Friday, January 27, 2012

Hasbro game coupons!!!

Hasbro has announced the Hasbro Great Fun and Game event now through the end of Feb. Check out coupon savings and giveaways at  This is a great time of year to pull out a board game for the evening. I have also found that board games are a great way to reinforce skills learned at school. Have you used the scrabble board to practice spelling words? Or Yahtzee to practice adding? For Garrett, we are having trouble with identifying a few numbers so out came an old game Rack-o - in which you have to put numbers in order from 1-60 depending on what cards you are dealt. So out they came. And we have been working on those for a few days and it is amazing the improvement, by just playing games.  For some of the older kids, depending on the subject, let them make their own game.

Have them take a piece of cardboard or large construction paper and draw a game board. They can make spaces to draw question cards or move back spaces. Then they can make the question cards or they can have it that on each turn they read a question and depending on a correct answer, then they can move the number of spaces that are rolled on a dice.  This idea works well for history, social studies, science, math facts, and spelling words.  They are having fun and learning - what a great way to take the stress off of learning and putting the fun back in!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Happy Birthday Robert!

Well today was Robert's 11th birthday. It doesn't seem hardly possible that it has been that long, until you look through the photo albums and see how he has changed. He is definitely determining who he is and how he will live by his decisions. Somedays he is such a young man and well then there are other days. But it's hard to believe that he is pretty much too big to sit on my lap, but we can still snuggle together once in a while. He makes me proud by his actions and how he handles responsibility.

So Happy 11th birthday Robert! We love you and are very proud of you for everything that you do!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

My Heart's at Home

My Heart's at HomeI recently received the book "My Heart's at Home" by Jill Savage and I really had problems laying it down at night. It had great ideas about what our homes can be to our families. Is you home the peaceful, resting place for your family or is it the crazy chaotic, stressful place? What about a place where your kids can experiment with who they are and what they enjoy learning about? This had a great layout to the book and what mom's and dad's can do together to make your house a HOME! It was a great read. You can check it out online here:

Jill has written many other books that you can check out while you are on the website, but she always has something to share on raising a family and protecting your marriage!

Easy Recipe Clip

Just remove the recipes and the clothespin swings right up under the counter- hidden!
I have a lot of the recipes that I use frequently either printed out and in full page sleeves in a 3 ring binder or I have a few on recipe cards. But the problem that I had with those were the recipe cards would get messy and then I couldn't read them or with limited counter space, the binder took too much space. Then one day I saw this great idea in a magazine, (I would give credit if I knew which magazine but I don't) anyhow they drilled a hole in the end of a clothespin and then screwed it up under the bottom lip of their wall cabinet over the counter. So I came home and found a clothespin and quickly drilled a hole and found a small screw. I screwed the clothespin up under the cabinet right above the counter that I use most of the time when I'm baking. I didn't screw the clothespin really tight, but tight enough to be able to swing the clothespin up flat and keep it hidden when I''m not using the clothespin, but when I need to make something, it can easily be dropped down and then the recipe clipped into the clothespin. This has been a great addition to my kitchen and I have added them in several places. This way I can hang the spelling word sheet on the clip, read spelling words to one of the boys and still work on getting dinner ready, too. And SO simple!! 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Find It Activities

For those who like the Seek and Find books, here is a great game that can be made at home or purchased, depending on who might be using this game. Last week in Jr. Church, Garrett made a "find it "game with a baby food jar. The creative woman who had the lesson last week, was cleaning out her cupboards and had sprinkles that she felt should be tossed out. Instead, she had the kids put them into baby food jars and then add small beads, seashells, confetti shapes, etc. These turned out great!
I have also made clear plastic containers, a bit bigger and used sand instead of sprinkles in our containers. I had the boys collect small things from around the toy box and other things to put into the sand. The boys had a great time hiding plastic dinosaurs, small erasers,  broken crayons, etc. But there is also a commerical game that can be bought for gifts or just for fun. Each game is themed and we have had a great time with ours. To find out more about the commerical "Find IT' games go here,
These are great for in the car, to just have sitting around the house, for when you go camping or other places that you might need to kill a little time, but don't want to take up a lot of space. They are fun for both kids and adults. So check them out and have fun!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Holiday projects

I haven't been on this blog much in the last month, let alone in a timely fashion, but I had a few projects that I needed to finish for Christmas gifts. Now that they are completed and given, I can now post them here and share what I've gotten done!!! This is a double sided t-shirt quilt for my brother-in-law. He gave me 50 5K and marathon shirts and asked for a quilt. Well here it is!!! Boy was a double sided quilt like that difficult. I just knotted it instead of quilting it, But was very pleased with the finished product.

Here is one of 3 bed bags that I made. These are actually large pockets with little pockets inside. This has a matching pocket behind it and then there is a piece of plain fabric between the two. The plain fabric goes under the mattress and then the pockets hang out over the box springs on both sides. The kids can put pens/pencils, glasses, books or whatever they want in their bed bags.

 And then there is the dress-up buckets that I made for my niece. I also made a bucket for storing tractors in for my nephew, but didn't get a good photo. It's amazing what you can do with Mod Podge, some fabric and a bucket. Plus, I added the dress up items to the bucket too! But these make great storage and are inexpensive! Here is what I wrote about these the last time I made one-

So you see, I was a little busy trying to finish up projects. But what fun gifts to give!!!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

PA Farm Show Success

As a parent I get to brag a bit on my kids. Robert entered his 4-H wildlife project , which was a birdhouse, in the PA State Farm Show in Harrisburg. Well he received a 1st place. I am very proud of his achievements and I really wonder where he is going to lead us next. Congrats at Farm Show!!!

