Saturday, April 18, 2015

Meredith's Tea Party

Meredith's 4th birthday, girls-only (except Dad and Russell) tea party was this morning!

It went so perfectly. Meredith had 6 guests - 4 girls from our CBS Bible study, one neighbor, and a girl from our homeschool group. It was a wonderful size for a party, Also, this is the first party that Meredith hand-picked the friends to invite - and you could really tell how much she loves them.

When everyone first arrived, we made tea party hats and jewelry.

After the crafts were made, the girls sat down for tea! The "tea" choices were chocolate milk, strawberry lemonade (the popular choice), and apple juice. The snacks were grapes, cheese and crackers, some sort of sweet treat called colackies that were on sale at the store ;), and of course cake and cupcakes!

After the tea, we played outside for a bit:

and then came back in for presents!

It was so nice to see Meredith in her element. She is our helper who is happy to sweetly help Paige or play what Russell wants to play most of the time, and Jason and I so enjoyed seeing her let loose and have fun!

Happy birthday, Mer! We love you!

Ohio Vacay

So most people don't vacation in Ohio for fun ;) but we have amazing family there, like my grandmother, aunt/uncle/cousin and their family. Now that we're in the midwest, we're close enough to visit, so last week, we did!

We had a wonderful couple of days staying with my Aunt Jill and Uncle Ken, not doing much of anything.

We enjoyed playing with the baby second cousins, like Jax:

And snuggling with aunts Jill and Jane:

Making a "barn" (tent):

My cousins Katy and Megan planned a combo surprise: a surprise birthday party for Beanie, and a surprise baby "sprinkle" for me! It was so thoughtful!
The kids loved the cupcakes and the photo props :)

What a great family visit! It's so nice to be (somewhat) close to some family - the kids love being able to visit (and so do I)!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Happy Easter 2015

We had a wonderful Easter! The kids got their Easter presents first thing. We decided to focus the Easter baskets on Jesus this year, so each child got a Christian DVD and book, a Veggie Tales stuffed toy, Christian stickers/cups, and of course candy.

(They all liked the Peeps, despite Meredith's face!)

We made resurrection rolls for the first time - they have a great meaning behind them, and they tasted really good too! "Jesus" is placed in the "tomb," and as the kids guessed, (the marshmallow melted) - Jesus arose and the tomb (roll) was empty!

Our neighbors came to church with us, which was so wonderful. Before church, I had to get some pictures of these sweeties.

I am fully aware of how blessed we are. Thank you, Lord!

Love's redeeming work is done
Fought the fight, the battle won
Death in vain forbids Him rise
Christ has opened paradise, Alleluia!

Around the House

A lunch in the back yard on one of our few nice spring days:

We use Character First  for our character curriculum this year. The kids really enjoy it (and so do I)! Many of the resources on the website are free.

Technically speaking, this pic shouldn't be in this post since it's not around our house; it was taken at the Field Museum :)

The girls wanted a picture in their boat:

We had an impromptu neighbor get-together at our house on Easter eve, and we roasted marshmallows! Super fun.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Easter Egg Hunt and Zoo Field Trip

1) On Saturday, some friends of ours invited us to their church for their egg hunt/breakfast/craft time.

We do Easter baskets, but we don't do the Easter bunny (just like we don't do Santa.) But the girls loved saying hello to the bunny anyway! Russell chose not to get a picture with him - he has recently become shy around characters.

Sitting patiently and waiting for the egg hunts to begin:

Paige did the 0-2 year old egg hunt and loved it! (I have no pictures of Russell and Meredith doing theirs, since Jason went with them.)

It was a fun way to spend the morning!

2) We took a field trip on Wednesday to the free zoo nearby. The weather was just beautiful! All the kids enjoyed the animals - Russell remembered facts about some of them from Wild Kratts (an awesome animal show on PBS :)).

Taking a picture in front of the Harris Hawk:

Meredith really wanted a picture on this turtle :)

Paige loved watching the turtles swim in the reptile house!

After we saw the zoo, we ate a picnic lunch in a shelter:

We then came home and did some zoo-related pages for the rest of our school day! A perfect sunny day activity.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

(Extended) Stay with P and K

After the trip "home," we drove 1.5 hours to Paw Paw and Kacki's house. We had a half relaxing/half eventful trip. Our stay was extended 4 extra days because Russell had a terrible stomach virus, and we didn't want to see it in the car. I was so sorry to bring that to Paw Paw and Kacki's house, and so thankful that no one else got sick!

We had some quiet days (this was prior to sickness):

While Russell wasn't feeling well, Kacki and I took the girls to ride the rides at the mall. They both loved it!

And then, FINALLY, Russell got well (after 3 full days!) And, we got to enjoy the beautiful, 75/80-degree weather! The weather in IL hadn't been above 25 degrees since December, so this was a much-needed outside break for us.

Uncle Jon came over to visit for a bit - so nice to see him!

We enjoyed a great spaghetti dinner with Scott, Kate, Mac, Uncle Bart, and Aunt Nancy:

Paige and Mac. We hadn't met Mac (the kids' 2nd cousin) before - he was so precious and pretty calm considering all the craziness he was dealing with from our end ;)

What a great trip! We miss you all!