Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Indoor and Outdoor Fun

We've had a variety of weather this week. Some days have been a high of -5 (without the wind chill) and other days have been up in the lower 30s. On Tuesday night we got around 8 inches of beautiful snow and I knew it was going to be pretty frigid weather the rest of the week, so we all spent the day playing outside. Our front yard looks like a bomb went off. I don't think there is any snow that we left untouched. Almost all the kids in our neighborhood were over at some point during the day to create forts and have snowball fights.
 


First thing in the morning these guys watched to snow plow go by 3 or 4 times down our little street.
 
 
 We I got up in the morning around 7:00 this is what I saw out my front window. Kolsen had set his alarm clock for 6:05 so he could help daddy shovel the driveway and then he went to work on the fort. Notice the path that he had to shovel in the snow to get out to the fort?


 Lincoln LOVES to be outside with all the big kids!

 Most of the kids, plus a neighbor in the snow fort.

 Kassidy digging a new path.

 Snow angels
 
 Hey buddy!

 All the kids enjoyed walking the maze of paths through the front yard.

 They even have a tunnel you have to crawl through to get in their fort. No adults allowed in this fort.

Karolyn
 
And on those days when it's -5, we stay inside.
 

LT likes Abby and she is such a good dog about putting up with just about anything!
 
 
The kids also love wearing off some energy in the bounce house. This was LT's first time bouncing and he figured it out pretty quick.
 
 
Of course today we were back to the daily school grind and we did get quite a lot of work done. The big 3 kids spent some time outside spelling "snow" in the backyard, and starting another fort too. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Toothless

 
I took all four kids in for their bi-annual tooth cleaning before Christmas. The hygenist came out to talk with me and told me that Karolyn needed to have 6 teeth taken out. I told her we would wait and bring her back in after Christmas because it cost $100/tooth to have them pulled. She has finally managed to get her two top teeth out by herself, only four more to go. She's seven and almost done with second grade, but it seems like all my kids like to keep their baby teeth for an extra long time.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Chores?

My kids can turn almost any chore into a game or entertainment.
While we were in Kansas visiting the grandparents I asked them to crush Papa's cans and they decided to sort them and figure out which kind had the most.
 
 
 
 

Cousin Kelton, Karolyn and Kolsen
 
I just love this picture of Kassidy getting food for Abby.
My kids are definitely resourceful!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

A Couple of Pinterest Projects

I love Pinterest, it helps meet my craft needs! I love all the cool ideas that other people have created and I just have to copy. And believe me, I have pinned tons of craft ideas that I want to try. It always amazes me at how creative some people are! I have even managed to try a few recipes and the kids love all the arts and crafts ideas that I get from there. I can't imagine what we did with life before Pinterest? 
 
 
 After starting this Pinterest project a few months ago, I finally got around to actually putting pictures in the frames. This project did cost me around $4 because I had all the frames and a can of black spray paint at home so all I had to do was get two of the pictures printed at Walgreens. It didn't turn out quite a cool as my inspiration picture, but I still love it. I may go back and move some of the frames a little bit closer, but I hate to poke too many holes in the wall. I was happy with this project because it gave me an excuse to break out my Cricut cutter, scrapbook paper and vinyl. The leaves, cross and Papon sign are all made with vinyl. The verse on the lower right hand side I did with scrapbook paper. Three of the pictures are even taken with our own camera. I love it when I actually get good pictures.


Any time I get near my craft table this girl comes running! She really wanted to use the Cricut cutter, but I just got some new embossing folders from Stampin' Up so we used those instead. She created some really cool Valentine's cards that she saw on Pinterest. Now we just have to get them out in the mail and to friends.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Sliding Super Fast

We try not to teach Lincoln too many bad habits! Kassidy had to teach him the safest and most exciting way to get down the stairs. I think they did this for at least 30 minutes on Friday.


Dance, Dance, Dance

After two weather related cancellations, Kaylee finally got to put on her winter dance recital. It was a bit more laid back that the original program since it was delayed by a month, but we thought Kaylee did a fantastic job and she had fun doing it.
 
Kaylee's dance teacher wanted all the girls to have curly pony or piggy tails. If you know anything about Kaylee's hair you know it is STICK straight, just like her mom's, so we did six buns during the day to make it curly.
 
The buns turned her straight hair into a big curly mass!
 
She had a wonderful time this semester with her dance class.
She asks every day if it is the day to go to dance class. 
 
 
 
 
Here is the new song she performed.
She had the biggest class up there with 25 girls.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Reading

We had yet another crazy week around the Papon household. We started off the week with Karolyn getting sick on Sunday and Monday. Tuesday everyone was feeling better, but the older two kids were exhausted, so we tried to take it easy. We missed most of our outside the house activities this week, which I don't feel too bad about since the highest temperature we had this week was around 10 degrees. The wind chill was constantly well below zero and no one felt like going outside anyways.
 
