Our Family

Our Family

Monday, June 30, 2008

Galveston Texas

We are home! We had a wonderful time on the beach in Galveston Texas. The children are already asking if we can go back next year. We stayed at Dellanera RV Park which was right on the beach. The RV Park was very nice. The campsites were a little close and the playground needed some repairs, but you couldn't beat the location, it was clean, and the staff was very friendly. We arrived in Galveston at 1:30 am on Thursday morning and spent the rest of the night in Walmart parking lot. We got up, made breakfast, got dressed, checked into the campground at 8:00 am, and were on the beach by 9:00. We walked back to our campsite at lunchtime (5 minute walk), made lunch, and put the little ones down for their nap. After lunch we headed back out to the beach until supper. That was our schedule every day that we were there, although mom, dad, Nick and Chelsea did do some sightseeing on Friday during nap time. They went to Historic Downtown Galveston by trolley and got to see the Opera House, The History Museum, and some of the shops. The beach was not the most beautiful that I have ever seen. The sand was darker than the beaches in Florida, but it made great sandcastles (which is the most important thing.) Galveston had a lot of rain right before we arrived so the water was a liitle murky and a lot of seaweed was on the beach by the afternoon. The great thing about the beach was that it was not crowded at all, it was close by, and the water was warm. I would definitely go back again.

Cost wise it was a very reasonable vacation. The campsite was $38 a night for a site with water, electric, and sewer, plus a $6 early check in fee made the cost $120 for lodging. We spent $125 on groceries (which I would have had to buy even if we did not go camping) and $400 in gas (it was a little over 400 miles to the beach) So our beach vacation was only $645 including food, gas, and lodging for 4 days.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Bathing Suit Shopping

We had to go into town early today to take Alex to the doctor and have his stitches removed. While we were there we went by Walmart to grab a couple of things for our trip. Chelsea's bathing suit from last year is in a little bit of rough shape so I thought we would look for a new one while we were there. Our mission was unsuccessful. I cannot believe the bathing suit selection there is for young girls. Why we insist on trying to make our daughters dress like this is beyond me. There were mostly two piece bathing suits (which I won't let her wear), or one piece with no backs to them. She did find a modest one piece that she liked, but it was white and we were concerned that it would become see through when it was wet. I hope we have better luck tomorrow when we get to Galveston.
We leave when Art gets home from work today, so I will post about our trip on Monday. Have a great week-end!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Chicken Coop is Finished

The chicks that we got back in April have grown all of their feathers so it is time to move them out of their box and into a chicken coop. My husband never ceases to amaze me. When he started building the chicken coop, I thought it was going to be like a little hutch. Instead Art designed a coop with a separate box for each chicken to roost in surrounded it with fencing for them to run in and covered it with more fencing so they can't fly out. The children were also a big help to Daddy. These chickens have some deluxe accommodations and when Art started to run out of materials, he filled in what he was missing with hard wood floor scraps that he found in the attic. Even a broken drill, the chigger incident (he will not let me write a blog about that), taking Alex to the ER ( 3 stitches in his lip) did not stop him from completing this project before we leave for the beach. Unfortunately something did manage to get to the chickens through the wire fencing and kill 3 so tonight we will have to work on that problem.

Tasty Tuesday:Chocolate Peanut Butter Candy Dessert

I had to make a meal for a friend who just had surgery and was trying to decide what kind of dessert to make when the new Kraft Food and Family magazine arrived in my mailbox. This magazine is full of great meal ideas. I doubled this recipe to make one for my family too and it was a big hit!

12 Oreo cookies crushed
2 TBSP butter melted
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 cups cold milk
2 pkg instant chocolate pudding
2 cups thawed cool whip divided
2 TBSP hot fudge ice cream topping
1/4 cup candy coated peanut butter pieces (I left these out)

Mix crushed cookies and butter press firmly in the bottom of an 8x8 pan

Place peanut butter in bowl and gradually and milk stirring with a wire whisk until well blended. Add dry pudding mixes and beat 2 min. Stir in 1 cup of whipped topping. Spread onto prepared crust and top evenly with remaining whipped topping. Refrigerate 3 hours or until ready to serve. Microwave fudge topping as indicated on package and drizzle over top. Top with candy pieces.

Makes 12 servings

Monday, June 23, 2008

Our Summer Schedule

We are on summer vacation! Chelsea finished all of her 5 Th grade work back in March and Nick finished all of his Kindergarten work the first week in April, so we moved on to the next grade. I do not like to take a full summer vacation because I think they forget too much of what they have learned (especially in Math.) We are at a good place to take a break, and because we have a lot going on between now and the end of July, we are finished with our "school" work until the first week of August. We do not do any formal school work for the next month, but we still may do some projects if it is rainy or over 100 degrees and we are stuck indoors. We go to the library at least once a week and we still read a lot. Right now we are enjoying the library's summer reading program and looking forward to our beach trip. I am looking through several catalogs to get some ideas for next year. I consider myself a bit eclectic when it comes to Homeschooling and I really like our Math, Science, Reading, and History we are doing right now. Next year I would like to add a foreign language, art, and classical music into our schedule.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Frugal Family Fun: Summer Edition

