he actually let me take of him! 🙂 Have to have something for his senior graduation party!

A South Dakota “Bacation” – Part Two

The first full day we spent in South Dakota was a little cold and windy. We decided to take a drive out to Spearfish Canyon. I wasn’t a smart mama and didn’t pack a jacket for anyone…it was sunny and warm when we left the house and after we drove for awhile, the weather got much cooler! Lesson learned – always pack a sweatshirt/jacket even if it seems we won’t need one!

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My only South Dakota Selfie! 🙂

Spearfish Canyon is really beautiful. You drive through and there are so many beautiful things to look at and these little pull-off areas where you can park, hike and explore.  Even though it was colder, because we were down in the canyon it wasn’t windy like it had been in Deadwood when we had driven through there earlier that morning.

Spearfish Canyon

Spearfish Canyon

When we planned to be out for the full day we would pack lunches and bring them with us. Saves money and time, and we could eat whenever we wanted to without having to find a restaurant for 16 people!

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The kids loved being able to explore for “treasures”…searching for cool rocks with different colors kept them busy for a long time!

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Karlena Rock Hunter

Throughout the canyon there are a couple of different waterfalls to stop and take pictures of.

Spearfish Canyon Waterfall

We had lunch by this one!

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Elijah was REALLY excited about seeing this waterfall!

Elijah Waterfall Celebration

He was running around and celebrating, it was hillarious!

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Isaac enjoyed the climbing the most. Any place we stopped he looked for places to climb. Once again this mama’s heart skipped many a beat watching him scale the rocks!

We had a fun day in Spearfish Canyon – have you ever been there? Dominic and I were there in late October one year and hoped to see the colors changing, but we were about a week late and  it snowed that weekend so all the leaves were falling! 🙂

A South Dakota “Bacation” – Part One

Our family was blessed to be able to spend over a week away from home, vacationing in the Black Hills of South Dakota. I wanted to post while we were there, but I have read that one needs to be careful about blogging about a vacation during a vacation for security reasons…so I kept it quiet until we got back.

Karlena kept calling it our “bacation”…and the name stuck!

It is a LOT of work getting ready for vacation isn’t it? I was stressed before we left, but when we hit the road on Saturday afternoon we were all excited to go. It is fun to see the changes in scenery and one of the first things we noticed were fields and fields full of this yellow plant.

Fields of "moo-stard"

I asked Dominic what it was and he said it was “moo-stard” plants. Later in the week we were told it was sweet clover (boo)…fields of moo-stard (the Grey Poupon type) is a much more fun thought!

We decided to drive only 1/2 way the first day. Our kids don’t love being in the car for long drives…and staying in a hotel with a pool is a rare treat…so we did that. On Sunday morning we got up early and drove through the Badlands. Karlena wanted to go through the “Goodlands” instead….she was afraid of the Badlands.

Until she got there and we got out so the kids could climb around.

Climbing in the Badlands

Karlena has AMAZING skills when it comes to scaling rocks with no help. I had near heart attacks multiple times that week. She has NO fear! Dominic said it is as though she can look at the rocks and visualize the path she needs to take and she does that. I would have felt better if she were wearing a harness!

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Gabriel climbing as well!

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The only picture Dominic and I took together and I don’t think we got a single family picture…although I took over 100 pictures every day!

We went on to Wall Drug, which was crowded and overpriced…but it was fun to walk through for an hour or so. Riding the horse was the most fun Karlena had! She is obsessed with riding a horse! 🙂

Wall Drug

We rented a home near Nemo, SD. Dominic’s parents, his brothers and their families joined us as well. The house was in a remote, yet great location for us to travel throughout the Hills every day. We saw a deer each night around 7pm and on our final morning there we had a flock of wild turkeys. (Neither of which I was able to get pictures of!)

Black Hills

When I hiked out from the back of our house I came to a clearing and this was my view. It was beautiful. I got some great videos of the wind and the grass and trees…I have a post idea just for that and will hopefully share soon!

God’s majesty was just so evident here. I know that it is all around us, but here, in a place with little cell service and no distractions…I just was more aware than ever of how amazing this planet of ours is!

I have lots more to share with you….but want to break this up for my families sake…so we can remember everything. So be back with more soon! 🙂

Where have you vacationed recently? I am looking for ideas for next summer already! 🙂

 

 

When It’s The Little Things….

Fish 4Dominic and I were at Walmart a few weeks ago and saw some Beta fish and he commented that he thought the kids might really like to have one. He said he wanted to bring them over to help pick a fish out so we didn’t do anything that night.

But life gets busy doesn’t it?!

Whether it is work or kids/school commitments, time at church….there are a lot of things that can fill out days around here.

We have been super busy with our business. It is a God-given blessing indeed, and we try not to take it lightly, but at times the weight of all that needs to be done can feel pretty heavy.

Last night it was time to leave the office and I could tell Dominic was so tired but felt like he needed to stay and work. I encouraged him to come home and have dinner and see the kids and then get back at it if he needed to.

He thought that maybe he should take the kids out and go look at a fish.

So while I was making dinner, Dominic took the 3 littles out to Walmart. They were so excited they could hardly stand it!

They came home with 4 fish, because of course they each needed one! 🙂

Fish 3They set to task to prepare their new home environments.

They washed out old vases I had kept for a time such as this, cleaned up some old river rock we had saved from previous fish habitats and worked to get the water temperature just right and added the chlorine treatment so the water would be safe.

Then they had to wait.

Dominic explained that for the safety of the fish, it was best to wait an hour for the water temperature in the vases and the water temperature in the fish’s current “home” to align…that way when we transferred them over they would have the best chance at survival.

Waiting can be hard so we put in a movie to pass the time. It was Spongebob and it was terrible, but at one point I was sitting on the couch with 3 of my kids and they were all laughing.

It’s the little things, isn’t it?!

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Seeing the smiles on their faces when they look at their new fish, hearing their laughter – even if it is at a terrible cartoon character….it was all worth it last night.

In the midst of so much “to-do”, we all needed something like a couple of new fish to remind us what is really important.

The small things can bring such joy can’t they?!

I often forget to look for the things that bring me joy, it isn’t that I am not grateful for our many blessings…but I don’t stop and “smell the roses” enough.

Last night we all did that and it was wonderful.

The kids named their fishes….Turk (short for turquoise) – Gabriel, Circle fish – Elijah and Around – Karlena. 🙂  We will see if these are still the names when the kids get up this morning!

And thankfully, at least today, all of the fish were alive when I got up!

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I know life gets tough and sometimes it is hard to find the joy in our circumstances. But I encourage you today to take some time to do something small that helps you find that joy.

Whether it is taking a walk and watching the sunset, or curling up with a good book, or sitting on the couch under a pile of blankets watching a cartoon with the kids.

Take time to find that thing that brings you joy! You will be so blessed when you do. 

I am celebrating that which brings us joy today with Holley Gerth and some other wonderful women that are seeking to bring light each Wednesday with Holley’s 2014 Encouragement Challenge.  You can join in on the fun here!

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