Saturday, July 18, 2015

Medieval Times

If you ever want to go to Medieval Times but don't want to pay the high prices, go on Presidents' Day.  The tickets were steeply discounted and when we arrived we discovered why.  The entire top tier was empty and the row below that was only partially full.  It probably would've been even emptier if they hadn't offered the deal.  I thought the price was well worth the experience.

We were in the green knight's cheering section.


While we waited for the show to start, we browsed the cool souvenirs.  For awhile we've been wanting to get the kids a small trinket of some sort.  Years ago one of Justin's church leaders told him that when his kids were growing up he gave them a trinket that they could use when they wanted to talk to mom or dad.  They would give their parent the trinket and the parent would just listen.  They wouldn't lecture or offer advice, unless the child asked for it.  Which, he said, they often times did end up wanting to hear mom's or dad's thoughts.  It was especially useful when their kids entered their teenage years.  The trinket represented a kind of "safe zone" for sometimes serious discussions.  We thought it sounded like a good idea but hadn't been able to find a trinket that was just right.  At Medieval Times we found little metal figurines.  Our family enjoys fantasy books and movies and the figurines also serve as a reminder of a fun family memory.  Each kid picked out their own.  I hope they get used they way we're hoping they do.  Anything to keep those teenagers talking!  



There were other cool things to look at while we waited for the show to start.


And props to sit on.


Then it was time for the show!  Those servers definitely earn their wages and tips.  They took orders, then dressed up as pages and marched in with the knights, then back to serving food.


There's a whole storyline with the king and his daughter and some evil dude from another kingdom.


This was the brave knight we cheered on.


He had to face some fierce opponents but the green knight came off conqueror! We may have laughed a couple times when we shouldn't have.  But the kids thought is was pretty funny when knights would take dramatic flying falls off their horses seconds before they were struck with the joust.


The dinner was delicious and they give you large portions. 
Of course, the kids thought eating with their fingers was the best part.


It was a great afternoon!  We're very blessed to be able to do these kinds of things with our kids and create memories together.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

More Hearts


We continued our Valentine's Day/Presidents' weekend of fun with a day at the beach.  The water was too chilly for Bryn and I so we stayed dry and built sand castles.



On Sunday the girls continued the heart-themed hairstyles for church.


Bryn went for the heart ponytail.  It was pretty easy to do and super cute.


For Kylie, we did the cute heart accents.  Very fun style.


There was no school or work Monday so we went for a short hike.


The dog was not a good hiker.  She has more endurance than the rest of us but she also has separation anxiety.  If she wasn't near her favorite person, the center of her universe, Justin, she would start freaking out and whining until he was back by her side.  Next time she can stay at home.


While we were on the hike, Brayden cooked a couple meals for us for his cooking merit badge for Scouts.  We had some tortillas with peanut butter and bananas.


And some warm pizza.  Scouts is not Brayden's favorite thing to do.  It's a little less painful when he can do part of the merit badge at home.  But there are still other things he'd rather be doing.


After our morning hike and snacks, we headed to Buena Park for the kids' first adventure at Medieval Times.  I think I will make that a separate post.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Valentine's Day 2015

No, your eyes are not deceiving you...I am blogging again...finally!  Thank you to family and friends who have encouraged me to get back into it.  I've missed having this outlet.  I must do a bit of backtracking first, sorry.  This will be a test of my memory skills...starting with Valentine's Day.

What's a holiday without sugar...in the form of Grandma's cookies.



We found Valentine's cards for their classes at the dollar store, along with tiny bags of generic pop rocks.  Our school has a "no sugar" policy but we choose to ignore it.  It's really not that fun to just get a card and I'm too cheap to attach a "healthy" snack or other item.


I'm not the only rule breaker.  Bryn and Zander brought home a pretty good haul.


We gave the kids the usual, books and candy.  There was a Tic Tac thief among us, or so the accusations went.  After listening to much whining and some crying, I solved the issue by confiscating the breath mints.  They found them two months later in a cupboard and nicely shared with each other.  At least they managed to eat the chocolate without arguing.  Probably because it was gone in a day.


For breakfast, I used a heart-shaped cookie cutter to cut out the center of a piece of bread.  Then I filled the center with an egg and cooked it.  Simple, but it was a hit.


 And, of course, the girls had to have Valentine's hairstyles.  They chose the Rope-Braided Heart.  Kylie wanted hers to end in a bun.

 

And Bryn went with the twisted ponytail because she claims buns are "very uncomfortable".



We busted out the china and had a fancy steak dinner that night.


You know you live with kids when your own steak is cut into bite-sized pieces.