I did a lot of reading out loud this week while the kids relaxed on the couch and worked on a African grasslands mural. Right now I'm reading three different books out loud to the kids. I'm hoping to finish Charlotte's Web this weekend so we can watch the movie.  Kolsen has been enjoying Little Pilgrim's Progress and I love that he can spot all the Bible parallels in it. All the kids love hearing about the adventures of David Livingstone (except where the lion almost killed him) and I just love to see their eyes light up with excitement as I read.

Of course I can never just be reading one book either. Besides my fiction books from the library and on my Kindle, I've been trying to work my way through a few other non-fiction books. The Ministry of Motherhood, by Sally Clarkson is a book I love! She's got such a loving and patient spirit which comes through in her writing. She's one of those people who you want to aspire to be more like!

I'm also reading Educating the WholeHearted Child, by Clay and Sally Clarkson, which is more of a resource book with lots of Bible references so it's taking me a while to plod through. I'm trying not to highlight every single thing they say, but it seems like every page contains tons of information I want to remember to apply to my life and teach my kids.

The last book I just started is Laying Down the Rails, by Sonya Shafer. We listened to Sonya on a video at Mom's Night Out a few months ago and I knew I had to get this book which teaches about character and habits training with children. She went through all of Charlotte Mason's writings and sorted out all her information by different topics. It's not an easy read, but I've enjoyed the book so far. I love reading books by people who hold the same values and truths as I do because it is such an encouragement to me during the rough days of motherhood when everything isn't going according to plan.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Who Needs Toys?

Although my children received many wonderful toys for Christmas this year (we are very thankful for all the gifts we were blessed with this year) the things my kids usually end up playing with for hours are not store bought toys. While we were down visiting the grandparents, my kids spent hours building castles and towns of buildings using Papa's scrap pile in his shop. Notice the rocks on top and the cardboard box in the background? Yet two more things my kids love to play with all the time. They were busy whizzing through the cardboard tunnel on trikes, bikes and stick horses. They also spent hours out in the field with Papa in the prairie grass running up and down the dry creek pretending to be Indians and adventurers without any toys at all.
 
 
Is this a good thing, this imaginative play?
Some days I wonder.

I'm so thankful that my kids have such great imaginations and can play without electronics and new fangled toys. The hard part is that their play usually involves elaborate amounts of cleaning up at the end. They love, love, LOVE to move all the furniture around, get all the pillows off the the couches and beds, and use endless amounts of blankets to create forts, mazes, gymnastics equipment and many other things. Not to mention the myriad of outfit changes that all this play requires. So when it's time to clean up, I can't just walk into a room and say Kolsen clean up your Legos and girls put your dolls away. Pick-up time is a major undertaking! Some days I wish my house was nice, clean and picked up, but you know what? We live here, play here, learn here and life is messy. I know that my kids will remember all the fun they had making messes and playing for many years down the road.

I'm blessed with the time to have trained my children to be good helpers. So when it come time to clean up, it's not a world ending crisis. Do my kids complain about cleaning sometimes? Yes. Do they do it joyfully all the time? No. But, they are willing to do the work the majority of the time and for that I'm thankful. I know that down the road, their future spouses will be grateful that I spent the time to teach them diligence and follow through during their early years and didn't allow them to spend endless hours watching TV and playing video games to keep them occupied and my house clean. Habits form early.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Sledding

We've been enjoying some of our MN winter weather. The kids favorite spot to sled is only a few blocks from our house.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Saving Money in Fargo, ND

We've had an incredibly busy couple of weeks since we've come back from vacation.

Shawn's been catching up on 100s of emails and voicemail messages at work and enjoying some much needed days in the office to work on paperwork. I think he's especially thankful for some office time since our weather has been pretty chilly.

The kids and I have been doing school, babysitting Lincoln and all our other daily life activities. The kids jumped right back into the school schedule and have been enjoying life back to normal (at least normal for us) Lincoln's actually been sick for the past three days and my kids aren't sure what to do without their little friend tailing them through their days. We're hoping he gets well soon so he can come back and play.

We've also been to:
AWANAS
dance class
Bible study
ice skating
4-H
church
story time at the library
building snow forts
 and swim and gym (tomorrow)

Now on to the saving money portion of the post. Today we spent the day in Fargo and did some shopping. Our first stop was at Kohls where I had a few returns. I wasn't able to find anything we needed to buy so I came home with a $15 store card. I hope they come out with their summer clothes soon because I would really like to get a new swimsuit and cover up for our Hawaii trip.

