Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Halloween night

Life has been crazy busy in our house during the month of October, so we hadn't gotten around to carving pumpkins yet. With Halloween falling on a Saturday this year, it worked out perfectly for us to do it the afternoon of Halloween. So we turned on Nightmare Before Christmas, got out the carving tools, and got to work. The only problem was that all the stores were out of pumpkins, except these 3 "ornamental" pumpkins. Oh well, it gave them character!

We ended up with Pikachu, Jack Skellington, and a funny witch.

We then had a light snack, and got in our costumes. D had switched from Misty from Pokemon, to a much more weather appropriate Pikachu costume. The first 15 min of trick or treating was slightly rainy. The temps had dropped the night before, but were not too bad. We just made sure to wear layers, and grabbed umbrellas. Luckily the rain pretty much stopped until the last 10 minutes of trick or treating. We headed to the same neighborhood that we have gone too for the last few years. It really is the best, most of the houses are home and close together. Most years the neighborhood is packed, but this year it just didn't seem as busy. My kids were determined, and made it almost the entire 2 hours!

And of course as soon as we got home, while I was making the pizza, they both had to dump all the candy out and sort it. Both were excited that this was their biggest haul ever.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Halloween Party

The Friday evening before Halloween, my best friend and I decided to throw a kid Halloween Party. Things that week didn't go exactly how we had planned, but we all still had a great time! It ended up being rather chilly that night, but wasn't too bad until the sun went down.  We set up tables with the food: simple taco bar, nachos, jello brain, veggie tray, pretzels, apples and caramel, and of course cookies and cupcakes.

A quick game a catch/football before all the fun begins.

There was a table set out with rings, and tattoos for the kids to put on (with a small bowl holding a little water and damp paper towels to put them on with). We also had a jar filled with candy and a guessing game set up. Whoever got the closest kept the jar of candy. Funny enough, 1st and 2nd place were twins, so their family lucked out.

Our first big game was a minute to win it type game. We had the kids split into pairs. Each kid got a paper straw, a plastic cup, and a pile of mini marshmallows in front of them. Using only the straw to suck up the marshmallows, they had to see how many they could get in their cup in just 1 minute. Once the first group went, the second group had to try to beat their partner's score. We did have 1 team tie, so it was a head to head match. The kids happily ate the marshmallows while they counted.

Our 2nd big game was super fun! Since we had kids of a big range, we had the 4th graders and older line up, and then 3rd grades and younger line up. A parent held one end of a ribbon strung with glazed donuts, and the kids had to eat the donut without using hands. Many of the donuts fell to the ground, and were gobbled up by the kids regardless of if there was grass stuck to it or not.

And our last game was tons of fun! My friend had picked up 2 bales of hay, and we had been collecting bags of candy for a few weeks. We threw down 1 bake of hay, then topped it with all the candy and goodies, then spread the 2nd bale of hay over it, hiding all the candy. (All candy was wrapped of course). Each kid was given a paper lunch bag with their name on it. We let the kindergartners go first, we didn't want the big kids to accidentally hurt them. The kids had 1 minute to find as much candy they could and put it in their bags. Once the kindergartners went, we let the bigger kids go. We did have 2 littler ones that saw what the kids were doing and wanted to try too. So after the big kids minute was up, we let the littles have at it. They were so happy with just a few pieces (the big kids uncovered tons of candy making it even easier for the littles), that it didn't take long. We then let any kid that wanted to, back in to find all the rest of the candy that was left. Each kid went home with a handful of candy and a bag with cookies. I think it all went over pretty well!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Fall Beach Day

One weekend mid-October, we were heading back to my hometown for my nephew's 2nd birthday party. We were about half-way there when I got a text from my brother that he wasn't home from work yet, and to take our time. Well, quick thinking while I was driving got us off the toll road, and I headed up to the Lake Michigan Dunes area. The kids had not been to this part of the lake in some time now, and I had wonderful memories of going to this exact beach as a kid, so we headed there. When Adam and I used to live in Valpo, we would often head here to have a quick picnic dinner after work and just relax. Kemil Road Beach is one of my all time favorite beaches to go to. They have a parking lot just across the street from the beach, a clean bathroom, and stairs leading down. It is always the cleanest beach!

I figured our quick stop would be perfect for a bathroom break, a few pictures, and a chance to reconnect with the water. We ended up walking all the way down to the water because it was such an amazing day.

These two, I swear, are often times our own little mini-me companions! They are even standing just like Adam and I here!

D is getting really great at taking pictures of us with my phone. Thankfully now, we are able to have more of just the 2 of us again.

Everything was just amazing that day. The sky, the water, the sand, all the colors, and the warm sun!

