Monday, January 30, 2012

A Week of Hand Washing

Last week was an unusual week for us at the Papon household. We had one kid sick with a fever, two different kids puking, a runny nose, sore throat and sinus problems. K-man was the only one that made it through the week unscathed. All the kids illnesses were short lived and thankfully they are all feeling 100% again. Needless to say, we had a LOT of handwashing last week and the kids and I are going to clean all the surfaces with water and vinegar this week.

We've been busy doing school too. The kids were excited when we did a little bit of reorganization in the classroom. (pictures coming later) I'm hoping this will help my older two get through their work quicker, with less chatting and checking out each other's work. We also went through some school work files. I'm always amazed when we look back over their work from the beginning of the year at how far they've come in such a short period of time. K-girl is really coming along in her reading and has even been reading some 2nd grade reading books.

Our winter weather had finally arrived and the kids are having lots of fun shoveling the driveway (and the yard) to make snow jumps, forts and mazes. Last year we had already had a couple of blizzards by this time and were buried in snow, so the 4-6 inches that we have on the ground has been just enough to play in. The temperatures haven't been so bad this winter either, we've been enjoying many days of highs in the 30s. Last year it seemed that many of our days were highs in the negatives and it was
to cold to play outside.

 Sled jump and snow angels in the front yard. They scooped half of our yard to get this snow pile.

 K-girl sitting on top of the fort the kids built in the backyard. They had fun building a tunnel and even got Abby to crawl through it.

Football in the snow with daddy and some neighbor kids.

More snow fun in the front yard. It's funny to look out and see everyone else's pretty yards which look like the snow just fell. I don't think there is a single spot in our yard that the kids or the dog haven't trampled or played on.

 K-man built some domino creations.

 The neighbor girl had a pool party and of course my kids were in the hot tub most of the time.

Shawn, K-sis and K-baby sledding. Thank God for Daddy who loves to pull, pull and pull the sleds!

We even managed to go ice skating, Shawn did the taxes and some 529 funds for the kids and I helped our small group host a marriage seminar at church (we were in charge of all the food for about 120 people). 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

In My Seat

This past week, Steven Scheibner came to speak at our church. He was the pilot who was scheduled to fly the airplane that flew into the first World Trade Center. He has an amazing testimony which you can watch on you tube. The video is about 15 minutes long and is worth watching. It was made by his son (a homeschooler) who just graduated from Bob Jones University. His testimony really puts our lives in to perspective. Life is short. Are we really living for God?

One of the local television stations came by to cover the story. This short clip tells about his story and you can see Shawn, Kaylee and I. We don't watch the news very often because we are usually busy keeping up with 4 kids, but after Shawn went to work on Monday, all his co-workers said they saw the story and we looked it up on the Internet.

We bought his new book, In My Seat for Shawn's dad, but I have a feeling Shawn and I are going to have to read it before we give him a copy. I'm so grateful for the Naz Church and for the oppertunity to learn more about God's amazing love each week.

In other noteworthy news, my dad was also in the news this past week. My father, Tom Cook announced his retirement and his story was covered in The Hutchinson News. You can follow the link and read his story too. I'm thankful that my dad had such an amazing impact on not only my life, but also the lives of many other people through his work. We're hoping that my parents will enjoy their retirement and maybe even drive their R.V our direction every once in a while.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


I'm sure Shawn could work a lot faster without help, but I'm so grateful for a husband who allows our children to learn along side him in everything he does. I'm sure their future spouses will be grateful too.

 K-man sanding the walls.

 K-man and Daddy working on drywall putty.

 Even K-sis helped mud the lower nails on the walls.

K-girl adding some mud.

I also know we will all appreciate our new bathroom too, since we all worked on it together.

