Sunday, September 29, 2013


Denali found my stash of gingerbread kits in the basement freezer. Despite the fact that it is July, she really wanted to make one. Somehow I didn't get a picture of hers. Abby had to join in on the fun..

Gingerbread Train

Where is this picture from?

I don't remember what this is a picture of: Tattoos?
 I had never visited our local water park before, so I decided to go while we had company. This was an awesome park. My favorite part was that the water was a perfect level for Abigail to practice her swimming. She really improved. I bought her a pair of goggles and it gives her more confidence.

They both had lots of fun.

I promised the girls ice cream afterwords. It was REALLY cold in the ice cream shop. They had the air on full blast and we were in wet swimsuits. Brrrrr.

Thursday, September 26, 2013


The city fireworks were postponed due to bad weather. On the day of the actual fireworks, we got together with the Hicks family to light off some of our own small things before going together to the big show. Denali went over to say hi to the neighboring cows (she literally talked to them) and the littles followed her.

Abgail was brave this year and actually enjoyed sparklers.

Here we are at the high school parking lot getting ready for the city/county fireworks show.

Denali was the glow bracelet queen.

We saw the MOST beautiful rainbow that I have ever seen. It was breathtaking. WOW! It was so beautiful and was a perfect arc across the sky.

I love how she is wearing matching pants and shoes and how she was wearing her firefly catching case all the time back then.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Drive In

We went to the Drive In Movies again, this time without Benjamin. The rain kept him away. Abby loved playing in the grass, catching fireflies, and eating leftover cake that I had made for the 4th. This was the third of July and they had some fun fireworks for the show too. We met some friends there. We did get a downpour and crowded into the van for some of the time. We had to arrive at the "theater" hours early to get a good spot and the adults played games while the young children ran around and played in the mud. It was fun. We saw Despicable Me 2. I didn't stay for the second movie, World War Z. :)

The little ones loved playing with, and mauling, Denali. I think that they are pretending to be her twin dragons or something.

So photogenic...and so big. She is an amazing young woman and we absolutely LOVED having her with us for a few weeks.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


A friend of mine asked me to help her make invitations for her daughter's H.arry P.otter birthday party. She found some ideas on pinterest (something like this) and wanted to recreate them.

So cute! I drew, as best as I could, owls on the white balloons for her (the picture isn't mine, see the link above). Ever since, Abigail has been obsessed with drawing on balloons. She thinks that is what they are for. Here are two of my favorites.

An owl.

A dinosaur.

Monday, September 23, 2013


In theory, the idea of camping sounds like a lot of fun, however the logistics of camping require lots of hard work. We wanted to go camping again this summer, but we didn't want to deal with the effort involved. Instead I set up the tent in the back yard. Nobody actually slept there, but we did have a fun muggy evening reading stories, making s'mores, and fighting off mosquitoes.

Little N. (age 2) wanted to use the camera and took lots of pictures. He apparently decided to edit me out of this one. That was a good choice, considering I was still in my painting clothes and had been working all day on the play room.

Sunday, September 22, 2013


Benjamin's work sponsored a free day at the local aquarium. They bussed us there and then provided entrance fees and food. We were glad that Denali was in town and could go along with us.

Abby loved taking pictures of the penguins.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Project of Mammoth Proportions

 Our home has a great addition, a sun room, that we use as a playroom. It was built on cement slab and is fairly old. It is NOT connected to the ventilation of the house and is not a fun place to be on super hot days or in the winter. We usually close this area off during the winter and make sure to heat it sufficiently if we do use it. In an effort to see if there was any way to bring down our utilities cost and increase the efficiency of our 1940's plaster-walled home, we had our utilities company come and do an energy audit. They found that this room, especially, leaked a lot of air. They recommended caulking it, all of it.

I decided to take on the project this summer. I caulked all the windows. Then I caulked the corner shelves. I used an entire bottle of caulk on this shelf area. Seriously. Lots of air leakage. Then I looked at the walls and wherever I saw cracks in the paneling, I caulked. On the walls, this wasn't too much of a pain. However, when I got the ceiling I realized that everything single row needed to be caulked. I spent several days up on a stepladder caulking in each and every groove the entire length of the room. This room better be more airtight now!

While I was doing this project, I noticed how pathetic the paint on the walls was. The room looked pretty dingy and it really needed a new coat of paint. I decided that since the room was already in disarray, I had better do it now instead of later. So my caulking project turned into a room makeover project. Sigh. Isn't that how home repair always goes????

Denali offered to help and she helped me pick out a blue color for the walls and a white color for the ceiling.

I also then had to remove all the nails, fill in with spackling, and sand, sand, sand. What was I thinking? So much for a simple project. I think the whole thing, start to finish, took me three weeks.

We moved everything to the center of the room.
Here is some of the ceiling after caulking. I think it's still wet in this picture.
The corner shelf was the one part of the room where the wood paneling had never been painted. I bought some tinted primer to match our wall color and started painting.
Abby painted the shelves.

Abby put in a good twenty minutes. Denali also helped, maybe for a little bit longer than Abigail. Benjamin was "busy" with work. He's never, ever been super excited about any of my painting projects.
I was  so pleased with the finished product. The ceiling looks so nice.
Time to start decorating and preparing for my home school preschool.
The makeover was a success. I am also hoping that all of that caulking will make some difference come winter.

P.S. I could not get a straight line between the ceiling and the wall, darn that wood paneling!

Friday, September 20, 2013

A Journey of Mammoth Proportions

Our next stop was Mammoth Caves. This is one of our favorite places to visit, it never ceases to amaze. We took a different tour this time and Abby was good, as usual. It was a two hour tour and we immediately felt the temperature difference as we descended into the cave. I think we took the new cave tour this time. The new cave was created by a man who blasted open an opening years ago so that he could charge for tours. They a steep and complicated stair system throughout the cave. In some parts there was water dripping directly on us, whereas other parts were dry and no longer experienced drainage.

The views were amazing. There was so much to see. I hated that we were in a group and that I felt like a cow in a chute getting pushed along further. The good thing about having a four-year-old with us was that people were generally more patient with us when we walked slowly. That gave us a little bit of extra time to admire the cave and it's many formations, crevices, and canyons.

She immediately recognized "her" letter in the historical graffiti.

This part was of the cave is a relatively recent discovery. It is still forming as the water still is dripping through her. Most of mammoth cave doesn't provide the correct conditions to form stalactites and stalagmites, but here the formations were breathtaking.

It reminded me of scenery from sci-fi films.

She's watching the water drip down onto this formation. She didn't touch it, though. Good girl.

We rode buses over. She loved this.  Denali managed to sit herself next a very nice looking teenager. She had been trying to stay close to him throughout the whole cave tour. He was a looker, and was speaking Spanish too. She was trying to take a picture of him, secretly, so she could remember what he looked like and Abby loudly asked "who are you taking a picture of?"  She was so embarrassed.

Abby took this picture of us.

Denali was extremely helpful on this trip. She loved the cave and later remarked that it was her favorite part of this trip. Yay for national historic sites! Abby keeps asking if we can go back.
We ate a large and delicious dinner at a Mexican restaurant on our way back. We were famished and thoroughly stuffed ourselves. Abby's typical order at a Mexican restaurant is a plate of beans. She will then eat an entire basket of chips and just dip them in the beans. That's it. Easy peasy.