A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

A large family, homeschooling, adoption, special needs, whatever strikes my fancy, sort of blog.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Fun Little Photo Shoot

I recently had the girls dress up in their new silks (Chinese New Year starts this week!) so I could get some pictures for a book review.

Our couch pillows went straight from Christmas to Chinese New Year.  I found these cute pillow covers on Amazon (affiliate link).  

While they were dressed up, we took a few more pictures.

Sister love!

They're getting so big.  Hannah will be 11 this spring!

Report cards came out recently.  Both girls made honor roll at school.

They're both good about getting started on their homework right after snack time.

I decided I'd try to get a few pictures that might work for their valentine cards this year.

The hearts are actually nesting cookie cutters I bought to do a clay project a few years back.

We used them to make conversation heart magnets.

I miss all the little projects we used to do while we were homeschooling.

Maybe we'll find something fun to do when they're off for Presidents Day.

I had a lot of fun taking pictures of the girls all dressed up.  I haven't heard of a local FCC event, so they may not get another chance to wear their silks this year.

This was what I ended up with for their Valentines to pass out at school and to send off to out of town family members.  I look at these and think, "How did I get so lucky?"

This post may be linked up at these linky parties.

Top Mommy Blogs - Click To Vote! Thanks for clicking for us!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Finding My Niche as a Volunteer

I started volunteering in May, and my grand total for 2017 was 180 hours for 9 organizations.  I mentioned in a prior post that I hadn't really figured out what I loved to do yet.  Over the last 4 months, I've settled into a routine.

First, some 2017 stats:

BloodSource - 29.25 hours
Book Den - 21 hours
Library - 7.5 hours
Zoo - 20.5 hours
SPCA - 85.83 hours
Sac Tree - 8.25 (Although they sent me a letter, thanking me for my 11 hours of service, so I may not have written down a day.  Either that, or they're really generous with hours.)

I also put in a couple hours making giant poster board letters for the Christmas parade float for the younger kids' school.  Then there was the time I took Jack and Hannah to pack meals for FMSC.  And I don't count hours for these, but I donated 3 blankets to Project Linus in 2017.

Now that I've been at it a while, I spend one day a week at SPCA, helping out with the vaccine clinic.  This is like the DMV for dogs.  Wait over here, pay, then wait over there.  I like to get there a little early so I can still get some cat petting time in before hand.

I also spend a couple of days per month helping out with SPCA's feral cat spay and neuter clinic.  Because let's face it:  cats on drugs are hilarious. 

Our local Friends of the Library is part of Book First, a way to get books into the hands of underprivileged first graders.  I spent a day helping to assemble bags of books to take into the classrooms, and I've gotten to go to one of the distribution days so far.  I'm scheduled for a few more of those, which should be fun.

I've been spending one morning a week washing the toys at my library branch.  It's not my favorite thing to do, but it needs doing, and it gets me into the library once a week.  I usually bring home a bag of books for the kids after I'm done.

I spend one day a week at the Book Den, run by Friends of the Library.  I started out doing "first sort" and now I maintain the $1 fiction section in the store and help shelve fiction out in the warehouse.  My problem is that I find all these books I want to read!  I've been reading a ton lately, and my "to read" pile just keeps getting bigger and bigger.  I have donated a lot of books, though, so at least I'm getting some turnover in our personal library.

Volunteering has been a great experience for me.  It gets me out of the house.  I'm meeting new people and learning new things.  I feel like I'm "giving back" for all the years when I couldn't do anything because I had lots of little ones at home.  (Not that I wouldn't drop 75% of my commitments like a hot potato if the chance to have a little one in the house came up!) 

I may go "on leave" from a couple organizations during the summer so I can focus on the kids.  I'm really looking forward to them being out of school!  Although I've enjoyed the quiet house, I do miss them while they're gone. 

This post may be linked up at these linky parties.

Top Mommy Blogs - Click To Vote! Thanks for clicking for us!

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Faux Gingerbread Houses

We have an annual tradition at Christmas time.  I buy boxes of graham crackers. tubs of frosting, and scads of candy, and we have a crazy session of creating together.

I usually make a nativity scene.  (Those are gumdrop sheep, in case you're wondering.)

The kids and teens all have fun.

I usually manage to catch a picture of somebody eating something.  I think Hannah is licking frosting off her fingers.  I was actually taking the picture of Josiah's creation.

This was Paul's first time joining us.  He's usually working when we do it.

Eli's creation.

Jack's creation.

Katie's creation.

Paul's creation.  Yes.  It's a fire station.

Brianna's Army star.

Hannah's walls were falling down by the time I got a picture.

Once we're finished, they sit on the kitchen counter and slowly disappear over the next few days.

This post may be linked up at these linky parties.

Top Mommy Blogs - Click To Vote! Thanks for clicking for us!

Friday, February 2, 2018


I know, I know.  But better late than never, right?

Christmas morning.  After bringing down our gifts, but before guests showed up.  We use cloth gift bags to reduce waste. 

And all the stockings, right before we passed them out.  We don't do Santa, but the kids still like stockings.

We had Sam on FaceTime.  Zach, Heather and Brayden came, and my mom and Carl came, too.

This is the first time we've done Christmas Day at our house in a long time.

It was nice.  Love these guys.

Present time was a little crazy, of course.

I added some different shapes (and some wheels, not pictured) to our collection of Magnatiles.  They continue to be a favorite around here.

Most of the kids got books as one of their 3 gifts from us.

Sam did his shopping while he was here for Thanksgiving.  He got Zach & Heather a waffle maker.

I just want to stick a heart emoji here.  Josiah is not a big fan of people.  Which I totally get, because I'm not either.  (Maybe it's an Ox thing?? We're both Year of the Ox.)

Miss Adorable gave our family a gigantic box of chocolate, which was a wildly popular move.

All in all, it was a very nice holiday, although I missed Sam more than I expected to.

This post may be linked up at these linky parties.

Top Mommy Blogs - Click To Vote! Thanks for clicking for us!

Tuesday, January 30, 2018


Where did it go?  I must have blinked because here it is the end of January, and I never blogged about Christmas, let alone the rest of December. 

Eli and Miss Adorable went to San Francisco with her parents.  Her mom sent me pictures throughout the day, which I loved. 

They're so cute. 

I made the girls' leggings.  Hannah's were not shown in my recent sewing post. 

Jack made a pinata at school.  I literally sent this picture to Paul with the caption, "What could go wrong here?" 

There was, of course, the obligatory school Christmas program.  The school is big on programs. 

Lots of singing.  Lots of hand motions. 

Lots of halos. 

Hannah and Katie with their teachers.  And the battery tea lights they got to bring home. 

Yikes.  I need to be more careful where I set my phone down. 

Paul had a birthday.  Brianna made his cake. 

Brianna and Boy at Christmastime. 

I gave him a photo ornament with a picture from prom

Eli photobombing his adorable little sisters in their nativity smocked dresses. 

The whole family, waiting for me to pass out new jammies on Christmas Eve, after we drove around looking at light displays. 

And then after they all changed into their new pajamas, we had cocoa. 

Eli and Miss Adorable helping me pick up pizzas and cookie dough for dinner one night. 

One of Brianna's gifts was a camo backpack, which she filled to pack for winter camp. 

Our tree had a little "battle of the branches" going on.  Someone was quick to point out that the Army ornament was bigger than the Air Force and Marine Corps ornaments.  I'm very proud of my kids, regardless of which branch they serve in.  (As well as the ones who choose other paths, of course.)

This post may be linked up at these linky parties.

Top Mommy Blogs - Click To Vote! Thanks for clicking for us!