Friday, January 20, 2012

K-girl loves AWANA

K-girl has been so excited about learning verses this year. I'm so proud of the hard work she puts in practicing during the week.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Grand Forks, ND

Last weekend we had to travel up to Grand Forks, ND because Shawn had some gift cards burning a whole in his pocket. Cabelas was having a really good special on some goose decoys that Shawn has had his eye on for quite some time. After a long time wandering the isles with the kids at Cabelas, Shawn checked out with everything he needed, then we took the kids to the Canad Inn Water park.

The kids had a blast at the water park showing off all the new swimming skills they've learned this winter. Shawn even talked the admissions person in to giving us our tickets for $10/person instead of the original price of $17/person. CRAZY! The big kids enjoyed all the different slides and K-sis and K-baby stuck pretty close to mommy.

 K-baby, K-man and K-girl (all on the left) getting ready to try out a slide.

 K-sis, my cautious girl who didn't like any of the slides.

K-baby and Mom waiting to go on one of the big slides. She LOVED it!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

It's a homemade Christmas

I love giving and receiving homemade gifts. This Christmas we managed to work in quite a few fun ideas and the kids had such fun coming up with ideas that they could do. The hardest part was not sharing the ideas on the blog before we gave the presents.

The kids started making their first presents before Thanksgiving. They had lots of fun using up some of our extra Scrabble letters to make Christmas tree ornaments and coasters.

 All the K-kids crafting away!

 I snuck in some spelling practice. (Shhhh! Don't tell.)

K-girl made a bunch of cute bookmarks for everyone she knew. She had a great time using my sewing machine. She loves crafting! (a girl after my own heart) She also practiced using a needle to sew on the buttons.

This wasn't a gift, but it was a craft I did recently so I'm including it. :) I've had this ugly clear plastic organizer sitting in my closet since we moved from Wisconsin three years ago. I recently discovered Mod Podge and had to try it out with a project.


 Now I just have to figure out where I want to hang it.

 These are some jars that I made for gifts. I decoupaged the lids and cut vinyl with my Cricut for the glass. I thought they turned out really cute and were perfect for holding the sewing/craft labels that I made to go in them. (I didn't get a picture of that craft, sorry.)

 Nana Yvette gave K-girl some fabric for Christmas and of course she had to use it RIGHT AWAY. Nana is so creative and made up a pattern for a cute bag to hold K-girl's Bible and AWANA book. I thought it turned out fantastic.

 The kids were busy crafting over vacation too. They made this ginger bread barn at Nana Yvette's house. It turned out so cute!

 Yvette and I had to stop in at the quilt store in Kiowa. She always carries such cute quilting fabric and many other types of fabric too.  I found this cute scarf idea on Pinterest and had to try it out. I had tons of fun getting in some sewing time with Yvette and it only took us an hour to whip these together.

 One of my favorite projects was using my Cricut cutter to make my mom a sign for her long-arm quilting business. It was my first BIG project using vinyl and it turned out great.

 Somehow I found a few minutes to slip into Hobby Lobby without the kids and found some cute brown jersey knit fabric to make this cute scarf. Yet another Pinterest idea and so easy too.

 I also made some coasters for my mother and some for me too. Somehow our old sandstone ones have all been dropped and broken so we didn't have any coasters at home. I love these and it was so easy. I just used Mod Podge, cheap tiles from Hobby Lobby, scrapbook paper and pictures.

 These are the ones I made for my mom. Aren't they cute?

 Everyone got an Initial/Name frame this year. My friend Heather and I came up with this idea when we last got together (way too long ago.). These were fun to make with vinyl using my Cricut.

 My mom and dad got the kids a Kindle Fire for Christmas so we HAD to sew a cute cover to protect it. My mom and I made this together and I love how it turned out.
outside cover:

My sister-in-law also spent some time crafting this fall because I got a great stash of homemade gifts from her too. She gave me homemade vanilla extract, lip balm, skin scrub and bath salts. I can say that we both a have a LOVE for Pinterest this year!

This post just gets me excited for all the crafting possiblities for the coming year.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


We are doing AWANAs again this year for our Wednesday night activity. I love that we can all be involved together as a family.

