Category Archives: family

Atlanta Staycation

atlanta stay

**This post is just my opinions about what our family has done. I was not given anything in exchange for this post.**

I know a StayCation is actually supposed to be when you stay HOME and vacation around. However… because I grew up in Atlanta and we stayed for FREE at my parents’ house, I considered what we did last week to, in fact, be a staycation.

Normally when we come to Atlanta, we have an agenda… birthday parties with cousins, holidays, VBS, etc. and we don’t really have time to get out and explore other than the local parks.

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We decided to pick some attractions in Atlanta to visit. We tried to keep it fairly cheap. All in all, we were able to StayCation in Atlanta and visit three different attractions for less than $300.

Our family is VERY active. The kids cannot sit still for very long and do not have long attention spans (they are 9, 7, 4, and 2). We looked for outdoors, family friendly and stroller friendly activities. Being able to bring in outside food and drinks were also a must.

First, we went to Zoo Atlanta. When we did live in Atlanta, we had a membership to the zoo. It has definitely been one of our favorite places to visit. The kids really enjoyed feeding the parakeets and seeing the pandas! The only downside was that it was SUPER crowded. I expected spring break traffic, but I did not expect the school field trips we ran into. When we left, I counted at least 30 buses in the parking lot. It was a zoo (pun intended) with all those kids running around! The Altanta Zoo can get pricey, but because we have a membership to our local zoo, we were able to get in for half price.

Next Up was the Chatahoochee Nature Center. This little gem is just down the road from where we used to live, but somehow we never actually made it over to check it out. The cost is reasonable. Our family of six got in for under $40. The Nature Center offers an indoor aquarium that focuses on how rivers work and how we can have a positive or negative impact on them. We explored the nature trails. We were able to take our stroller on the trails. It was a nice little hike. Other highlights were the predatory bird aviary, the bald eagle aviary, the butterfly garden, the beaver and the river boardwalk. This was a great place to get outside and run around. Plan to bring a picnic and stay for a while!

Our final big trip for the family was Stone Mountain. We opted to go all out and get the adventure pass plus meal deal. This got us all into all the attractions as well as a meal and unlimited refills on all the drinks. We had a blast riding the sky cab to the top of Stone Mountain and exploring. The kids took off running as soon as we got to the top. We then headed over to the attractions. Our adventure pass gave us access to mini golf, the sky hike ropes course, the great barn indoor play area, the geyser splash pad, train ride and more.

I think our favorite part of the day was the Sky Hike area. The big kids and super dad braved the high ropes course. Their harnesses were strapped on and they headed out on the above ground obstacle course. While they were playing above ground, the littles and I headed to the low ropes course. Little Sis, who is four, rocked the course and conquered the zip line with no fear! Big Brother also got to rock climb.

What does your family like to do to get away, or staycation?

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Filed under family, fieldtrip, vacation

Work Out Wednesday- Family Obstacle Course

workout

My kids are SUPER active. I know most kids are… but mine are like REALLY, REALLY wiggly! I had a sweet friend ask, ever so cautiously, “do you think (your son) might have a touch of ADHD?” I just laughed and thought, “a touch?!?!… the kid’s drowning in it!”

We are generally active people. I mean, we have our share of screen time, quiet time, reading time, etc. But, I hear myself, more often than not saying things like “Try not to fall out of the chair” and “If you’re going to do laps, please do them outside and not around the kitchen table” and “Can you please stop climbing up the door, you might fall on your sister.”

Big Brother (and consequently, the Sisters) newest obsession is the show, American Ninja Warrior… it is an extreme obstacle course. Big Brother started watching this summer and has decided that he will be on this show when he is older. He has started his training. I find him spider crawling up the door, repelling off the porch, shimmying up flag poles and all kinds of other crazy things:

Hand Stand

Recently, we were visiting family. Big Brother was bored and antsy so I suggested that I make up an obstacle course for him to do… you know… for his ninja training. It included running up and down stairs, push ups, crab walks, bear crawls, etc. He was so excited. The girls and the cousins got in on the fun. It was all fun and games for me until Super Dad suggested that I do the course as well. I had made it up to wear out Big Brother… I was huffing and puffing through it!

