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Weekly Photo Challenge: Extra, Extra (An Extra-Special Weekend)

16 Jun

After a super-busy week last week, the kids and I spent Friday and Saturday in Mt. Airy, visiting with my dad for an early Father’s Day celebration (And giving Jason a little present-a couple of days with nothing to think about but playing golf!)

We had a great time seeing everyone, especially my step-sister Brie and her friends who were visiting for the week. We don’t get to see them very often.

Charlie and his cousin, Kellan, are “best buds.”  They love playing together and just run to each other and hug when they get to see each other.  Charlie now wants to move to Papa’s house so he can play with Kellan all of the time!

The kids rode up and down Daddy's driveway a million times-they loved walking around the garden and through the vineyard.

The kids rode up and down Daddy’s driveway a million times-they loved walking around the garden and through the vineyard.

 

Charlie and Kellan on their scooters.  They were so funny pretending to wreck and help each other up!

Charlie and Kellan on their scooters. They were so funny pretending to wreck and help each other up!

 

We went up on Pilot Mountain on Saturday and had a picnic and walked around a little.  This was extra special to us because we used to go up there all of the time when I was growing up, but I haven’t been in probably ten years.  We would take lunch up there and walk around the knob.  I haven’t taken the kids up there yet because I have honestly been too scared that they would fall off the mountain, but they are big enough now to have a little fear in them!

We had a great time.  The only thing missing, according to my sisters, was a bucket of KFC fried chicken!

Here are some pictures from our day:

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And can’t forget a picture of this wonderful daddy!

Spending some cuddle time with his Baby Girl on Father's Day.

Spending some cuddle time with his Baby Girl on Father’s Day.

 

Grilling out some burgers in his new "Daddy set. 2009 " shirt.

Grilling out some burgers in his new “Daddy since 2009” shirt.

 

Jason moved on to a new stage in his life-the kids are now picking out their presents for him!  Don’t worry, he didn’t get  a tacky tie-He got an iron man toothbrush from Charlie and a cow mug from Maddie.

Add in a couple of cookouts to celebrate Kitten and Ed, and we had a busy but good Father’s Day weekend.  I hope you did, too!

 

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/extra-extra/

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Starting Summer

21 May

Even though summer isn’t officially underway yet, it has definitely begun at the Watkins’ house!  We have had some cool days this spring, but it got into the high 80’s today, so we had to bring out the new slip-n-slide that Charlie and Maddie’s Gramma brought them yesterday.

I went down a few times as well, but no pictures of that, praise the Lord!

Psalm 118:24 – “This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

Weekly Photo Challenge: Letters

29 Apr

The kids and I are sitting around waiting on some horrible weather to reach us, so we decided to get out our big bags of letters.  I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to snap some pictures for this week’s photo challenge: Letters.

We have a lot of letters to play around with, thanks to my cousin who is a kindergarten teacher!

We have a lot of letters to play around with, thanks to my cousin who is a kindergarten teacher!

 

Maddie loves digging through the letters with her feet, kind of like sand.

Maddie loves digging through the letters with her feet, kind of like sand.

 

The Madster!

The Madster!

 

And Charlie, contemplating.....

And Charlie, contemplating…..

 

....doing this to his name!

….doing this to his name!

 

Charlie got a big kick out of this word...

Charlie got a big kick out of this word…

 

...but he really like this one!

…but he really cracked up over this one!

 

It's Letter Face!

It’s Letter Face!

 

Maddie's O's.

Maddie’s O’s.

 

Nothing like a mountain of letters to pass the time!

 

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/letters/

Mod Podge Easter Eggs

9 Apr

If you remember, last year the kids and I dyed Easter eggs the old-fashioned way, and I promised myself that this year we would try something new.  Today, we made these gorgeous Easter eggs using Mod Podge and scraps of magazine paper.

All you need are some old magazines, scissors, sponges or paint brushes, Mod Podge, and some eggs.  I had these white plastic eggs, but you could use any plastic eggs or even real eggs.

All you need are some old magazines, scissors, sponges or paint brushes, Mod Podge, and some eggs. I had these white plastic eggs, but you could use any plastic eggs or even real eggs.

 

Cut colorful paper out of your magazine into small squares and triangles, then "paint" the paper scraps onto the eggs with the Mod Podge.