The Frugal Friday topic on http://www.moneysavingmom.com/ this week is Frugal Family Fun for summertime. My favorite frugal way to go on vacation is camping. Hotels have gotten quite expensive and with seven people in our family we are required to get two rooms. After extensive research last year, Art and I bought a used motor home. This allows us to take several short inexpensive trips. We are heading to the beach next week, and a beach house to accommodate our family would run anywhere from $3000-$6000 for the week (depending on which beach you go to) Our campsite is $40 a night. The motor home has a kitchen, so we can bring all of our meals and avoid the expense of eating out. There are several state parks (which offer free educational programs for kids every day in the summer) at different lakes near our house, and we can camp there for $18.50 a night. We have a great time swimming, hiking, fishing, roasting marshmallows, and enjoying time together as a family.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


In July of 2005 when we were at a hotel swimming pool, Nick lost his footing on the stairs and went right under the water. He panicked and could not get his foot back on the stair. Art was in the water just a few steps away helping Alex to swim, and I was right on the edge of the pool but those few seconds that it took me to pull Nick out were the longest few seconds of my life. I pulled him out and he was fine (thank you God) but not everyone is so lucky.

Drowning is the second most common cause of death in children in the United States. I knew that the number was high and try to always watch my children like hawks while they are swimming. I have read before that people think someone makes a lot of commotion when they are drowning, but that is not true. Most of the time they will slip silently under the water and go undetected until it is too late. Children need to be carefully supervised when they are swimming. What I didn't know was that were two other types of drowning that we as parents and caregivers need to watch out for.

There are two theories as to what causes dry drowning, which is drowning with no water found in the lungs. A sudden rush of water into the throat can cause the airway to snap shut and although no water enters the lungs, no air can enter either so the victim dies of asphyxiation. The second theory says that the shock of extremely cold water causes the heart to stop. To prevent our children (or ourselves) from becoming victims of dry drowning, we need to teach them to keep their mouths closed when jumping or diving into water and also to enter very cold water slowly. People who have a history of heart problems should avoid very cold water completely.

Secondary or delayed drowning is when a small amount of water enters the lungs and prevents them from transporting oxygen into the bloodstream. Death can occur several hours after this happens. You may have read about a 10 year old boy in South Carolina who died from this recently. Caregivers should monitor very closely any child who comes out of the water coughing and sputtering, especially keeping an eye out for further difficulties in breathing, extreme tiredness, or marked changes in behavior, all of which are signs that a swimmer may have inhaled a dangerous amount of fluid. If any of the signs are observed the child needs to be taken immediately to an emergency room.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

4-H District Competition

Yesterday was the District-O-Rama for 4-H where all of the counties in Southwest Arkansas got together and competed in various competitions such as: bait casting, Beebe shooting, illustrated talks, and fashion revue. Chelsea competed in the Illustrated Talks Competition in the junior division and the Consumer Economics category. She was very nervous and when we got to the room she decided she wanted to go home and skip the talk. After watching several others she relaxed and did a great job on her talk about the Wii. She ended up with first place and was not too nervous to walk across the stage and get her trophy.

Father's Day Project

Last Monday I wrote about our Monday Morning Project, but I couldn't say what it was because it was a surprise for Art. The children wanted to give their daddy pictures for Father's Day. They decided to take pictures with my digital camera and make frames to put them in. First they painted cardboard strips. While they were drying the pictures were taken. Chelsea took all of the pictures except Nick took the picture of Chelsea. They mounted the pictures onto a piece of card stock and fitted the frame around the picture. All of the pictures turned out great and it was an easy, inexpensive father's day present.

Monday, June 16, 2008

DeGray Lake

Art and I had a wonderful time on our week-end away and plan on taking the kids there very soon. It was an absolutely beautiful lake and a wonderful kid friendly place for a vacation. There are two places to stay. DeGray Lake Resort is a lodge on the lake and has a hot tub, swimming pool, restaurant and playground. On the other side of the lake (where we stayed) is the State Park and campground. The sites were very large, each one had a picnic table, grill, fire pit and included water and electric for only 18.50 a night. There was a boat launch, swimming area, playground, and bath houses. There were also many activities going on in the park. Every morning they have a water activity(snorkeling, paddling, etc), game(basketbal, frisbee, etc.), educational program, (snakes, wildlife, etc) night hikes, and sunset cruise. The activities were free or low cost (we paid $8.50 a ticket for the cruise.) The park also has a golf course, tennis courts, basketball courts, horseback riding, bicycle rental, boat rental, hiking trails, and of course many places to go fishing.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Week-end Get-away

