Thursday, October 30, 2014

How we Camp: 2014 edition

Because we are crazy and because we promised our kids we’d take them camping this year and because they would not stop asking about it, we carved time out and spent the weekend out in cabbage country right before our move.

This area is famous for cabbage and it’s abundant.  I love seeing all the little summer home gardens with fields full of cabbage.  (And if you think summer home sounds glamorous think shack, no running water, electricity or gas and you get to use an outhouse.)

We found a great spot, with a water source nearby to help rinse dishes.

Here’s how we roll when we family camp.  Air mattresses, potty tent, and a schedule for the cooking.  Which means you don’t have to do it all, which is nice.

Our boys were in heaven.  The older boys brought their cool gadgets like their knives, and were kind enough to make a few arrows for Calvin.  He wore his bow the whole weekend.

Micah decided to dig one day, no reason at all, but he dug for over an hour.  As happy as can be.

We took a little hike as a family.  Micah did such a great job he said his little legs were tired but he kept on going.

AND we spotted fresh bear tracks.  Exciting!  Yet sort of freaky at the same time.  Our area isn’t known for having much wildlife.  But the bee keepers we met down the road told us they had spotted a few this summer.  (yes it’s normal to meet bee keepers, and shepherds, and guys cutting hay by hand.)

We decided to try a cookie over the campfire one night.  I wasn’t impressed, it tasked very smoky.  I’m not a fan of smoky cookies.  We probably won’t try that again.  Thankfully I brought brownies too just in case.

Marvin hiked up the big hill one afternoon with a friend and made it to the top.

Judah was fond of his first camping trip and was pretty flexible when it came to napping, but he was one tired baby the next couple of days.

Then we tore down and headed home, ready to pack up our house and move 4 days later

This is usually how the ride home looks like.

Camping tends to help kids sleep very well.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Calvin's Ninja Turtle Pary

The last party in birthday week was Calvin’s.  He wanted a ninja turtle party this year.  We also invited a very of his classmates.  I was so relieved to see a few of them show up.  PTL.  We had 6 local friends and 2 other American kids.

We sent invites with Calvin to school and then invited the girls who are in his class that live in our building.  I have no idea if that is what we were supposed to do but it’s what we did.

I had lots of activities planned and I am glad a few of the rambunctious kids were late because I’m not sure I could have survived 2 hours with some of them.

So we colored throwing stars when the kids first arrived, and decorated masks that we used for pin the mask on Donatello.

We played toss the throwing star game,
a punch game when the kids needed to choose a circle in hopes they would find a turtle egg (Kinger eggs), knock down the bad guys with a turtle hand that shoots things (we eventually used their Nerf guns, pin the mask on Donatello, and who could toss the pizza into the box.  I had prizes (candy) that the kids could choose if they won.

We ate pizza, mac & cheese, a couple veggie trays that were suppose to look like Michelangelo and Raphael and a cracker chip mix.

We sang happy birthday and ate cake then the kids played a bit before it was time for parents to come pick them up, and the ones who stayed left right as we were finished with cake.  We sent the kids home with a mask and some "turtle food".

Calvin had fun, felt loved his friends came, and I was thankful that it concluded birthday week.  So for me that was totally awesome.

It was fun to celebrate my big 7 year old in a special way this year.  I love all that creative energy he has and it is a blessing to do fun things for him.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Micah’s 4th Birthday {Jake & The Neverland Pirates}

We thoroughly confused Micah by having his party on Calvin’s actual birthday.  We were hosting our home group that week and figured it would be easiest.  We didn’t consider how that might effect the two birthday boys.  Micah was convinced he was 4 already and Calvin was quick to tell him that he was not 4 yet and that it was HIS birthday.
I used a free e-invite from

For a few days leading up to the party Calvin was very anxious that his friends would be coming on Friday and not on Saturday.  After we showed him his invitation again he calmed down and we sang happy birthday to both of them.

I guess in our house your 4th birthday must be a pirate themed birthday, because that's the current trend, but it was what Micah wanted and he was bouncing off the walls while I decorated his cake, which is why I generally do it when they are sleeping, but it was a fun little memory despite the distraction.  He was so excited.  Thankfully pirate cakes are actually very easy, even if the birthday boy nibbles a bit of the corner while you go to pick up his older brother from school. 

For dinner we had shipwrecked sandwiches with little swords Micah found at the store, gold doubloon mac & cheese, cannonballs (grapes) and fish & chips.

I had a little printable treasure chest for the kids to color during our p&w time but they didn’t end up doing it, and we did it after the fact.  So I guess we spread out the fun.

Someone was a little excited about opening presents.  He sat here for the longest time just waiting.

I made some party hats that we used to form teams for games, which ended up being very time consuming, but they turned out cute. 

So we had team Jake, team Izzy and team Cubby.  Everyone competed for gold doubloons (chocolate coins).  Team Jake ended up pulling out the win with the most gold doubloons.  Hooray for the birthday boy.

We played a few pirate games the one leg race to get a sword, hook the loop (tossing rings onto a hanger, and don’t get caught with croc.  Simple easy and very little prep.  I made some easy little coin purses to hold the pirate’s booty, aka goody bags. 

All in all I think our pirate loving birthday boy felt loved and he’s still talking about his cake.