Dog Spa Day

July 31, 2008 at 11:21 am (Uncategorized)

Before
Yes, he was as dirty as he looks!  YIKES!

During
I am sure I cut off half his body weight!

After

With the economy today this is just another way to stretch our homeschool dollar!  $40.00 SAVED!  LOL

Click HERE to read my post on Dog Clipping. 


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Plastic Bag Storage – Works For Me Wednesday

July 30, 2008 at 11:40 am (Uncategorized)

As much as we try to take our own bags to the store with us, it still seems like the plastic bags frequently overflow in my pantry. I do like to have some bags on hand for things like lining trash cans and the little "oops" moments in life.  Here is my latest plastic bag storage solution.

If you don’t drink soda I am sure there are othe boxes that would work for this.  These work great to keep plastic bags under the sinks in the bathrooms and in the trunk of the car.  An added bonus to having them is the car is that when you get too many you can just grab the whole box and take them in to recycle the next time your at the store.

It works for ME!


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How To Eat A Mango – Grammy Style!

July 29, 2008 at 9:46 am (Uncategorized)

My Mother-In-Law was born in Indonesia and she enjoyed exotic fruits from her childhood all her life.  I had never eaten a mango until I met my mother-in-law!  So I always think of her when we have mango.  Yesterday the kids were eating mango and I decided to try to teach them to eat them the way Grammy did.

Step One:
Slice the mango as close to in half as you can.  There is a BIG pit, so you will have to cut around it. (You can trim the rest off the side and eat it later.)

Step Two:
Make slits going both directions with a knife.  Don’t cut through the skin.

Step Three:
Pop it inside out!

Step Four:
Eat!

Yummy!!!!

All Gone!

My husband said she also liked to put salt and chili powder on them.  I don’t remember that, but I am sure he is right. (I am going to have to try that next time!) This may be the way everyone eats a mango, but to us it is the Grammy way!I hope that from now on the kids too will think of Grammy when they eat a mango.

We miss you Grammy!

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Cute Kid Stages

July 28, 2008 at 9:23 am (Uncategorized)

There are certain kid stages that seem to be a right of passage for every kid.  Here are 2 that my kids are going through right now.

The Human Jack-O-Lantern Stage
My daughter is dropping teeth like CrAzY!  LOL  Her teeth decided to come out late compared to all her friends and she has lamented about it for years!  She is so happy to finally be toothless!  She looks so cute and loves being called "The Human Jack-O-Lantern" or "Pumpkin" for short!  LOL

Here is a shot of her just being pretty!

The "Who Am I Today?" stage
My 4 year old is all about dress up right now.  Everyday he is someone new!  Yesterday it was Darth Vadar.  The day before it was a fireman.  A pirate also frequently stops by.  I have gotten so use to his costumes that I don’t even realize he’s dresses up many times until we are out and about and I see people pointing or chuckling about his ensemble!  LOL Yesterday he fell asleep in the car with his Darth mask on.  Oh, I wish I would have had my camera!

Darth Vadar unmasked!

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Awana Copy Work

July 25, 2008 at 11:57 am (Uncategorized)

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A couple of days ago I mentioned the website http://www.worksheetworks.com/  the kids and I have been having more fun with it so I thought I would show you the cute little copy work they did practicing their Awana verses this week.

My 7 year olds Awana verse.

My 4 year olds Awana verse


Both my 7 and my 4 year old can’t get enough of this site!  I was thinking this might be a fun way for them to write letters to some of their friends in Las Vegas. They can tell me what to type and then they can do the copy work to make them personal.  I can’t believe this is FREE! YAY!


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Las Vegas With Kids – Part 2

July 24, 2008 at 10:23 am (Uncategorized)


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This is part 2.  Click HERE to read part 1.

Circus Circus Circus Acts **** This we LOVED! Another great freebie!  Every 15 minutes there are circus acts in the big top.  My kids could stay all day.  There are also inexpensive midway games and many of them guarantee your child will win a stuffed animal. (I can’t even tell you how many of these I gave to Goodwill when we moved!  LOL) 

Fountains at Caesars Palace (In Forum Shops underground shopping area.) ** This is something to see if you happen to be in the Forum Shops when the show happens.  It is VERY loud and hard to understand.  (My daughter was terrified of this too! LOL)  I could live without seeing it.  But, it is free. 

