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Halloween Hysteria

We always have such a great time at Halloween.  Costume selection starts very early around our place. We like to choose costumes and characters that no one else would think of.  We like to go all out and we very rarely go with costumes off the shelf. In those cases where we do use store bought costumes we usually add our own embellishments to make each of them different and unique.  This year the holiday crept up on us in the middle of several other projects we had going.  I was not able to put as much time into it as I would have liked to but I don’t think the kids minded too much.  They received so many complements on their outfits and brought home WAY too much candy!  I sincerely hope all of my readers enjoyed their Halloween festivities as much as we did.

Phantom of the Opera

Phantom of the Opera

 

Levi was introduced to The Phantom Of The Opera this year and he decided that he wanted to be the Opera Ghost for Halloween.  This has always been one of my very favorites so I was thrilled when he picked this costume!  He looked so cute and really got into the character.

Christine Daae

Christine Daae

 

 

 

Jessica is the one who first introduced Levi to the Phantom.  She loves the music from the play and has been singing it for months.  I was not at all shocked when she chose to be Christine Daae this year.  She has watched the movie of the The Phantom so many times that she almost has the whole thing memorized

Jessica & Levi

Judah as Mike Wazowski

Judah as Mike Wazowski

Judah decided that he wanted to be Mike Wazowski from Monster’s Inc..  Judah’s costumes are ALWAYS the most challenging.  He has a crazy imagination and the silliest ideas. Last year he was a Lego Man and that costume was a “doozie” to create.  I was not sure how to even begin creating Mike.  I looked online for costumes but could not find anything that looked good.  On a quick shopping trip out of town I stumbled across this costume and it was perfect.  We made a few minor adjustments to it and he was satisfied. Hallelujah!

 

Bella as 'The Fox"

Bella as ‘The Fox”

I was not planning to dress Bella in a costume this year because I figured it would be a little too cold and she would probably not enjoy the whole Trick Or Treat thing.  The kids and I found this costume at the last minute.  They all love the popular song “What Does The Fox Say” and thought this would be perfect for Bella.  She LOVED it.  She was a Trick Or Treat pro and was deliriously happy with all the suckers she brought home!

 

 

So.Much.Fun.

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We Have Eggs!

Jessica collected our very first eggs!

Jessica collected our very first eggs!

It was an exciting day at our house when we discovered our very first eggs layed by one of our very own hens! We have checked the nesting boxes for weeks and weeks without a sign of an egg anywhere.  Then one afternoon we found four perfect brown eggs.  The kids were so excited!  Looks like our feathered family members have settled in and decided to call our place “home”.  Now I am going to have to decide what to do with all these eggs!

 

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Chicken Mania

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Levi & “Little Miracle”.

My husband and I have been very intrigued by the homesteading lifestyle for quite some time now.  We love the idea of raising our kids with the knowledge of how to live off the land and provide for themselves.  We were both raised in town and have very little experience with anything farm related so it has been a learning process for the entire family.  A few weeks ago a good friend was going to pick up some chicks and we asked him to bring us some as well.  He brought us 10 baby Rhode Island Reds.

They were cute, loud, fuzzy and they smelled “fowl”.  We immediately got busy trying to set up some sort of comfortable accommodations for our new residents.  I contacted a friend who is a chicken genius to ask for a few pointers on how to care for the little cheeping critters.  Well my friend and her husband jumped in the truck and drove 45 minutes to bring me a new feeder and waterer and a huge binder full of chicken wisdom.  In addition to that they also brought me a pair of Cochins!

Fat Sassy Momma & Mr. Gimpy

Fat Sassy Momma & Mr. Gimpy

A full grown hen and rooster which they lovingly refer to as “Fat Sassy Momma” and “Mr. Gimpy” (Because he has a hitch in his get-a-long).  I went from having no chickens, to having a dozen in one day and I really had no clue what do to with any of them.

