Happy (ahem, late) Birthday, Mary

While I was doing some behind the scenes work on my blog, I discovered that I never did a birthday post for Mary. When she turned 13. In April. Guess I don’t need to clear a spot for that Mom of the Year Award, right?

Thankfully, Mary is a very gracious, forgiving young lady and she loves me anyway. I do buy her chocolate and let her stay up late for movies, so it all balances out.

I’m not sure what I would do without this precious, young lady. She brings smiles and laughter to our home.

One thing that I notice again and again about Mary is how she loves the little ones. No matter what special treat she is whipping up, she always invits a little one to help her. Mary can turn the simple task of folding laundry into a game that has all the little ones begging to play.

I love to hear Mary play the piano. Even without lessons, she is constantly learning more and more. She is doing an excellent job of pushing herself and working hard. The results are beautiful.

I am excited to see how the Lord uses her in the coming year. She has become a delightful young lady with many talents. Praying that the Lord will use them in mighty ways.

Happy Birthday, Mary!


Monday Art – Watercolors

Last Monday, I started a fun activity called Monday Art. The plan is simple: provide a simple, fun art activity that all of the children can enjoy. My goal is for Sam (3) up to Rebekah (14) to join in and create. Today, Martha, 19 months, joined in the fun as well.

Monday Art was a simple watercolor paints and crayon creation — with a twist. I gave everyone a piece of white cardstock and a white crayon. I told them that they were free to create whatever they desired.

They could draw or write or a combo of the two. It could be a simple sketch or a detailed drawing. Once we were down with the drawing, then we would paint over it with watercolors to reveal our pictures.

The twist? You wouldn’t be painting over your picture. After they finished drawing the pictures, I took the pictures, shuffled them around a bit and then passed them out.

Some were sneaky and held the paper just right so they could see the drawings. Other were surprised bit by bit as they painted. I even joined in the fun. Who can resist paint? Not me!

The children all did an outstanding job. Well, Martha didn’t really draw but she had a blast playing with the paint and water. All of the children drew pictures…from camping scenes to scribbles, except Bekah. She chose to write and it turned out really well.

Once we were done with the official Monday Art, everyone just enjoyed creating. We might have gotten a wee bit paint happy and suddenly discussion turned to which Native American tribe they were a part of. I suppose the creative juices just couldn’t be stopped!

I mentioned putting the white crayons all in one spot in case the little ones wanted to do the activity again and by far my older ones are the most eager.

Simple, fun, frugal activity that allows the whole family to imagine….create….engage. To think I almost skipped it today as we were running behind.

What art projects have you been doing lately? I’d love to see and hear about them!

Beating the Heat ~ Bowling!

My husband and I are on a quest to make this the Summer of Fun for our children. No matter the size of your family or the level of your income, you can have fun! One key point for me is to beat the heat! It is hot and humid in the south and I love air conditioning! What better way to beat the heat than with free bowling!

Bowling with a family of 10 who doesn’t own their own equipment can be a bit pricey. However,  AMF Bowling Centers have a fabulous deal for the summer months. Kids can bowl 2 free games A DAY all summer.  2 free games. Every day!

Now we don’t live close enough to a bowling center to go every day but at least one trip had to happen! Eddie and I managed to snag a coupon deal so we got drastically cut rates for the two of us. The 7 children played 2 games. Free. Shoe rental is not free. And was a bit more than we had expected. However, one of the AMF employees shared with us a great tip. Bring your own shoes: clean soles and non-skid. Excellent tip!

Half of our children had never been bowling before and it has been a few years since any of us bowled. Our scores might not have been fabulous but the laughter and fun was record breaking. Except for Martha. She was not impressed. at. all. Not many pictures were taken. Either we were holding Martha or helping a younger one bowl.

A couple of tips: show up early! We were there when the bowling center opened. It was almost empty the whole time we were there and just started to get busy when we left. To avoid the temptation of the snack bar, we planned ahead. We packed snacks and drinks in the van. It was close to lunch and everyone enjoyed the snack to hold them over until we got home.

Does your family enjoy bowling? How are you beating the heat this summer?