Aquarium at Ceasars Palace ** There is a big aquarium you can look at for free.  It’s pretty.  There is also a free tour of how they take care of the aquarium.  You get to go “back stage” and see all the equipment.  It’s pretty interesting and again, it’s free!  LOL  I wouldn’t make a special effort to do this unless you have a budding Marine Biologist in the family.

Leid Children’s Museum **** Finally something that is BIG in Las Vegas!  LOL  This we LOVED!  We  had a season pass to the museum and went frequently.  They have all kinds of fun stuff for kids.  A stage with costumes, a grocery store, banks and fire dept.  There is a display of old neon signs.  (Which is pretty cool.)  There is an awesome section for the little ones where they a can mine silver. (Pretend silver of course.)  There are arts and crafts, a karaoke room, a place where kids can play basketball in a wheel chair, lots of science related exhibits.  Plan to be there ALL DAY.  Pack your own lunch.  There is no where to eat nearby.  It is closed on Mondays.  Also, sadly it is not in a good part of town.  It is very near the skid row section of Las Vegas.  It is attached to the Public Library and a lot of sketchy characters hang out outside.  Once your inside it’s great, but keep a close eye on your kids coming and going.

Las Vegas Natural History Museum *** This is pretty nice.  Once again, it’s small.  But, if your kids like dinosaurs they have animated ones.  There is also a cool open tank of sharks you can view. It is across the street from the Lied Museum. This will take about 3 hours to see it all.

Star Trek Experience **** We never made it to the Star Trek Experience because it was too expensive.  BUT, we did eat at Quarks Bar & Restaurant a couple times.  It was FUN!  If you like Star Trek I recommend eating here! There are very realistic characters who come around to the tables.  I about fainted when I came out of the restroom and encountered a Borg!  LOL  The one time we took the kids a Klingon came to our table and scared my daughter to death!  LOL  When my daughter dove under the table the Klingon totally stayed in character and chastised my husband and I “Did you not warn your young earthling that there would be Klingons here?!”  LOL  (Can you see a theme by now of my daughter being completely terrified of the strip!  LOL) We also got a good laugh when the Quark tried to get us to pay by leaving one of our children with him!  LOL

Ethel M Chocolate Factory **** I am giving this 4 stars but I am also saying this is four stars only at Christmas time!  The actually chocolate factory tour is pretty lame.  It is self guided and only takes a few minutes.  Plus they only give you one piece of chocolate for visiting!  LOL  BUT, in the month of December they decorate the cactus garden that is out front with thousands of lights.  It is truly beautiful and was our favorite Christmas thing to do in Las Vegas. You can see pictures from one of our visits HERE. 

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area  **** (Winter only)  This is a wonderful beautiful place that you will hardly be able to believe is right outside Las Vegas!  You will feel a world away from the strip!  If you enjoy hiking there are a lot of great trails.  Ask at the visitor center how to hike to the waterfall.  (It’s dry in the Summer.  Feb. is the perfect month to go see it.) This was a favorite hang out stop for our family. Click here to see my post about a field trip we took to Red Rock. 

Bonnie Springs *** (Winter only) If you are looking for good old fashion fun this is the place!  LOL  (I am talking as hokie as you can get!)  My kids liked it. There is a train to ride, a couple of old west shows and some shops.  The best part is the petting zoo. You can get very up close and personal with the animals. Makes for a fun day!  It’s about 25 minutes from the strip.

Freemont Street Experience *** This is fun to go to at night.  They boast the world’s largest TV!  LOL  There are shows on the hour and you will be amazed.  Go to the website and see what is playing when.  Some are more family friendly than others!  Mermaids is a bar/casino on Fremont Street where you can get .99 cent fried Twinkies and Oreos!  (Don’t take the kids inside. Mom stands outside with the kids and dad goes in for treats! LOL) This was another big night out for us when we lived in Las Vegas. The shows are free of course! 

Don’t Sees!

Pirate Show at Treasure Island – The pirate show is no longer kid friendly. It is suppose to be sexy, I thought it was really lame.  Yes, my husband and I went and saw it right before we left.  I wanted to know what all the hoopla was about. I couldn’t believe all these people waste their time seeing something so stupid!