Over the next few days my husband and I put together a home for our new additions and settled into a routine of feeding, watering, checking for eggs and making sure the babies were staying warm.  Things were going smoothly and the neighbors weren’t complaining too much about Mr. Gimpy crowing at all times of the day.  I thought that maybe I could handle being a chicken lady.  And then it happened…

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Taking care of the babies

The friend that had purchased the baby chicks for us had an accident and fell down a flight of stairs.  He was having trouble getting around due to the injuries and soreness from the fall.  My husband rushed over to help out and returned home with TEN MORE CHICKS.  These needed special care because while our friend had been injured, his larger hens had picked on these babies and wouldn’t let them get much food.  Now I was running a chicken hospital.

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Bella & the “Bock-Bocks”

It was chaotic but over the next few days we were able to put all but two of the baby chicks outside.  I am happy to report that all 22 are doing fine and seem to be happy and healthy.  We have discovered that dropping a grasshopper into their pen can result in 30 minutes of high spirited entertainment.  The chicks play keep away and our kids gather round the coop and cheer and giggle at the feathery madness.  We jumped into the deep-end of chicken farming and had to learn fast but we sure are having a fine time!

Jessica feeding the babies

Jessica feeding the babies

Many folks are not aware that it is actually possible to keep chickens if you live inside city limits. It is not only great to have your own source of fresh eggs, but it is a great educational experience. My kids homeschool and I highly recommend little projects like this.  If you keep chickens or are considering getting a few, I would like to recommend this website to you.  They have fantastic hen houses at very good prices and they are cute too! Shipping on all orders are free and you can get a great discount by using coupon code:TSCSHOPS.  Check them out!ChickenCoopMart - Chicken Coops

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Who ever heard of Plantology?

Licensed Plantologists

It amazes me sometimes how Jessica (9) will fight all day long with Levi (6) but at the same time can play so well with Judah (4).  You would think that she would prefer to play with someone closer to her own age.  Not so!  After endless days of observing these two, I have reached conclusion as to why they are so compatible. Judah thinks Jessica is so awesome that he will do what ever the bossy older sister tells him to. She can dress him up and tell him what to do or say and he will happily oblige.  A few days ago she marched him into the living room where I was and together they informed me that they were “Licensed Plantologists” and set forth trying convince me to let them go outside in this get-up to “catalog” the plants in our yard.  After some pretty heavy persuasion I finally agreed and for the next two hours they dug, planted, sorted, piled and plucked everything that resembled plant life.  Some may argue that there is no such thing as “plantology” and these two children were just wasting their time.  Personally, I like to think that inspiring their little imaginations is just as educational as studying a book on botany.  Who said learning can’t be fun?!

 

 

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Clear Clutter – Get Paid

Christmas left a swath of devastation in my home that trailed from the front door all the way to the back. I am not one of those OCD people who have to have everything in order at all times but this was just an insane mess.  I spent the week after Christmas trying to function in the chaos while we finished up our end of the year activities.  It made things worse trying to get everyone ready and haul four kids in and out.  We were constantly losing things in the boxes, bags, paper, decorations and piles of priceless “stuff” we had acquired at our 4 Christmases.  I finally reached the breaking point and tore into the mess with a vengeance.

Room by room I cleaned and sorted and threw stuff away and slowly a pile began forming of things that I no longer needed or wanted.  Typically I would haul the pile out on the lawn and have a monster yard sale but that is simply not practical in the middle of January.  Thats when I discovered an awesome tool!  Online Yard Sales!   This is much different than E-bay.  I simply signed on to Facebook and searched for yard sale groups in and around my hometown.  I joined the groups, photographed my items and listed them one by one on the site.  In no time I had people contacting me wanting to take these items off my hands.  I was thrilled!  I didn’t have to spend hours sorting, pricing, setting up tables and boxes.  I simply sat in my pajamas and uploaded pics to Facebook.  In one day I made $168 while sitting in my living room and answering the door.

If you are not a member of an online yard sale group, I strongly urge you to join!  If you cannot locate one in your area then simply open your own page on Facebook and you will be amazed at the traffic that will flock to it.  Clear your clutter a little at a time while you are still in the cleaning process!

It’s like getting paid to clean house and that… is awesome.

