We had a few bithdays in the past couple of weeks. I always make the kids birthday cakes. We usually pick a theme and then we try to come up with something creative to do with them. Evan wanted a camo/hunting cake and Ashley wanted a mermaid. I think they turned out fine. We took some girls to the waterslides and Steven took some boys fishing, then we had the family over for cake and ice cream. It was fun!
We have had people in the past ask us what do we do for babysitters. Until this year we have not lived in the same town as relatives in seven years. For the most part, we haven't gotten babysitters unless it was absolutely necessary. We rarely went out by ourselves just for the fun of it. If we felt like we needed some alone time, we would put the kids to bed and turn off the TV and just talk or fix some decaf coffee and sit outside on our porch. When our kids started getting older, instead of going to bed, they had to go to their rooms with a book and read for a while until we told them "lights out"! I usually try to get up with my husband, even though I have not been doing that this week, so that we can get a moment together before he goes to work.
When we would have the rare occasion that we needed a babysitter for a function for my husband's work, we would usually hire two teenagers and pay them well. We could usually find someone from church who was wanting to make some extra money. This usually worked out well. We figured it would take two teenagers to watch four small children.
Now our oldest is 13 and our youngest is 7. We usually leave them at the house with instructions. The oldest is in charge, but everyone is in charge of their own behavior. I will usually pay Ashley a little bit if we go out, especially if the house is in good order when we get home. We do have family that they can stay with, but we rarely use them. Most of the time the kids want to come with us and do whatever we are doing. They don't get to see their father alot during some weeks because he has to travel and we get busy in the evenings, so if they get a chance to spend the evening with him, even if it is to go shopping, then they do. We also usually take vacations and short trips as a family. I figure that we will have plenty of time to travel alone when they are grown and I want the kids to experience vacations with us. The one time that we went off by ourselves for the weekend I was saying " Ashley would love this, Evan would love this" then I realized I would have enjoyed it more if I had brought them.
When I run errands when everyone is home I ask "who wants to go?" If they all want to go then I take them all. If Ashley want to go I take them all because she is the babysitter. If Ashley wants to stay Evan will usually stay because he hates to shop like most men.
These are supposed to have a filtration system that is built in and can filter out almost anything harmful in your drinking water, even E-coli and pathogens. Steven and Ashley are going to El Salvador on a mission trip in December and I thought these would been nice to take to insure that they are drinking good, safe water. The mission compound that they will be staying in is supposed to have good water, but I would feel better about the whole trip if they had another layer of defence.
If you are interested go on over and enter her contest!
Last week the girls and I went to a church camp and this week the girls are at a different church camp. The girls love these camps, and because they are through the church, they are reasonable in cost. Evan is not old enough to go to camp yet, so last week he hung with my mom and this week he and I are hanging out. This is a great way to have frugal summer fun and serve the Lord at the same time. We try to participate in every church activity that our church does. We try to do these first, before we do other activites because we think that this is important and we want to support our local church. By the way, this is a picture of Emma climbing a 40 foot rock wall.
The other evening Steven and some of the kids went and picked squash in the garden. It was way too much for us to eat, so the kids helped me put some in the freezer. All four kids chopped while I blanched it and put it into freezer bags.
After it has been blanched and frozen, it is not good for much else than squash casserole, but that is how everyone likes it. I got 10 bags for the freezer and one for dinner that night.
I figure the more that I put up this summer, the less I have to buy in the winter!
I hate to admit it, but gardening is not my thing, I like watching the produce come in, but I hate weeding and watering and any other work in 100 degree heat. This year, since we have moved closer to my in-laws and my brother-in-law, Steven is doing a garden with his brother and father. They take turns working in the garden and share the produce. It works out well, especially since I am the only one who will put up any of the produce. I have already canned seven quarts of beans and frozen four bags of squash. I hope to do enough that I don't have to buy any this winter. I am also hoping I get tomatoes and peppers so that I can make salsa and can it. We will see how it turns out.
Monday night I was awakened to one of my least favorite noises. Yes, you seasoned moms guessed it. It was the sound of "Mom, I just threw up!". It is the thing no one wants to hear in the middle of the night. You also start thinking about how long it will take for the others to come down with it and all of your plans for the week are out the window. So yesterday I had two puny, puking kids and two well kids. The well kids tried to keep their distance and we kept cleaning and Lysoling behind the sick ones. We will see if it helped. The sick ones seem to feel better today so hopefully we are on the mend. I was so glad that I stocked up on Gatorade when it was on sale and I had coupons. I always try to keep a couple of two liters of sprite and some Gatorade on hand just in case there is a need. No one wants to take sick kids to the store or go to the store yourself when you are sick. I did go and pick up another pack of Gatorade last night at wal-mart just in case. Hopefully we will be in recovery mode today with no one else getting it.