Excalibur – While there is nothing really wrong with Excalibur, there isn’t really much there for kids.  We went to the buffet a couple times and I was always disappointed that a building that looked so cartoonish had so little for kids. The best part is what you can see from the car driving by, the building!

 Okay, with all this said I just want to warn to be on guard the whole time you are in Las Vegas with your kids.  I would warn them ahead of time that there will be times you are just going to tell them to close their eyes and they need to obey.  You need to be vigilant to do things like distracting the kids as you drive passed certain billboards and turning over placemats that have half nude women on them.  (Been there done that!) Even as I was preparing this post I was amazed how many hiney’s and how much cleavage I was exposed to just looking at Las Vegas websites.  I am already forgetting how prominent that atmosphere is in Las Vegas!  (Thank God!)

Whew, that is enough for now!  Tomorrow I will try to post on our favorite places to eat in Las Vegas.

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Las Vegas With Kids – Part 1

July 23, 2008 at 10:08 am (Uncategorized)

"Hey Jamin! My family and I will be going to Las Vegas for one week next week and I was just wondering of you could tell me where are the “must see” stops there. And I don’t necessarily mean the big tourist attractions but the places that only the locals know about, you know what I mean?

I have 4 children ages 8, 7, 5, and 3 so I definitely need something kid friendly.

Anyway I would greatly appreciate any advice you could give.

Sincerely,         

Eva "

There is a saying that "Every 5 years the whole world passes through Las Vegas." Having lived there for 4 years I can honestly say I believe that is true! Not only does Las Vegas host conventions for EVERYONE, (I will never forget the time we were eating out at a buffet and there was a HUGE group of Southern Baptist Pastors eating there that were in Las Vegas for a convention.  LOL) also if you want to go to California from just about anywhere in the USA, your probably going to pass through Las Vegas.

Since we lived in Las Vegas for 4 years I have answered this question more that a few times!  LOL  So instead of just emailing Eva with my response I thought I would put it here too.

Kid friendly things to do in Las Vegas? Yes, they do exist.  But, I first a warning.  The Las Vegas strip as a whole is NOT a kid friendly place.  My best advice for manuvering the strip with kids is do not walk anywhere on the street!  Yes, I know the strip is designed to be walked.  It is also designed to look like everything is really close, while being a much longer walk that it looks like!  I have nothing against walking, But, the problem with it in Las Vegas is exposure to pornography.  I am not just talking about the posters and billboards that are everywhere on the strip.  Most of them are a very strong R-rating.  What I am warning you about are the call girl cards that are aggressively passed out on the strip.  You see prostitution is illegal in Clark County where Las Vegas is located.  But, there is not law against passing out advertisement for the brothels in ajoining counties. So, everywhere you go there are aggressive men and women passing out what look like fancy trading cards with the most disgusting pornography on them you can imagine.  People take them and then drop them.  So they are all over the street. If the card pushers aren’t busy with people they stick them in fences and on poles and etc.  I am telling you if you walk the street there will be NO avoiding seeing this!  So you have been warned! (BTW, the parking is all free on the strip.)

Okay,now that I have sternly warned you :^) here are some things we enjoyed doing with our kids in Las Vegas:

I am going to use a star rating systems. 

**** = highly recommend

*** = recommend

** = go if it interests you.

* = It is kid friendly

Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay **** – This is a very nice aquarium and we went there many times while we were in Las Vegas.  It is not huge, but you can go through at your own pace.  Our favorite part was the touch pools where you can touch all kids of cool sea creatures.  I also like this one because you can park right outside the door and never see a slot machine!  Check the map online to find the best parking. Here is a post about one of our visits to the aquarium.

The Lion Habitat at MGM *** – This is very fun for the kids.  It is also small, but it’s free so who can complain!  LOL  It is smack dab in the middle of the casino, so there is no avoiding the slot machines and smoke on this one. I HIGHLY recommend you valet park for this one.  (It’s free too.)  The walk from the MGM parking to the Lion Habitat is at least 100 miles!  LOL  It’s uphill both ways too!  You have been warned… VALET PARK!  If your hungry there is a Rainforest Café right by the Habitat.  Also, once you finish this you are going to want to head on over to M&M World.  (Your almost there!)