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Build A Memory

While on vacation I took Jessica to the Build-A-Bear Workshop for a little special birthday surprise. We have been there before and though she was highly impressed, I found it a little too expensive.  She located a $5 coupon this time and insisted on going so I gave in and took her to check it out.  I must say I was pleasantly surprised this time around.  The employees were incredibly friendly and when they found out it was her birthday they made an extra effort to make her feel special. The prices were very reasonable and there were animal options as low as $12.  She chose a spotted little puppy and took great pains having her stuffed, giving her a heart, making wishes for her and then giving her a bath.  We chose a Hello Kitty outfit to match the Hello Kitty shirt that Jess was wearing that day and Jess dressed the pup and put bows on her ears.  She made a birth certificate and we were all finished.   When we got to the counter the cashier presented Jess with a birthday surprise and a free cookbook with three adorable cookie cutters.  With our $5 coupon we made a very good haul!  I would highly recommend Build-A-Bear for anyone who is looking for an extra special gift.  It is not just a stuffed animal… its an experience!

Jessica & “Fudge”

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Time For Twins!

 As a homeschool family we consider just about everything a learning experience. It’s so easy to make day to day tasks into educational opportunities.  With that in mind we decided to give our older two children some responsibilities of their own.  We gave them a set of female goat twins for their birthdays.  They are such cute little critters and so fiesty!  Jessica immediately decided that she wanted to name her little one “Heidi”.  Levi thought long and hard about his name and finally reached the conclusion that his little brown baby would be named “Seekie”.  Now we have quite a pair… Heidi & Seekie.  We have only had them for a few days but they are already warming up to the kids and if they see us in the doorway the come running to the porch.  I am looking forward to seeing the kids take care of these two babies.  Hopefully they will learn to care and nurture something that is smaller and weaker than them.  I think they are already enjoying the responsibility and knowing that these tiny gals are depending on them just makes them want to try that much harder.  

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Halloween Chaos

Halloween is such an exciting holiday around our place.  We always do our best to think of costumes and characters that no one else would choose.  My kids love dressing up and thoroughly enjoy the attention. So we have to make it as difficult as possible by first eliminating any and all costumes bought in a store.     The challenge is really on my shoulders to come up with creative costumes without breaking the bank.  I don’t have a sewing machine and even if I did, my knowledge of how to use one is pretty limited.  So I begin with making them choose who they want to be and then I get busy.  It’s always fun to use bits and pieces of things I have laying around to make their costumes and then step back and admire the finished product.  They are always so proud and it makes all the mess and the hard work seem worth it.

 

 

 

This year Jessica chose to be a “Mad Scientist”.  She was SO excited about her costume and planned the vast majority of it on her own.  We used an old lab coat that has been around for ages and then built it from there.  Purple cleaning gloves from Wal-Mart, crazy tights, goofy magnifying glasses from Michael’s, goggles and a beaker from her Granny’s 5th grade Science class and she was all set to go. I added a few finishing touches like her wild hair and a glow-stick packed inside her beaker with saran wrap to make a special effect.  She looked hilarious!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Levi loves the bow and arrow so this year he decided to be Robin Hood.  He was not enthused about the little pointed Peter Pan style hat so we decided to make him look a little more like Kevin Costner. (Mom prefers him too!  Haha…)  I started with an old cape we had laying around.  We added daddy’s long sleeved green shirt and his big sisters black tights and we had the beginning of a great costume!  Dad bought real arrows and spray painted them brown and then made him a quiver with some scraps of faux leather we had left over from an earlier project.  The buckle holding it on is actually a woman’s belt that I got ages ago and was too large for me.  The huge belt around his waist was previously used for a Santa suit and his boots used to belong to a pirate.  He looked much sweeter than Kevin Costner when we were finished with him!

 

 

 

 

Judah has developed an obsession with Legos and neck ties this year and since it was the first time he has taken interest in what he was going to be, we felt we had to comply. He wanted to “be a Lego Man and wear a red tie”.  I think we pulled it off pretty well but this was definitely our most challenging costume to date!  I made the body with cardboard and spray paint.  The tie was made with red poster board.  The head was Daddy’s project and took two whole days to construct.  It was made from a water jug turned upside down.  The eyes are stickers and the mouth was cut out with a saw and then covered with lining from one of my skirts so he could see out. The little circle on top was made from pvc pipe and screwed on top.  Daddy went all out and even used thick foam to line the inside like a football helmet.  He sure turned a lot of heads this year.  He was “super” cute!

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