Our next stop wasn't quite so frugal, but I love Schlotzky's and we did earn a free sandwich for our next stop by using their punch card. We spent $30 and came home with 1/2 a sandwich for Shawn's lunch tomorrow.

After our tummy's were full we made a quick stop at Sunmart to use some coupons I had printed out. I love visiting Sunmartfoods.com to print out their Our Family generic brand and Nash Brothers organic coupons. We spend around $40 and saved 33%. My favorite buys were the 3 packages of organic pasta  for $1.50 and the free organic peanut butter and 2 more bags of organic pasta that I got for taking a quick survey online to earn a free $5 off coupon. We also got a $0.15 off/gallon of gas coupon to use, which is accepted at almost any gas station in town.

Next we made a quick stop at Joanns and I spent only $4. Amazing for me! I bought one pack of paper which I plan on using next month, visiting my friend Heather in WI. I also used a 50% off coupon to get the kids a large perler bead board.

Shawn had an appointment at the dermatologist for some spots on his hand, so we read books and did school work in the waiting room while he was in with the doctor. He paid his $35 co-pay with a gift card we had from taking an short online survey with our health insurance. Yeah for free doctor's visits. I still have my card to use and I'm hoping I don't have to use it any time soon.  Shawn's spots weren't anything to worry about, he's just getting old and spends LOTS of time outside.

Shawn also made a quick trip at Gander Mountain because he had a coupon for a free gun cleaning. He dropped off his gun that his dad bought him when he was in 8th grade and we'll pick it up when we go back to Fargo next month.

Then we walked through the HOM furniture store and didn't buy anything! Whew! I saw lots of cool things that I would love to have in my house, but I didn't love anything enough to spend our furniture money we have saved up.

Our last stop for the day was Culvers, where we got 5 free cups of ice cream with toppings from all the Scoopie coupons I saved up from kids meals.

Overall, I thought we did a great job saving money while buying things we needed (and wanted). We also had a blast spending time together and doing a little car schooling.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Kaylee

I love to take pictures of my kids and Kaylee is always willing to smile for the camera. The light must have been great in Kansas because I took some really good ones that I just had to share.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Some day I would love to take a photography class to learn how to take better pictures. Right now I have a simple point and shoot camera and I like it, but I love learning new things.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Doing Chores With Nana

While on vacation the girls helped Nana do some of her chores. The girls loved helping clean out the horse stalls. I'm sure the fun factor wouldn't last if they had to do it everyday, but they love helping Nana out! This was my very first time to scoop manure (which my husband couldn't believe, but I am  a city girl) although I've scooped plenty of dog doo.
 
Kassidy and Nana used the tractor to move the manure.
 
 
Kassidy loved helping clean out the stalls.
We did have to wash all our snow gear before we came home.
 
Kaylee helping.
 
Cowgirl Karolyn is an old hand at cleaning out the stalls.
If she's not inside crafting with Nana you can bet you will find her out by the barn.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

New Family Picture

While we were in Kansas visiting with my family we managed to make it to Sears for new family pictures. I thought they turned out pretty good.
 
 
The last time we had pictures taken with everyone, Isaac wasn't born yet, and Kassidy and Asher we just walking.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Walking With Papa

We love visiting the farm where Shawn's parents live.
 
 
 
 
 
My kids love exploring.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A Little More Clowning Around

I had to share a few more pictures of Papa doing his artwork. The kids had such a blast watching each other take turns getting their faces done. I'm still hoping to talk them all into being rodeo clowns for Halloween some year.
 
Kassidy
 
Kaylee
 
 
Karolyn
 
 
Kolsen
 
All finished and ready to clown around.
I'm sure the kids will remember this day for a long time to come.
Thanks Papa!
 
Here's the real deal. Shawn's parents during their rodeo days.
Bruce did a lot of clowning around while Yvette did barrel racing.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Christmas With The Papon Cousins

After visiting my family for a week, we travelled two hours further South to stay with Shawn's parents while we visit their family. We're always glad when every one's schedules work together and all the grand kids can visit.
 

All the K Cousins where ready to open presents.
We have Kaylee, Karolyn, Kelton, Kolsen, Kassidy, Katie and Konnor.
 
 
The girls helped Nana Yvette make some pies and cakes.
 
Karolyn had to share some treats with the horses for Christmas.
 
It snowed in Kansas and Papa Bruce had to got out the sled to pull behind the gator. The kids had fun riding on the sled and in the gator.
 
We all helped build a snow fort. Notice all the dry dirt and grass that clung to our snowballs. I guess the drought is still here.
 
Papa Bruce also painted all the grandkids' faces to look like rodeo clowns.
 
All the kids loved running around in Papa's clean shop building on the bikes, trikes and stick horses.
 
Kaylee riding the trike through a cardboard tunnel.