Something that I have always felt a connection to, were the Chicago World's Fair houses that were moved to this beach. Growing up I sadly watch them mostly fall to disrepair. But a few years ago, they started to be rehabbed, and they look amazing. I even studied the history in college for a few years. I happily shared their history with the kids, who thought it was really neat, but mostly just humored me.

It was the perfect day for a quick stop.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Rain gutter Regatta 2015

It is the fall season again, so in the Cub Scout world that means... Rain gutter Regatta! Both kids wanted to race yet again this year, and went with animal themed boats. And once again they did all the work themselves, from sanding, design, paint, and sails.

For the last 2 years, our den only had 2 boys race which meant L was automatically bumped into the top 10 finals. Well this year we have added 2 new boys to our den alone, and they were amazing competition! L was picked to be an example of how to race at the start of the meeting. Our Pack has basically doubled this year, so we have many boys that have never done this before.

And after every leg of the race, the boys are encouraged to show good sportsmanship by shaking hands and congratulating each other on a job well done.
After our den was done, because it is so small compared to many others, we had the siblings race. This is the Pixie race, but brothers or sisters of any age can compete. With such a huge range in ages, it can often be difficult to match up.

D was very excited to come in 2nd place this year, while L came in 4th in his den. He was disappointed of course, but a great sport to the rest of the boys.

We ended the night with snacks, awards, and a den was awarded the spirit stick. The spirit stick was given to the Tiger Cubs for showing amazing sportsmanship. And you can see in this picture the very neat captain's ship wheel that Adam made for the race. It was very cool, and was able to turn and everything!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Annual Apple Picking trip

We look forward to apple picking every year! This year, it seems that the apple season started earlier than normal, and I think that was due to our colder wet summer we had this year. So the first free weekend, which happened to be a little cooler than the odd warm weather jump, we headed out. There are 2 local orchards that we love to go to. This time we went to Kercher's in Goshen. A small local place with a great little shop, we picked Cortland and Jonathon apples this year, and ended up with around 80lbs.  After picking we always grab a box of Rise n'roll cinnamon donut holes to snack on at the picnic tables. It was a wonderful day and I hope it made some great memories!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Beach Day

We hadn't gotten to the beach yet this season, and decided one weekend in August to head out. We opted for an evening get-away, packed dinner, and tried a new to us beach off of Lake Michigan. Adam had the thought to try Warren Dunes in Michigan, so off we went. With an arrival of 5:30, the beach was still pretty packed, but we luckily found a parking spot in the first row. The majority of people started to pack up and leave, which allowed us to find a great little spot to spread out. The kids had instantly spotted the giant dunes that people were climbing and rolling down, so Adam took them to try it out. They were in sandy heaven and came back with sand in their ears. I enjoyed sitting in a chair reading my book while they explored the beach. Unfortunately the temps dropped and I was freezing, so I didn't even get into the water and sat wrapped up in a towel.

But Adam and the kids could not stay out of the water and sand!

The sunset was amazing and you could just barely see Chicago way off in the distance.

And of course we had to get a beach selfie!

We eventually packed up and headed out. As we were leaving we noticed a great little ice cream and fudge shop directly across from the entrance, so we headed on over. Since I was the only one that was not soaking wet and had shoes on, I headed in and picked up cones for all. The places was small and quaint, but had everything you would want in a shop like that. On top of that the ice cream was fantastic and a great price.

It was now 3 hours past bedtime, and these kids couldn't help but pass out in the car on the way back home. It was the best time, and we can't wait to go back next year!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Blueberry Festival 2015

It was Labor Day weekend and that meant it was time for the Blueberry Festival again!!! This year we did things a little differently because we had a family wedding in the Indy area during the weekend as well. So we condensed our Blueberry visit to just Monday and that worked fantastically. We had made the promise to the kids that they could get the ride wristbands this year. I found that if I bought them in advance I could save $5/each. So my best friend and I bought them earlier in the week. First thing Monday morning, we headed down for the parade. This has become tradition since L was just a few months old, the kids and I have yet to miss one.

I just had to add this now/then. The pic on the left is from 2009 and the pic on the right is from this year.
Our old friend.

This guy was really cool.

After the parade we headed back to Adam's parent's house for lunch. It was suppose to be a super hot and humid day, so we thought we would wait a bit after lunch before going back. Well it sort of backfired. The temps were so crazy that it never really got any cooler. So back to the park we went for the kids to ride all the rides. They normally only get to ride on 3-4 rides each year, but now with the wristbands and being taller, they could go on almost anything they wanted. First up, the bigger kid roller coaster. They loved this so much they went on it about 4 times!

And of course a ride down the giant slide a few times!

They were very excited to go on this "big kid" ride.

And this was one of the last rides they went on. They were a bit nervous, but because this never went upside down, they braved it. D screamed the entire time, but they both loved it!

They both said this was the best year ever!

Past Blueberry Festival Fun

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