M&M World **** – This is a very fun place.  But, warn your children up front that you are NOT buying M&M’s.  They charge something like $10.00 a pound for them!  They do however have a really cute 3D show for the kids.  My kids loved it and we went several times. When you leave the Lion Habitat you can go out the front doors and make a right.  M&M World is just about a block away.  I know this breaks my don’t walk rule, but I have never seen porn pushers on this section of the strip.  There is no other parking for M&M World.

Conservatory at Bellagio **** This was by far our favorite thing to do in Las Vegas! I can’t even count the number of times we went to Bellagio.  This is a beautiful indoor garden that they change out 4 times a year.  Each exhibit is more mind boggling than the one before and it’s FREE!  They have easy free parking where you can get in and out without seeing the casino.  After you see the conservatory you have to head over to see the chocolate fountain! Take the side exit from the exhibit and go right you’ll come upon the chocolate fountain.  After the chocolate fountain you HAVE to go see the BIG fountains outside! Here is my post about one of our visits to the Bellagio

Fountains at Bellagio **** As far as I am concerned this dancing water is the biggest star in Las Vegas! It is so beautiful! It is all synchronized to music and it is a real delight.  Our big day out in Las Vegas was to go see the Conservatory, then the chocolate fountains  topped off with the fountain.  It’s all FREE!  Oh, and a lot of the shows are set to Christian music.  Go figure?  LOL Click HERE to see the fountains on U-Tube.

King Tut Exhibit at Luxor **** This is another awesome must see in my book!  I could tell you all about it, but I have already blogged about it complete with pictures here.

Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at the Mirage ***  This is pretty nice, we especially like the Dolphins there.  Again, it is pretty small and won’t take long to go through.  I would avoid it in the summer because it’s outside in the middle of the casino and it is HOT even in the winter.  I never went except in February and it was SO hot then I cannot imagine summer out there! (This is the place that inspired my Dolphins in the Desert post!)

Volcano at the Mirage **** This is another fun free thing to see.  If you want to add a free tram ride you can park at Treasure Island and take the free tram over.  That was another fun family night out while we lived in Las Vegas.  LOL  My daughter was terrified of the volcano from the time we moved there. She wanted so badly not to be afraid of it.  She would beg us to take her and tell us she wouldn’t be afraid  if we took her again.  Every time as soon as the volcano would go off she would start screaming! LOL  What a funny memory!

Circus Circus Adventure Dome ** We only went here once and it was fun.  Again, it seems small to me for the money.  Having been to Disneyland a zillion times my kids were not impressed with the rides.  You can walk through without paying to decide it you want to pay the money.  You can either pay by the ride or get wrist bands.  We did have  blast when we went because it was my rent-a-kids birthday party and we ALWAYS have fun with him!

For some reason I am having trouble with my posts getting messed up if they are too long. So I am ending here and will post the rest tomorrow. :^)

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Staycation

July 21, 2008 at 9:11 am (Uncategorized)

It seems like I keep hearing the term "staycation" everywhere I look these days.  At first I didn’t get what the term met. Then I realized there are A LOT of other people like us who will be "staying" around home instead of going on "vacation" this year.  We have several reasons for not taking a vacation this year, not the least of which is that we have two houses we are responsible for since we couldn’t sell the one in Las Vegas.  There are other factors too.  Like $4.00 a gallon gas and the fact that my husband used all his vacation when we moved in April. So over the weekend we  attempted to make lemonade out of lemons.  We happen to be fortunate to have a lake just 5 miles from our house!  We have been wanting to get over there and take a look at it since we moved here in April. So this weekend we actually did it!

Here are a a few of our "staycation" pictures from the weekend.

The boys by the lake.

Smile!

The kids had never been to the lake before. They were a little hesitant about getting in the murky water.  They couldn’t get over how different the water looks from the ocean water they are use to!

Even our little dare devil was a little unsure.

So dad led the troops into the unknown…

They liked it!

Really liked it!

Once he got wet he had a blast!

My handsome boy.

Mappy Mom!

He always makes me laugh! 

On the way out we bought an annual pass so it looks like we will be going to the lake a lot in the next year. YAY!