Art and I are going away this week-end, just the two of us. The last time we went anywhere alone (going to the hospital to have another baby doesn't count) was over 6 years ago. We never hirer a babysitter and even when my parents come and we get a chance to go out to dinner, we always take the baby with us. Christian (14 months) was just recently weaned (still a little sad about that) so we thought this would be a good time to go. My mom and dad are coming today and we are going to the lake about 45 minutes from the house to go camping. It is only costing $18.50 a night, so we are going to splurge and have dinner in the restaurant at the resort. I am nervous about leaving the kids but they will have a great time with Nana and Papa.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Not my favorite topic of conversation. In fact, I am terrified of snakes. Even though we live out in the country, I have never seen a live snake at my house, although we did find a few snake skins last year.
I have taught the children "snake safety" (NEVER touch any kind of snake or even large worm, wear shoes, don't disturb areas where snakes might be living) and we have read several books about snakes. We have not studied specifically what kinds of snakes we have here in Southwest Arkansas. Saturday morning when Art was on his way down into what will be the chicken pen, he spotted a snake peeking up out of some landscaping timbers we have in the front yard. Not being able to identify what kind of snake it was, he decided to shoot first and ask questions later. He also treated the mate to this snake the same way. Come to find out, these snakes were the"good kind" (is there really any such thing?) and eat mice and other poisonous snakes. For those of you who live in Arkansas check out this website http://www.snakesofarkansas.com/ and click on the snake in the left margin. It gives a lot of good information including pictures, and whether they are harmful or not. It also shows what areas of the state the snakes are found in. If you do not live in Arkansas, try googling snakes and your state and see what you can come up with. Personally, I just hope we never have to see one again.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tasty Tuesday: Baked Macaroni and Cheese

1 stick of butter
2 cups of milk
2 cups of cottage cheese
2 cups of grated cheddar cheese
2 cups uncooked macaroni

Set oven to 350. Put stick of butter in 9x13 pan and place it in oven until melted. remove pan from the oven and pour uncooked macaroni in the pan. Pour cottage cheese as evenly as possible over the pasta. Sprinkle cheese over cottage cheese and pour milk on top. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Remove foil the last 15 minutes of baking.

Monday Morning Project

Our Monday Morning project cannot be revealed this week because my husband reads this blog and it would ruin his Father's Day surprise. So, I will post about it next week.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Beach Party Surfin the Word of God!

We had a great time at VBS this year playing games, making crafts, singing songs, listening to stories, and learning Bible verses. We averaged over 80 kids a day with 20 youth helpers and 25 adults. Many of our kids come from day cares and do not got to church regularly. We started a program this year called Kids Helping Kids and our offering goal was to raise $500 for Lillie who is undergoing 42 weeks of chemotherapy in her fight against Rhabdomysarcoma, a rare type of cancer. At the end of the week we had raised over $868 to help this family. I thought this was a great way to show our kids that every penny can count to help someone who is need. I am always glad to help for VBS and that the children have fun going, but I am also glad when the week is over and we can get back to normal. By Friday everyone was exhausted and I was happy to turn on our Friday night movie.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Swimming Fun!

Last year we bought an Intex Quick Set Sand and Sun inflatable pool from Walmart. It is a little over 3 ft deep and about 16 feet around and the ladder and the pump was included (although we did have to replace the pump this year.) For us it was a good investment. We can use it almost every day from May until October, the children really enjoy it, and we don't have to take them anywhere in order to go swimming. The temperature has been in the 90's all week so the pool water is already quite warm. Anthony is a little intimidated by the "big pool" right now so he is swimming in his "little pool." Christian was very happy splashing water from the outside and did not want to get in.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Can You Believe It?

I know that I have commented before that I can only get dial-up Internet out where I live. I also only have a single phone line (no call waiting, caller ID, or long distance calling.) I do have a cell phone for long distance calling which is a good thing because everyone I know is long distance even if they are just down the road. The phone box on the outside of our house is an older box and apparently had sustained some damage possibly from lightning. We had been having some trouble with the phone line, and at first when the phone wasn't working I thought that something was wrong inside the house. What ended up happening was that the children splashed enough water out of the pool on an already poorly functioning box and short circuited our phone line. I have been disconnected from the world for 2 days which is why I haven't been posting anything. The problem was corrected, so hopefully I will be able to put some pictures up tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Tasty Tuesday: Pork Chops and Rice

For Mother's Day this year, Nick and Alex made a little cook book with their pictures on it at Children's Church and the boys really wanted me to make something for dinner out of their book. This is what I chose:

6 Pork Chops
Italian Dressing
1 cup raw rice
1 3/4 c bouillon

Place 6 pork chops in a baking pan. Pour dressing over them (about 1/2 a bottle.) Cover with foil. Bring bouillon to a boil. Put rice in a separate dish and pour bouillon over and cover with foil. Put both pans in a 350 degree oven and bake 1 hour (30 min for pork chops if they are boneless) Remove from oven place pork chops on top pf the rice, pour remaining liquid from chops over rice and return to the oven for an additional 10 minutes.

This recipe is supposed to serve 4. Most of my children are still small enough that it served the seven of us, but if you are cooking for a large family you may want to double. We served it with green beans and fresh rolls.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

It Is Time For VBS

Our church is having Vacation Bible School this week (I am in charge of the nursery,) so we will be taking the week off of school. We have to leave at about 8:00 and won't get back until 12:30 and by the time I get the children fed and the babies down for their naps, we all will be too tired for schoolwork. It is also supposed to be in the upper 90's this week and in the afternoons the kids will want to take a dip in the pool. So, there will be no Monday morning Project this week, but I will be posting about some other things that we have been up to.