Since Valentine's Day fell on President's weekend, this was just the beginning of our three days of fun.  (I promise it won't take me five months to post the rest of our weekend:)

Thursday, January 29, 2015

See Bryn Sew

Bryn has been interested in learning how to sew lately.  She also asked for a bunk bed for her dolls for Christmas.  There's not really room for a 2' bunk bed in her room so I thought sewing sleeping bags for her dolls would be a space-saving solution and satisfy her desire to sew at the same time.  We went to Jo-Anns and she picked out the fabric then helped with measuring, pinning and sewing straight lines.


Bryn wanted her dolls to be comfy so she picked out soft flannel material for the inside and coordinating polka-dot print for the outside so they would be "similar but not exactly the same."  We even made little pillows for the dolls.  I think they turned out really cute.  And when she doesn't want to use them, they fold up and store nicely in her closet. 



Recently, her doll lost a button off her coat so I taught Bryn how to sew it on.  She did a great job, no knots or tangles or anything.  I don't think I sewed a button on that well my first time.



Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Happy New Year

After Christmas, the fun just kept on coming.  Kim and her kids drove down from Sacramento to spend a few days with us.  We went ice skating again.  It was so cold.  My toes were numb.





It think Brayden, Bryn and Ella were too fast to catch a picture of them.  But we got them when they had to vacate the ice for the Zamboni. 


Baking something with Grandma Jake has become tradition and Bryn made sure to remind her to bring something when she came.  This year it was gingerbread men.  The little chefs learned how to roll the dough, use a cookie cutter and decorate their gingerbread men.  I admire Grandma's patience with her little helpers.





Enjoying their hard work...


New Years Eve we had the Courtneys over for games and food.  We didn't all make it to midnight.  Kim wasn't feeling well so she went to bed early.  At 10p.m. Zander came up to me and asked if it was time for them to go to bed.  He looked relieved when I said it was time.  I laid on the couch a little before midnight and dozed off but woke up when I heard everyone saying, "Happy New Year!"  I kissed Justin and went to bed.  Pretty soon I won't make it even close to midnight.  Maybe I'll have my own New Years party at noon.


It was a good week full of family and friends.


Monday, January 26, 2015

Christmas 2015

Santa ate the cookies and drank the milk we put out for him and left us a remote control car in return.  We've had fun taking it over to the construction site and jumping it off ledges and over rocks.  Justin and the boys built a ramp for it, too.


Bryn thought she was the funniest sister ever when she wrapped a play phone and car for Kylie, "Because you keep asking for a phone and you're going to want a car when you can drive!"


Besides being a jokester, Bryn is into fashion design these days.  We bought Crayola's Virtual Fashion Show for her.  She draws the clothes on the models, uploads them to the app and the models walk down the runway wearing what she designed.


Of course, she needed a new outfit and boots to wear to her fashion debut.


Zander is into science so we bought him a Wacky Science chemistry set.  He loves it. And I like that he can do the experiments by himself.  The instructions are simple and most everything you need is provided.  He's made things fizzle and change color...


...and turned other things into goop.


He also got a Perplexus maze ball to exercise his brain with.


And, of course, it wouldn't be Christmas at our house without Legos and a video game.  Lego Fusion is similar to Bryn's virtual fashion show.  You construct a building, take a picture of it and upload it to the app, arrange your city and you have to keep your citizens happy and the robbers and fires under control.  Pretty fun.


Since I feel like Brayden has enough Lego sets to last a lifetime, I tried to find something a little different.  I stumbled across Lego Crazyaction Contraptions.  Now he can build things with moving parts, like pulley systems and such.  He built a mixer one day and used it to stir his chocolate milk.


Bryn was excited to build her Lego Friends Olivia's House.


The task was a little overwhelming with all those pieces so Kylie helped her out.  (When you're Kylie's age and you get things like moccasins, a swim backpack and a wallet, you have to entertain yourself with other people's gifts.)



Reveling in the aftermath of Christmas...


My mom got us a dice game called Tenzi.  If you're looking for a quick dice game that all ages can play, this is a good one.


Justin got the "Fortune and Glory" board game which is fun but takes a couple hours to play.  Kylie got him the "Pandemic" board game that takes considerably less time.  We like to play it with Kylie and Brayden after the younger kids go to bed.

And that was our Christmas!  I know we're very blessed to be able to provide a good Christmas for our kids.  I love seeing the joy on their faces as they open their gifts.  And I really like having them home from school for two weeks.  Yes, it's nice to not have a schedule that we have to stick to but, more than that, I like being together as a family.  My kids are pretty fun people to hang out with.