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Amelia Earhart Lapbook

July 18, 2008 at 10:24 am (Uncategorized)

We have a new lapbook!  My 13 year old just finished the Hands of a Child Amelia Earhart lapbook.  This was the free quarterly lapbook from HOAC last quarter. 

 

Since this is a pre-made lapbook and you can learn all about it over at the HOAC website, I thought I would tell you how I assign lapbooks to my 13 year old instead.

First I print out all the material and give it to him in a folder with a large empty ziploc bag to store the booklets when he finishes them.

Then we sit down together and figure out how many booklets there will be and when we want the lapbook to be completed.  (We decide this based on how many other things he is working on for school.)


Then we divide the number of booklets by the number of days he will work on it.  Usually he ends up doing 2 to 4 booklets per day.


He works on them
in any order he chooses.  Honestly I think he does all the easy ones first and then saved the harder ones for last.  (LOL)  Sometimes he will ask me if one booklet can count for the whole day if it is a more involved booklet.  (I usually let him since this is suppose to be fun!)  Once he has all the booklets completed he and I sit together and assemble it.  Then we show it off to his younger siblings who are always jealous that they can’t do lapbooks on their own yet!

(I also usually assign him at least one book to read on whatever topic the lapbook is on.  He finds the info in books, on the internet, and in the info packets that come with the lapbook.  He is usually always working on a lapbook.  When he finished one we decide what one he wants to do next. 

This Amelia Earhart lapbook was a fun one for me since I have always been fascinated with Amelia Earhart!  Having grown up in Kansas she was always a person I found interesting. (Since she was from Kansas too!) It was fun to see my son having fun learning about her too. I had fun reading through the lapbook and the books I assigned him too!

:^)

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Decorated Body Cast

July 17, 2008 at 10:58 am (Uncategorized)

Yesterday my daughter and I finally got around to decorating one of the pregnant body casts we had made when I was pregnant.  I had posted about it a few weeks ago and then a couple days ago we were at a friend’s house and we were talking about it.  That led to us looking up casts other people had made (Which led to a LOT of laughing when our teenage sons entered the room!  LOL)  and I finally got inspired to finish mine.  So…

Here is was undecorated.One of the main reasons I wanted to decorate it was because we had used 2 different packages of the plaster gauze material and you could tell the difference between the 2 packages once it dried.

And here it is completed!What we did was Mod Podge pearl colored tissue paper over the whole cast.  This not only fixed the color problem, but it made it more durable. Then we cut out tissue butterflies from a package of napkins I had bought at the grocery store.  We picked a butterfly to represent each member the family.  The 3 on the stomach are the 3 kids and the other 2 are mom and dad. 

These are the supplies we used. (It cost a total of $11.87 to decorate.)

 This is a close up of one of the 2 velum quotes I put on it.  It says "I still get butterflies."  I just loved that because I do still get butterflies thinking about the fact that God actually blessed me to have THREE wonderful children!  It also reminds me of that wonderful butterfly feeling you get when you first feel them moving inside

The little tiny butterfly next to the writing I chose to represent our first baby which we lost in the 5th month of pregnancy in 1991.

This is a close up of the other quote I chose. It says "Two people who belong together, make a world."I am very happy with how it turned out.  I know it isn’t the fanciest one out there, but it suits me fine.  Here are a few of the sites where I got inspiration.  We saw everything there from beautiful to hysterically funny!  (Especially when the teen boys entered the room!) LOL (BTW, most of these folks were less "modest" than me and didn’t cover with their arms.  So view at your own risk!)

http://www.rockabelly.co.uk/gallerycolourbelly.html
http://www.artisticbodycasting.com/gallery.htm
http://tinyurl.com/639zqk

By the way, if you want to make your own cast you can find the instructions here:

http://www.ehow.com/how_2362798_make-pregnant-belly-cast.html 

I did not buy a kit to make mine.  We just bought the plaster impregnated gauze at the art supply store. (It was about $5.00 a roll and we used 2 rolls for a full torso cast. The kits are $30.00 to $50.00. YIKES!)

Here is a site I found where you can get the gauze for $1.29 plus shipping! http://www.suppliescentral.net/plaster_bandages.html

Oh, and if you ever decide to put a cast on your child’s arm for affliction night at Awana with this, you may have to go to the E.R and get it removed.  LOL This is the real deal plaster gauze that they use in casts for broken limbs.

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