The next week, we were home and playing outside… the kids wanted another obstacle course. Super Dad made it up this time. It included flying on the swing like superman, climbing over the picnic table, running around the house, throwing a giant log. The kids LOVED it!!!

Obstacl Course

My point is… get kids involved in exercise… make it fun. Whether you have super active kids that need to get their wiggles out or kids who are reluctant to play, exercise is a good thing! Look for creative ways to get them up and moving. We also love to play follow the leader around the front yard… talk about a workout!

What do you do to get your kids up and moving?

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Filed under exercise, family, workout wednesday

Prayer Guide for Family and Self- Printables

Do you remember these posts about praying for your FAMILY and praying for YOURSELF? Well… I made some handy little printables to go along with them. Enjoy!

Husband Prayer (click here for Printable)

Prayer for Children (click here for printable)

Prayer for the Married Woman (click here for printable)

Prayer for the Single Woman (click here for printable)

I hope you find these resources helpful!

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Pinterest Made Me Do It- Meal Planning

I have really been utilizing Pinterest in my meal planning. I love finding new recipes and trying them out on my family. Planning and cooking meals makes me feel so domestic and accomplished. Don’t get me wrong… my husband likes to cook and often takes care of the meals… or finishes what I start.. and I don’t complain.

I’ve been trying out several new meals lately, including:

Taco Stuffed Shells

Spinach and Artichoke Baked Pasta

Cilantro Lime Chicken

I tend to try a new recipe out and then move on to other new things. I forget to have a rotation of meals. My husband told me the other day that I’ve been trying a lot of new things… and that makes him nervous… we are such creatures of habit.

I began looking for a way to organize meal planning so that I have a list of the meals the family likes easily accessible.

Well… I found THIS SUPER CUTE MEAL PLANNER while searching Pinterest. Now… I did not make it all professional and cute looking like she did. I modified my board to use the materials I had on hand and to easily go on my refrigerator. Check her’s out and then come back and check out mine.

I added a couple of extra pockets to mine. I added a “tried it” pocket… because sometimes I make meals that my husband and/ or I like, but not the kids. They are meals I don’t want to discard, but also won’t be made that often. I also added a crock pot pocket… because I just love my crock pot.

To make my version of this meal planner, I used my scrapbooking software to make the letters for the days of the week and the pockets (you can just use regular scrapbook paper, stickers, etc). I printed out some decorative paper for the background and glued it onto some solid card stock. I covered the background, letters and pockets with contact paper and then hot glued the pieces together. I stuck the whole thing to the fridge with clear packaging tape.. we’ll see how long it lasts.

Feel free to follow me on Pinterest!

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Filed under crock pot, family, meal time, organizing, pinterest

Six Flags: Read to Succeed

Attention kids grades K- 6:

Your reading could earn you tickets to SIX FLAGS!!!

This is from the Read to Succeed website:

Read to Succeed is a free educational program sponsored by Six Flags to inspire kids in grades K through 6 to engage in recreational reading.

Students who complete six hours of recreational, non-school-related reading are eligible to earn a free admission ticket to a participating Six Flags theme park.   Teachers who have 10 or more students in their class participate and complete the program are also eligible to earn a free ticket.

Schools must be within a 250-mile radius of a participating Six Flags theme park in order to participate.   http://readtosucceed.discoveryeducation.com/about.cfm

The deadline to submit all student reading hours is March 1, 2012 at 5pm Eastern Standard Time.
**

They have made some changes from the program last year, including changes for homeschool.  You can read about the changes and register your homeschool at http://readtosucceed.discoveryeducation.com/homeschool.cfm

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Filed under books, family, fieldtrip, free, homeschool, reading

A Prayer Guide for Family

A few years back, I was blessed to be part of a thriving church that was not lacking in Bible studies for women. I picked up this prayer guide at one of the studies. I cannot claim it. A godly lady named Lisa put it together. I think it’s just wonderful though and wanted to share it with you.

