Saturday, August 6, 2011

Summer Vacation 2011

This week, our family traveled south to Pigeon Forge for a few days. It was our first time to go to Dollywood and we LOVED it! KidsFest was on this week in Dollywood, so there were cool kid shows to go to. We went to Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs in 4D, and the Gazillion Bubble Show. Really neat. Since Chris and I (endured) went to a TimeShare presentation, we were able to get our whole family into Dollywood for FREE! Not a bad deal at all since the presentation lasted only 1hour and 15 min!

We were able to get in on Monday at 3 PM and then go back all day Tuesday on the same ticket! I LOVED that deal:)

I thought this "family" of flower pots was cute! This was on the patio of a bakery or deli I think.

LOVED this grill/cooker!!! I would LOVE to have one of these on my back deck:) (Ok...maybe in a smaller size)They were grilling potatoes, chicken, peppers and onions all together. I wish you could smell it also!!

The mountain SlideWinder. Once Chris and I convinced(actually forced them..haha)the kids to give this ride a try, they LOVED it. I admit....I'm a big baby when it comes to rides and the first time down I REFUSED to open my eyes. But we ended up going quite a few more times and I loved every minute!! So did the kids. They begged to ride it over and over:)

The Rockin' Roadway was one of the boys' favorite rides.

Caleb was very pleased to be driving Daddy!!

Demolition Derby was probably Michael's favorite ride. He LOVED driving the car by himself and crashing into all the rest of us:)

Family Picture:)

Another of our favorites was the River Battle and since it so HOT (temps in the high 90's) it felt really good to get soaked!! And soaked we did get!! There are water guns on the boat itself for shooting at the other passengers and there are also some on the bank. Here Chris is soaking a passing boat!

There are also fountains that randomly shoot up soaking everybody also. We were drenched by the time the ride was over. Ahhh....much cooler that way!

The only roller coaster the kids would try was the Veggie Tale coaster. Very cute and they rode it more times than I could count!

Michael in the first car...Caleb and I in the second:)

Lauren and Michael on the River Rampage ready to get wet. (Another VERY wet ride)

Here the kids are waiting in line...already soaked and wanting to get wet again!!

Our family LOVED this ride. As soon as we got off the boat, the kids wanted to get in line again! So fun!!

Caleb with the mini basketball Chris won for him in the County fair.

Michael and his basketball:)

Wednesday, we left Pigeon Forge and headed to North Carolina to visit family. On Thursday, we all went to a Family Fun center called Celebration Station. We purchased the all day wrist bands and got a day of unlimited pizza, drinks, go-kart rides and bumper boat rides. The kids had a BLAST!

Lauren and Aunt Leanna

Michael and uncle Kendall...

Chris and Caleb:)

We made MANY fun memories together as a I would say our family vacation was a HUGE success:) Lots of laughter and good times!! But I must say...there's no place like home. Thanks to Leanna and Kendall for a lovely place to stay and yummy food! In fact we were so relaxed and had such a great time there, I didn't realize till I sat down to blog that I didn't even get my camera out at their house! Bummer!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Lauren's 11th Birthday

The birthday girl waiting to open her gifts!

I give my kids a party for their friends every other year. On the "off" years, they can choose a place they want to go to celebrate their birthday. The destination of choice is generally Chuck E Cheese.

Caleb pleased with the loot he got with his tickets.

Lauren pleased with her loot also:)

Micahel and his candy:)Birthdays are all about sugar overload, right?!?!

The birthday girl and her Mommy:)

Lauren opening her first envelope explaining the treasure hunt. Each envelope along the way, contained a picture of a location either in our backyard, or up on campus. I tried to make the pictures a little bit tricky...and involving some help from her brothers...and and Dad.

Finding an envelope and clue...

This one had her puzzled. It was a named brick up on campus...but ...WHERE? There are many bricks with names. The shadow of the monumet, though, was her clue.

And we were off! And sure enough. There at the monument was the next clue!

Sometimes the locations went back and forth from campus to backyard, campus to backyard. UGH...didn't figure on it being SO HOT when I came up with the "brilliant" idea...haha. As you can see from this picture, sometimes Lauren and Michael went back to the backyard, while Mom staed up on campus and played photographer:)

Lauren and Caleb trying to figure out where to go next!

Finally...a VERY tired and sweaty girl found the gift and opened it! A pink digital camera!! Guess the picture shows how happy she was with that one!

Since our family is not super fond of cake, Lauren chose a birthday cookie instead. I just put a few candles on so she would have something to blow out. Although I do wish we could rewind time, and she just be turning 4, she turned 11!! Growing up so fast!!

