Friday, May 22, 2015

Attitude of Gratitude

I know it is very important to be grateful for those things which we are given and things that are done for us. I've tried to instill this gratitude in my kids. Some days I think it is working. Pearl is very good at saying 'thank you' for things. I have other children pull me aside and express appreciation for meals and special planning. We aren't the best about thank you notes, (which the grandma's probably know) but we are trying to remember and express our gratitude for the many wonderful things we have.

Recently, the Bishopric was changed in our ward. After over five years of service, our Bishop and his counselors were released. It is such a hard job, with many thankless hours. Families sacrifice to allow husbands and fathers to be away. After being Relief Society president for two years, I know for certain that I would never want to be Bishop. He works hard. (Luckily I will never HAVE to be Bishop.)

For Family Home Evening one night, we decided to recognize the great men who had served and those who would be taking their place working diligently to keep the ward organized and afloat. I got the basic items, but the kids put their creativity to work making them special. I really like the finished messages.

Ivory's message was so creative: You are simply amazing. Lemme aid you as you work in the new presidency.

Daisy worked with Dad on her note: We're simply imprest fore all your hard doings. Thanke you frum the Caziers.

June used her good pun skills: You Simply did a good job. You worked Berry hard. :)

I liked Robyn's message: It's HARD to take on that calling. I can truly tell. You are simply extraordinary!!!

And for the man who used to be a counselor, but is now the Bishop: Thanks a bunch. We can Nutella how much we appreciate all you do.

It was good to take an evening to think about others and remember all the service that is given so selflessly around us. I hope my kids remember to have an attitude of gratitude.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Pen Pals Unite

June's class has been writing letters to pen pals in another A.L.L. class all year. To finish off the project, both classes went on a fieldtrip to the Museum of Natural Curiosity. I don't often volunteer for class trips because I still have Pearl at home, but I wanted to help out, so I made special arrangements. (Really, Pearl had a great day playing with kids her age instead of being stuck at home with boring mom.)

The bus picked up our group first, since we were farther away. Gotta get a bus selfie. (Hey back there, Zuzu!)

After picking up kids and reaching the museum, we were organized into groups. We had eleven girls, since one girl had two pen pals. I won't even try to name them all, since I only remember a little over half, but we sure had a fun group.

June's pen pal was Haley. They got along right away. We told the girls that they might as well spend time with their pen pal since this was probably the only time they would have together. Our group was great at paring off and mingling with the other school. I hear the boys didn't do as well. They tended to stay with their previous friends.

We were assigned areas to go to in order. We started in Motion Matters, but quickly transitioned over to the Gardens to spend some time there. The zipline thing was back.

And the kids always seem to love the spinners. (Gag...oh to be young again.)

Next up was Water Works. I felt bad for the other school. Their teacher sent them with a worksheet. They had to fill out stuff at each location. (Lame. Just let the kids play for once. Theses advanced kids do plenty already.)

June managed to put some water pipes together and soak herself and Haley in the process. They didn't dry out until lunch time.

In Kidopolis, we spent some time in the percussion room. That one is always a favorite.

Hannah and I wrote some stuff on the Marquee, but I couldn't even find June and Haley to show them. Hence the picture for proof.

There is a little library in the middle that I had NEVER seen. Somehow I had always gone around it. It was fun to check out something new. I asked these two to make the Mark Twain face. Pretty good.

They probably had the most fun in the Rainforest, but I didn't even bother trying to keep track of them in there. Finally, our group was about wrapped up. We don't have everyone here, but they are close by.

But we aren't done yet. Holly's (from June's class) dad works nearby at Mountainland Applied Technical College. He is a chef who teaches cooking classes there. He invited our whole group for lunch. That is a lot of people to move through the kitchen.

They let us each decorate our own personal pizza. Yum.

It was very well organized. There were many tables with toppings ready and they had all the kids wash hands and wear gloves. Little chefs in the making.

There were cookies and cupcakes to decorate as well. Good job Hannah and Josie. You have natural talent.

Maybe someday you will be making cakes like these. (There were a dozen on display in the cafeteria. I took a picture of my two favorite.)

One last selfie at lunch time. I'm so glad I got to go with June on her fieldtrip.

It was fun to meet Haley, visit the museum, eat pizza, and act like a kid all day. In fact, I got mistaken for a student at one point, but I'm pretty sure that is just because I am short. What a fun day!

Lovely Spring Wedding

I have a houseful of girls, in case you hadn't noticed. They like to play everything from fantasy and fairy games to regular school and house. And it seems all girls* like to plan a wedding. My kids were planning weddings back when there wasn't even a Pearl.

There was quite a lot of preparation in regards to the wedding. This time around I filmed it and only took pictures at the end. You'll have to trust me that it was a lovely ceremony with dancing at the end.

The flower girls did their job with perfection. (I'm still finding flowers around the house.)

The bride was stunning. (That is her flower wreath from the Medieval Faire.)

The groom was dubbed 'Tarzan' because of her/his long hair. Here is a good Tarzan impression.

The happy couple seemed very...happy.

Here is the whole entourage. You may notice one child missing. I'm not quite sure why she didn't participate. Let's just go with general orneriness that day.

However, it was a lovely wedding, and I always enjoy watching my kids imaginations at work.

*Actually, Miranda and I didn't play wedding at all growing up. In fact, I'm not even sure if our Barbies got married. Hussies.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Medieval Faire

The Medieval Faire is the culmination of a large unit on Medieval History. There were plenty of projects that led up to it. There was a long list of "quests" the kids could embark on to earn points toward their ultimate goal. June chose stained glass as one of her quests. I love her finished product.