First.. 31 Things to Pray for Your Children (31… one for everyday of the month)

1. they will be morally pure

2. they will obey and respect authority

3. they will see the need for a Savior at a young age

4. they will be protected from the schemes of Satan

5. they will love and know Your word

6. You will give them excellent health

7. they will have wisdom of Solomon and also apply it

8. they will have and be a special friend

9. they will not be bossy as an older child or passive as a younger child

10. their “yes” will be “yes” and their “no” will be “no”

11. they will one day be equally yoked with a Godly man or woman

12. they will be humble, desiring for You to have the glory

13. their life would be used to promote God’s kingdom

14. they will understand grace and not love by the law

15. that my girls will have a gentle and quiet spirit and that my boys will one day be the spiritual leader of his family

16. they will hunger and thirst for Your righteousness

17. they will identify with their femaleness and their maleness

18. they will hate evil and avoid it and get caught when they disobey

19. they will have a strong work ethic

20. they will be critical thinkers

21. they will be an encourager of others

22. they will fulfill the meaning of their name

23. they will be salt and light

24. they will have Your self image

25. that my child will know he or she is deeply loved

26. that my child will know they cannot have their own way

27. they will love you Lord

28. they will love others as You love

29. they will be honest with You, themselves and others

30. they will be a faithful steward of all the treasures and talents you entrust to them

31. they will live with eternal perspective

And… because I assume that most of the people who read this blog are women… here is a guide to pray for your husbands. From the same lady who put together the above list.. and again… 31 things…

1. above reproach

2. husband of one wife

3. temperate

4. prudent

5. respectable- worthy of respect

6. hospitable

7. able to teach

8. not pugnacious

9. gentle

10. uncontentious

11. free from the love of money

12. manage his own household well

13. good reputation- as he coaches outside of the church, etc.

14. man of dignity

15. holding to the mystery of faith

16. not double tongued

17. godliness with contentment would find great gain

18. righteous without sin

19. love the Lord with all his heart, mind and strength

20. faithful servant

21. love, stir in him superior passions for You

22. perseverance

23. to work as an evangelist

24. make a covenant with his eyes

25. man of passion

26. protected from the schemes of Satan

27. believe what is true

28. mentor

29. watch over heart

30. honor the Lord from the first fruit

31. love the Word and meditate on it

I am going to work on a 31 things to pray for ourselves list to be posted soon. Let me know if this guide is helpful to you. It’s a great resource… I just need to put it into practice!

Hip Homeschool Hop Button**********************************************************************

Updated 10/ 13/ 2011

Please also check out the  Prayer Guide for Self (women- single, married, moms)

Printable Versions of these prayer guides are now available… HERE.

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Filed under family, prayer, proverbs

Sew Happy (23)

We headed up to see my family for the Easter weekend. It just so happens that both of my sister in laws like to sew. I have recently discovered that sewing machines are not evil and can actually be quite handy. I made a quilt a few years ago, using my grandmother’s machine from the 1940s… and promptly broke said machine. I refused to try again. My mother kept asking if I’d like to have the aforementioned machine. I knew it was broken and told her “no thank you.” But… finally… for some crazy reason, I decided I wanted to learn to sew. I fessed up about the machine and my gracious mom had it fixed for me and serviced. So… after Christmas, the 1940s machine and I got to know each other. A couple of months later, a dear and generous friend gave me her sewing machine that had been sitting, unopened in the storage room for a couple of years. She figured it should go somewhere where it would be used.

Okay… back to the point. I brought the sewing machine with me this weekend. Both of my sis in law’s were here for the day to have a family Easter celebration. While the kids were napping, we turned the dining room into a sewing studio and had a blast making  A Simple Skirt. My sis in law over at Sugar Plum Delights came across this tutorial one day and posted it on her blog. We decided to give it a try and make our girls matching skirts. They are only three months apart and love each other dearly. They were so excited to put on their skirts after nap time! My other sis made one for her little girl too….but I didn’t get any pictures of that one.