Busy Early January

Okay first thing I missed here- Happy Birthday Andrew! My nephew, it seems that I never get his b-day on here, but I don't want him to think I forgot him. He wished for snow on his birthday and we had snow and blowing winds and cold temps and no school. He must have an in with the weather man.

Second was a week of keeping my niece, Haylee, here at our house while Mom was at Farm Show. We had a good time, even though she was starting to get sick. And then we had Andrew for 2 nights during the Farm Show too. My little house was quite small earlier this week.

And third, we had nice enough weather and temps to be able to take the whole crew for a walk a couple days this week. IT is odd to be able to still walk down into the woods in the beginning of January, but we have enjoyed the nice weather, but would like some snow too.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

A Memory Book as a gift

The front cover of the book
This summer Gary's family went on a Family Vacation to the Williamsburg Area. This was an exciting trip as 17 of us had never vacationed together, but all went well and we had a great time. Here over the holidays my sister-in-law provided each family with a true treasure of memories. She had taken photos from the trip and using an online photo service put together a beautiful hardcover book. This is a great way to remember the trip and the times spent together. I have the habit of taking pictures and eventually getting them into albums for the boys, but this book will be something special. I thought it was just a great idea for how to get  those photos into a usable form and something that will be looked at often.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

"The Popcorn Book"

Yesterday we had a snow day and I suggested that we get out the hot air popcorn popper and make some Carmel Popcorn.  To this there was a chorus of "Yeah!" So I pulled out the popper and we made the first batch of popcorn.  While it was popping, Garrett asked so what makes the popcorn pop? To this I quickly went to the bookshelf and pulled off the shelf "The Popcorn Book" by Tomie de Paola.

 We stopped making popcorn and read the story. This is a great little read with all sorts of information about corn and the Native Americans and their culture. So after we finished reading the book, we went back to making the Carmel Popcorn.
Watching popcorn actually pop is something that a lot of kids have never seen because of microwave popcorn where the popcorn pops inside a bag. So for Garrett this was a lot of fun to watch the popcorn pop!!!

Here is our recipe for Carmel Corn
(please make the popcorn with your kids, but be very careful with the syrup it can be extremely hot and I would hate for anyone to get hurt!)

2 gallons of Popped Popcorn
2 sticks oleo
2 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup Corn Syrup
1/4 cup water
1 tsp of vanilla
1 tsp soda

Pop the popcorn and set aside. Make sure that the popcorn is in a large kettle or pan that will fit in the oven.
Mix the next 4  ingredients together and melt, bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes.  Remove from stove and cool for 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and the soda and stir until well mixed in.  Then Pour over the popped popcorn and stir the popcorn to help distribute evenly the Carmel. Place in the oven at 250 degrees for 1 hour - stirring every 15minutes. Let cool and store in a sealed container.

(this recipe can be cut in half for smaller quantities)

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year & a few games

We brought in the New Year in Oil City this year with First Night Activities and Fireworks. But during the holiday activities, we found times that the kids would get a bit rowdy and we needed activities that any number could play and still have a good time. Here are a few ideas that we used that you may still have time to use. 

The first 2 are Christmas Scavenger hunts, but they have a little different twist.  The first is Christmas Tree Scavenger hunt. This is great for a tree that none of those playing the game helped decorate. We used Grandma' s tree, which none of the grandkids have ever helped decorate. I carefully looked all over the tree- high and low- then I stood back and would call the following- I need an angel playing a trumpet ornament. Then the first one to find it would point to the ornament. Or I need a gold 3d star. I tried to be as specific as possible. This is great for trees that have ornaments that have been collected from different people or different places. The more unique the ornaments the better for the hunt.

Another Scavenger hunt that can be used 2 different ways is the Christmas Scavenger Hunt. This is one where it needs to be ok with the homeowner to move decorations and then carefully put them back. You can provide a list to groups of kids and they have to go and collect the items and then at a designated time return with the items found and compare. The team with the most wins.  Or you can have a caller that calls out an item and the person who comes back with the item called gets points. You keep score of who gets the most items back to the caller first for the score.  Here is a list of suggested Christmas items, but remember that we don't want to break anyone's decorations so check first before starting this game - it could be high energy so be careful!

- a pine cone, an ornament hook, a red sock, a holiday postage stamp, a Christmas cookie cutter, a Christmas songbook, a strand of tinsel or garland, a twig from a real evergreen, a holiday towel, a Christmas tree ornament, a winter boot, a book that tells the story of the 1st Christmas, a warm slipper, a piece of popcorn, a Christmas stocking, a candy cane, a bow from a package, a red candle, a homemade cookie, a Christmas video, a Christmas cookbook, something in a star shape, a Christmas card, a bulb from a strand of Christmas lights. You can always add specific items from the home that you are playing the game, be creative

Another Scavenger Hunt that we use at my house is the Manger Scene or Nativity Hunt. I have a good number of nativities around my house in various forms. Porcelain, wooden, felt, glass,etc. So I send the kids on a 5 minute hunt and try to find as many Nativities as they can find. Then I have them lead me around the house and point out the various Nativities. Usually they miss a few along the way and I get to point them out, or later in the day someone will say "hey we missed this one"

But these are just a few quick, few supply games to play  when you need to kill a little bit of time before dinner, or just for fun with the Christmas decorations. Have fun- we did, but the kids return to school tomorrow, so back to the routine.