 Our crew

 K-baby is in Puggles. She doesn't have verses that she has to learn at home yet, but she loves going to the nursery to learn about all that God has created.

 K-sis is in her final year of Cubbies and she is so proud of her vest and saying her verse each week.

 K-girl is loving Sparks this year and is moving quickly through her book. It always amazes me how much they can memorize (and remember for longer that a week). Her favorite school activity (beside art) is to copy her verses on paper for handwriting. I love to hear her say Psalm 23.

K-man is in his first year of Truth and Training. This is a huge jump up from Sparks and I love how it pushes to the kids to learn long passages, memorize multiple verses and also reviews their older verses. He (and the rest of us) are really learning a lot about God this year. His favorite thing to say this year is all the books of the Bible from Gensis to Revelations.

K-sis showing off one of her favorite verse. Her Cubbie verses aren't usually this long, but I think she's heard it enough from her older siblings that she learned it pretty fast. If you see her, ask her what Matthew 2:10 is.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Pantry Challenge Needed!

I am in desperate need of doing a pantry challenge. We have been blessed with wonderful crops from our CSA, Bluebird Gardens. My freezers, fridges and cabinets are full! After I spend so much time putting all this food away for winter I tend to hoard it. Now that it is January, I'm realizing that I need to make a more concerted effort to use up our supplies so we have room this spring for new veggies.

Our kitchen at this house may be small but, it feels like we have our own appliance store downstairs in our laundry room.  We have our washer and dryer, a fridge and 2 freezers. 

When we moved from Waupun, WI to here we brought our almost new fridge with us because we weren't sure if our new house would have one. It did, so know we have two. When we moved from MO to WI we didn't bring any of our appliances and we really regretted that, especially since our house in WI came with a fridge from the 1940s. Most of the time we haven't had it on, but as our food stash from summer gardening has increased we've now been using it full time.

 A few years after we were married we bought a little chest freezer which we have keep pretty full through the years. I was really grateful for this freezer when I discovered the world of freezer cooking. My family has eaten many nutritious meals that I've stalked in the freezer.

Last year my parents decided to get rid of their stand-up freezer and so we gladly accepted it. YEAH, free freezer! I love being able to see stuff on the shelves. It is so much easier to access, so I put lots of things that I need to find in this one. 

I know we probably pay quite a bit in electricity, but I love knowing where my food came from and all the harvest events at Bluebird Gardens are considered a free bonus. Free food = Stock up! are my pictures of our food stash. (I also have a snack cabinet and a rice/noodles/baking good cabinet that I didn't take a picture of) I feel like these are the before pictures of a home improvement project. Hopefully in a few months these freezers will be empty and ready to be filled with fresh food. I'm also hoping to see if I can lower my food bill for a few months too.

 Upstairs Freezer. I don't really like these side-by-side kind, but it can hold lots of veggie bags. 

 Our stand-up freezer downstairs. It's stuffed with chickens, beef and more veggies.

 Our chest freezer full of duck, geese and LOTS of veggies.

 I usually use our old fridge for freezer meals so I can get to them easily. Right now it's full of milk, broth, cream of soup and a few meals.

 The fridge downstairs holds all my flour, oats, sugar, extra milk and Shawn's Dr. Pepper.

This last picture is our upstairs pantry. The two middle shelves are stuffed full of food. I know I have at least 16 quarts of green beans in there. We have TONS of pickles and tomato sauce too (and I know I have more jars downstairs in our storage room.)

Man that is a lot of food. I'm glad that God has blessed our family this year. I shared lots of our veggies with friends as they came by the house and gave jars of canned stuff for Christmas.

I've been checking out for good recipes to use up our stash. If you are interested in learning more about this type of challenge check out GoodCheapEats for more ideas and other moms who are doing the same thing.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

K-girl looses her 1st tooth!

K-girl lost her first tooth while we were at Nana and Papa's house.

And guess what??? The tooth fairy pays more when you loose a tooth at Nana and Papa's house. ;)