Cut colorful paper out of your magazine into small squares and triangles, then “paint” the paper scraps onto the eggs with the Mod Podge.

 

Mod Podge Easter Eggs3

 

Some of our finished eggs.

Some of our finished eggs.

 

I love how they turned out.  The Mod Podge makes them shiny.  I would advise that you use plastic eggs so you can save them to use for decorations next year.

I love how they turned out. The Mod Podge makes them shiny. I would advise that you use plastic eggs so you can save them to use for decorations next year.

 

Even though we had a great time making these and I think they are just beautiful, I do think we will also spend a morning dying eggs.  The kids love it, and it’s just a tradition that I want to keep alive!

Happy International Children’s Book Day!

2 Apr

International Children's Book Day

In case you didn’t know, today is International Children’s Book Day.  In celebration of this totally random day, I have a couple of book recommendations for you.  These are books that my kids love, and I actually love reading these books to them, which is a good thing since I have to read them over and over and over…….

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Maddie got Part-Time Princess by Deborah Underwood for her birthday this year, and it is one of my favorite books of all-time.  It is about a little girl who becomes a princess in her dreams, but not an ordinary princess-a princess who fights fires started by fire-breathing dragons then takes the dragons to tea to see why they are upset.  She saves her kingdom from many disasters throughout the book, while also enjoying bubble baths and pink cake.  Her mother also appears in her dreams as a queen from a faraway land, which I think is really cool.

I also love all of the Buzz Boy and Fly Guy books, written by Tedd Arnold.

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These were Charlie’s first series of books, which he started collecting last year.  He doesn’t have all of them yet, but he’s not far off!  The Buzz Boy books are about a boy and his pet fly and their crazy adventures.  They are really short and fun and have taught Charlie a lot of sounds, especially ZZZZZZZZZZ….

So how are you going to celebrate International Children’s Book day? I would love to hear about your favorite children’s books!

31 Days Unplugged – Day 15 – Unstructured Time

14 Mar

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A big part of the 31 Days Unplugged challenge has, for me, been about time management.  I have found that when I am unplugged, I have  a lot of time to do other things.  How do I spend that time for the glory of God and the good of my family? I have grown a lot this month in that area, and found that several new and exciting opportunities have arisen due to my new focus.  I hope that is true for you, too!

Recently, my husband and I had to decide whether or not to sign Charlie up to play T-Ball this Spring.  I really wanted him to start playing, but Jason wasn’t so sure.  I thought it would be good for Charlie to meet some more kids his own age and start getting some baseball skills.  Jason thought he was too young and unfocused, and he also knew that we would have to sacrifice a lot of our free time (which we really value) to take Charlie to practice and games.

In the end, we decided to wait a while longer to begin playing organized sports, and even though I was disappointed at the time, I am now relieved that we don’t have to spend our Saturdays this spring at the ballpark, especially after talking with some friends who are stressing out, trying to figure out how to add ball practice into their already busy schedules.

Having too little unstructured time is a problem for a lot of people, whether you have children or not.  We run from one activity to another, spending hours a day in our vehicles (with the kids watching movies or playing on the phone).  We spend our Saturdays rushing from one game to another, then from birthday party to birthday party.  What are we trying to accomplish, exactly?

According to the National Wildlife Federation, today’s children in America spend less than 30 minutes a day in unstructured play and 7 hours or more in front of some sort of electronic device!  That just sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? 

No wonder so many of our children are obese, diagnosed with ADHD and depression, and simply stressed-out!

Today’s post is an extension of yesterday’s challenge to cut down on your family’s time in front of the TV.

Challenge #12 – This weekend, structure at least one hour a day of unstructured time into your schedule. (That sounds ironic, doesn’t it?) In my opinion, that isn’t enough unstructured time, but that’s a good start.  Spend this time doing WHATEVER you want to do, and let your kids do WHATEVER they want to do (except watch TV, of course:)).  

I am a big believer in unstructured time, and a large portion of our days are spent with the kids simply playing.  I have always believed strongly that that is how kids learn and make memories, not by being shuttled from one activity to the next.  We’ve got to give ourselves and our families time to just be.