I shared some of my sentiments on Fb on Lauren's actual birthday, but here goes again:) When I was expecting her, we chose not to find out whether I were having a girl or boy. We wanted the surprise. I must say though, above all I wanted a healthy baby. But deep down, I REALLY wanted a girl! Chris had me pretty convinced she was a boy though. Because both of our parents had boys first, he said, she was most certainly a boy. When the doctor anounced it was a girl, I could hardly believe it. And she has been EVERY bit as fun as I thought she would be. She was absolutely perfect and born with LOTS of dark hair and has had thick, long hair ever since! She was my dream come true....SO fun to dress her up and fix her hair. And added to that blessing, I was able to be a stay-at-home Mom.(thanks to Chris) I have enjoyed every minute of having a girl. And thankfully, I have had two boys since then. I cannot imagine loving my boys any more. They are a different kind of fun....but still SO fun!!! So, on Lauren's birthday, I realized once again how truly blessed I am...for I am a Mama! And that is my total dream come true and God's very best blessing to me!!!

Making Cotton Candy

Last week our neighbors came over and invited us to their house to make cotton candy. Someone that was staying with them, had brought along his cotton candy machine and thought we might enjoy helping to make some. Why, absolutely!!
If you look carefully, you can see the center is full of a pink powdery substance. He had poured maybe 1 cup of the pink powder in the middle and turned on the machine.

Within a couple minutes, we could see the beginnings of the "cotton' around the edges.

A minute later, there was enough to wrap around a paper cone. Here, Becky is wrapping th cone in the cotton. you just twirl the cone a couple times and lift up...and....

you've got a big chunk of cotton candy. Wait a minute or so and you're ready to do it again!

Caleb had never even tried cotton candy before.

Lauren was able to do her own!

Karissa wrapping it on the paper cone...

Summer. fun....sitting in the porch swing eating cotton candy:)

And then...the crazy pose:)

Thanks to our neighbors next door for all the fun!!

A Visit to Boonshoft

After being cooped up inside for days because of the heat, I decided we needed to go discover something new...anywhere "cool" ! So last week, we made the 50 minute drive up 75 to Boonshoft Museum of Discovery. Since we have a Cincinnati Zoo pass, we got in for half price. (If you have a Cincinnati Museum pass, you get in for free)

Lego was there that day with a very cool vehicle outside,

...and lots of cool displays indoors. They also had a large area full of Legos where kids could play and build.

We spent the majority of out time in the Mindbender Mansion. As you make your way through, trying to figure out the different mind bending activities, you fill out a card with the correct answers. Michael loved figuring this one out....ok...with a little bit of help from some helpful staff:) Michael had it nearly right on his own though...and he was pretty pleased!

Lauren took the assignment very seriously...and figured out many of the puzzles on her own.

And of course, was very pleased also!

At the end, after completing all the activities, you could get a certificate with your picture on it. Lauren gave Caleb the necessary passwords so he could get his own picture!

Lauren and Caleb doing a spelling game. The computer would give you a question, that you then had to answer by stepping on the correct letters. The lighted green spaces are "free" spaces to make it easier to get to the letters you need. Very fun...even for mom:0)

The kids had a LOT of fun with this conveyor activity. You were to fill in the spaces on the trays with certain shapes of meat, potatoes, corn and dessert. There were several speeds on the conveyor and as you filled them up, the conveyor was also dumping more "food" into a bin, so someone had to keep the bin cleaned out and the food handed back to the workers at the conveyor. It was a challenge to keep up and I'm pretty sure had this been a real factory, we would have gotten We never made it past the "slow" speed...haha But then, I never saw anyone else there able to do it either:)

Boonshoft also has a small indoor zoo. (Did someone say indoor? A/C??? LOVED it...) This little otter was really friendly and would come right up to the glass to see the kids. Very cute!

Cute baby barn owl!

The kids enjoyed the little "town" area complete with a courtroom setting and or course...the jail! Guess these two were found guilty!!

Another REALLY fun area, was the pizza shop! The kids did not want to leave...they had so much fun making Mommy pizzas! Not sure how many I "ate"....WAY too much for sure !!! I especially love the "meatballs"...large brown pom poms!!

Lauren getting ready to create a yummy pizza!

She made a supreme!

Michael filling a delivery order:)

Caleb drove the delivery truck!

After spending most of the day at Boonshoft, we went on over to Xenia to visit my aunts. To my kids, they are "the aunties". They love visiting there because of all the spoiling, but also because they live out in the country. Very pretty farms and houses all around. This time, they got to watch a plane spraying crops at the farm behind my aunts' house.

An exciting event occurs every 30 minutes at "the aunties" house also:) My aunts have a cuckoo clock that the kids absolutely love!! The cuckoo comes out and then there is a music box tune and tiny dancers. I couldn't resist snapping a picture of Caleb's face.

And of course, the aunts are more than happy to make time "fly" so he can watch it several times.

Even if you are not lucky enough to stop by the "aunties" house for a yummy sloppy joe meal and watching the cuckoo clock, I'd still say that Boonshoft is worth the drive from Cincinnati. We will definitely be back. There are also many other very cool exhibits that I didn't have time to blog about! Go check it out!