I was so excited about the way the skirts turned out. And seriously… it was so simple. We got everything done while the kids were resting. I purposely made Little Sis’s skirt longer than the tutorial because 1) she’s tall and skinny… all her skirts end up being rather short and 2) I have a thing for modesty. I also made the girls matching headbands! We all felt quite accomplished in our skills.

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Filed under crafts, family, sewing

Free Family Fun (4)

I had a lady at the park ask me once what I do all day at home with the kids. She was a working mom who was considering staying home with her two children, but was afraid she wouldn’t know what to do with them. I think it took me about two, maybe even three years to really get the hang of staying at home with the little monkeys. It can be really overwhelming to think about “entertaining” little people all day long in addition to taking care of the home and balancing various interests and activities.

I told this mom that one thing I definitely do is familiarize myself with the city…find the family friendly parks, get a schedule of story time at the library or bookstore, and check out what other free activities are offered. We are blessed to live about 20 minutes away from a great botanical garden. They offer free admission the first Monday of every month. It is big, outdoors and free. The kids love it because we always see lots of pretty flowers and butterflies around. I love it because it’s free AND… big, open space for the kids to run around and go crazy in. Even though it is crowded with other people taking advantage of the free-ness, it is not overwhelmingly crowded and I do not feel like I have to corral the kids or tell them to be quiet. They are free to explore, observe and imagine.

So many options exist for families to take advantage of … all you have to do is a little digging to find out what they are.

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Filed under family, fieldtrip, flowers, homeschool

Preparing for Easter (3)

Easter is a time of year that often just comes and goes. The significance of Christ’s death and resurrection is often overlooked as just another time of year to go to church, get a new dress, eat jelly beans, hunt for eggs, etc.

I have been very intentional with my kids to make sure Christ is the center of our focus at Christmas. You may remember that this past year, we had a Jesse tree for the first time. This helped us prepare for the entire month of December to celebrate Christ’s birth.

I realize that I am not nearly as intentional with the kids when it comes to Easter. We don’t really discuss the meaning of the day. We head to my parents’ house for the weekend, eat at a nice country club (very hoity toity), hunt for eggs… and that’s about it. I have been burdened this year to pay more attention to why we celebrate Easter. I want to instill in my children awe and wonder over what Christ did for us through his death on the cross. Little Sis has been especially interested in this part of Christ’s life lately. At lunch today she informed us that God only died once… but he never will again. She has been reminding me a lot lately that Jesus died on the cross for our sins.

Maybe we don’t spend so much time talking about Easter, Christ’s death and resurrection because it is so abstract. How do you explain death to kids? How, after explaining death, do you then explain the resurrection? I mean… it’s much more fun to act out the nativity than the crucifixion. But the reality is… without the crucifixion, there would be no hope, no forgiveness, no life.

I am still trying to figure out what types of activities, books, family traditions we will be building on this year for Easter. I’d love to hear how you and your family celebrate. I’ll keep you posted on the happenings around here.

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Family Walks- Teachable Moments (2)

I have to give a BIG thumbs up to my husband for how he can turn a family walk into an adventure. I am always so busy making sure everyone is keeping up, staying on the sidewalk, listening to me, slowing down…

But the Monkey Dad… he knows what to do. He took the kids out for a walk a few weeks ago and they came back talking about how they had just been in a dinosaur forest. They talked about how they had seen sauropods and pteranadons and raptors. They were so excited. Now, every time they go for a walk, they want to pretend they are in a dino forest. Sometimes they are the dinos. Sometimes they are just on the look out for some.

Tonight, we headed over to the nature trail near our house. This area already lends to great adventures. We always see tracks of various animals. We know there are wild pigs living near by and deer, hawks, turtles, etc. As soon as we hit the trail, my husband made it an adventure. He would stop us every now and then and point at one of the kids, calling them some crazy kind of animal. They would, then, take their cue and start acting silly. We pretended that the kids were animals in the zoo and we were visiting the exhibit.

I don’t think you have to always be “on” as a home educator. But I do think that it is important to look for teachable moments… whether it be an opportunity to reinforce some academic skill, some spiritual lesson or just a bit of imaginary fun.

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