Spreading weeds

Weekly Photo Challenge: Perspective (The Science Museum)

10 Mar

The kids and I had a really cool morning at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science with Jill and Addison this morning.  They had a neat preschool program where the kids got to learn about some different animals and participate in different sensory activities.  The highlight for me was when Charlie got to wear a huge turtle shell and crawl around like a turtle!  I wish I had a picture of that, but one great thing I have learned through this month of unplugging is that I need to be present in my everyday life, not worried about taking pictures of every little cute things the kids do.

Anyway, this weeks photo challenge was on perspective, and I thought this picture fit well:

A pterodactyl flying high in the sky!

A pterodactyl flying high in the sky!

 

Here’s the original:

The same Pterodactyl, with some of his friends.

The same Pterodactyl, with some of his friends.

Here are some more pics from this morning:

Some Quick Pics of Our Days

6 Mar

While I have been unplugging this month, the kids and I have been having a great time.  We’re spending lots of time reading and playing and visiting with friends, and I have been taking a lot of pictures with my actual camera instead of my phone.

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The kids have been doing a lot of “kindergarten” work, as Charlie calls it. This morning, he told me he was going to start raising his hand if he had something to say.  Seeing as he has never stepped foot in school or preschool or anything like it, I don’t know where he got that from!

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We have been taking some naps, too!

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Maddie is such a little helper! She helped me make scrambled eggs this morning.

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And a little tea party to get the day started!

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Our days are going very well, and I hope yours are, too.  For those of you participating in 31 Days Unplugged, I would love to hear what you’re doing now that you have a little more time on your hands!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Three (Planting Seeds)

21 Feb

The kids and I are LOVING this break from the snowy, wintery weather.  It has been 70 degrees or close to it for a few days now, and we have been outside a lot.  I know it’s only February, but I am ready for winter to be over!  I don’t know how you northerners do it…

Charlie, Maddie, and I started some broccoli seeds today so the plants will be ready to transplant in the spring.  We talked a little bit about Jesus’ parable of the sower and the seeds (here are some great ideas) then planted our seeds in a little greenhouse.

A little brother/sister love!  Maddie lost interest in planting seeds pretty quickly, but Charlie was really into it.

A little brother/sister love! Maddie lost interest in planting pretty quickly, but Charlie was really into it.

 

Charlie planting some seeds.  He was adamant, however, that he would not be eating the broccoli when it came up!

Charlie the farmer. He was adamant, however, that he would not be eating the broccoli when it is harvested!

 

Charlie's precious little hand is the perfect size for planting tiny seeds.

Charlie’s precious little hand is the perfect size for planting tiny seeds.

I am looking forward to showing the kids when the sprouts come up, and hopefully we’ll have some fresh broccoli this summer!

 

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/weekly-photo-challenge-threes/

Snow Day!

29 Jan

That’s right, after a full day of waiting in anticipation (it was torturous) for the snow to begin falling, it finally did, and we ended up with a whopping 2 inches!  I could let myself be a little disappointed, but the kids are so excited that it makes me excited, too.  That’s one great thing about having children: their excitement rubs off on you!

The snow is gorgeous.  This verse from Romans 1 was part of my devotional this morning:

19 They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. 20 For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.

When you wake up and look out the window at the snow-covered ground and see the blinding whiteness of a new snow, God is so evident.  Only He could do something so wonderful.

Charlie and Maddie have been so excited about this snow.  They looked out the windows all day yesterday (okay, that was me….) and stayed up late last night playing in the falling flakes.

The kids wanted to go out as soon as they got up this morning!  We built a partial snowman (the snow is really dry and not packing well, so we’re going to try to finish him up later), went sledding, and made snow angels.  I didn’t take make pictures because I had to take my gloves off to use the camera, and it is REALLY cold!  Plus, I just wanted to enjoy myself.

One really ironic thing that happened today: Jason brought in a memory stick that he found at his office.  I stuck it in the computer, and it has all of our pictures from January 26, 2013-when it snowed last year!  Charlie was wearing the snow suit that Maddie wore today.  I liked seeing how they have changed, almost exactly one year later.

Charlie has grown and changed SO much!

Charlie has grown and changed SO much! I tried to fit him into this snowsuit this morning, but it was about 4 inches too short all over!

I think Emma has this snowsuit on today!

I think Emma has this snowsuit on today!

We’re hanging out in the house for a little while now, drinking hot chocolate and warming up.  I hope everyone enjoys the snow!