She also wrote some limericks. They made me laugh.

There once was a very brave knight.
With a dragon he wanted to fight.
But he saw the grand beast,
And thought, “I’m a feast!”
And he ran from the battle in fright.

A damsel who wore a green gown
Tripped and she looked like a clown
“This isn’t right!
Where is my knight?
I’ve been looking for someone to crown!”

There once were two very rich kings.
On their fingers they wore golden rings.
Thieves stole them instead
Then the angry kings said,
“Fiends, give us back all of our things!”

In the tournament a horse did prance
Atop him sat a knight with a lance
The horse neighed, “It’s dire
Someone call for his squire!
He can’t move in his iron pants.”

For the Medieval Faire, the kids were allowed to choose what type of person they wanted to be. There was royalty, or entertainment, such as the jesters, but the majority of the kids chose merchants so they could make a product and sell it at the faire. June and Hannah took on a very ambitious project. They decided to be Stitchers. This involved creating crosstitch designs to be sold on the upcoming day. They decided to start with the alphabet, assuming people would like initials. They stitched their hearts out for weeks. I often saw them around the house stitching and I know many a recess was passed with needle and thread in hand.

Here is the alphabet filling up quickly.

Then the day of the Faire arrived with much anticipation. I spent the whole day with June taking pictures and wandering around. I'm mostly sad to think that the Medieval Faire has gone on every year, and I have never attended. It was so fun. The king and queen welcome you as you enter.

I was there as the original procession came out. Each merchant or guild marched across the grounds proudly displaying their sign. Recognize these two?

There were some very fancy, creative signs. I stopped Claire because the Apothecary was one of my favorites.

There was so much to see at the Faire. Here are some of the potions and secret ingredients you could find at the Apothecary.

Some types of products had multiple tables. There were two Black Smiths. Number one:

And number two:

It was interesting because we ended up buying swords from both. The second Black Smith had a better location and finer looking weapons, but quality and workmanship has to be handed to the first Black Smith. Their swords held up much better in battle.

There were a couple bakeries with delicious pastries and scrumptious treats. We visited The Blonde Bakery several times.

The Gem Shoppe had fun treats such as Ring Pops, Candy Necklaces, and Pop Rocks.

The Head Wreaths went quickly. I spent some of my coins there. (By the way, there was a coin queen--Mrs. Billings-- who gave out free coins at the entrance to visitors so that everyone could enjoy the faire.)

Besides all the shops, you could find royalty on the premises, along with knights, a priest, tinkers, and jesters.

The minstrel was a cute girl who played the harp.

There was even an intermission of sorts where maidens danced to the traditional dances of Yore.

Not pictured, but on sight were archers, magicians, fortune tellers, and the stocks. (Oddly, none of my kids wanted pictures in there.) 

But I'm sure you are just dying to know more about the Quick Stitchs. What they lacked in display, they made up for in product. After finishing the alphabet, they went on to make many more cute designs that they sold. Because the different grades came out to the Medieval Faire at intervals, they were only allowed to sell a third of their product at a time in order to save some for future groups.

But they made a sign displaying all the designs and they took orders for a price.

Having walked around the faire, I was very impressed with June and Hannah. Their product took intense time and skill. They didn't just buy something and sell it, although that was perfectly acceptable. I believe June will be using her many hours to fulfill a value project in YWs.

I think Hannah's skills have greatly improved. I'm not sure how much stitching she had done before, but she is quite efficient now.

Their booth was ALWAYS busy. People were buying designs or learning to stitch themselves. The girls had little squares for people to practice on and keep.

I had Pearl with me, naturally, but somewhere along the way I decided the Faire was so cool that all my other kids needed to come. So I went and picked them all up and told them they had a half hour to explore and buy. Daisy (with Pearl's sword) is showing her warrior face.

When we bought swords at the other (inferior) black smith, the girls were showed a trick for storing their weapons to keep their hands free. I believe this is the Medieval Conceal and Carry method.

I wish I could have found Robyn with her lovely flowered head wreath, but we weren't in the same area. Eventually, I took them back to school and came back to help the stitchers wrap up. They sold out of almost everything. ALL their designs were gone and I believe they had four letters left over. On top of that, they had 30 orders from people wanting future designs. The girls were so proud to count their money and realize they had made 200 coins!

I slowed down taking pictures after the Faire ended. The kids went on to partake in an epic feast. (My assignment was scones and wassail) There was so much food; enough that I was able to take leftovers to Tyler at work afterward. (Who doesn't like impromptu scones and wassail?) It was such a fantastic day and I think everyone was satisfied with their efforts. Pearl was very patient to tag along for the whole thing and was rewarded by learning to do the monkey bars. She was so proud of herself. (Me too!)

And so ended the Medieval Faire. At least for everyone else. I know two girls that still have 30 orders to fill. Luckily, I have been happy to help with some of the stitching, since June and Hannah still have plenty of school projects to the end. There were some interesting orders such as a rainbow snowflake and mint chocolate chip ice cream. I'm doing my best. I'm pretty sure between the three of us, we will get all the orders filled by the deadline.

I am super proud of the girls and all their hard work. They really tackled the Faire head on. I believe if they had lived during the medieval era, they could be commended for their bravery and industry. Luckily, they still have those abilities in the modern days and no chamber pots in sight. Huzzah!