Saturday, September 17, 2011


Mitch, Micah, Eden and Caleb went camping last night with the YFU exchange students.  They went to our favorite group site at Warner Lake County Park.  It's pretty rustic--a long walk to pit toilets, no running water, no showers, no electricity.  It was also supposed to be pretty cold overnight (low 40s), so I decided I would stay home with the younger kids.  I wanted to make the evening fun for them, but at the same time I wanted to work on character training (we have been hitting that pretty hard the past 3 weeks since school started).  So I warned them ahead of time that there would be no "screen time".  There were some tears (give me a break!) when Mitch and kids pulled away.  But we headed to the basement to pick out a board game.  We played a round of Sorry!  This definitely brought up some "problem" areas of character to work on.  I love how a little board game competition can bring out the worst in us (ouch).  :)  After the game we had a fun supper with very kid-friendly special treats.  I bribed the kids with dessert once the table and dishes were cleaned up.  Everyone except Obadiah pitched in and helped with clearing the table, doing dishes, and putting toys away.  Our dessert choices were cupcakes (left over from Patrick's birthday) or brownies (extras left after I sent some camping).  After dessert Zeke and Josh were rewarded with reading some books that we normally don't allow them to read because they don't care well enough for them and pages are falling out.  While they reading, I made some dough for sugar cookies for us to cut out this morning.  When that was done, it was time for bed.  I surprised the boys by asking them if they wanted to "camp out" in our living room.  They were excited about that.

 I don't remember exactly when in the evening this one happened, but it was precious.  Zeke is actually reading (!!!) his library book to Tirzah.  Malachi jumped in to hear, too.  He did a great job.  I am especially impressed because he did it by his own choice.

 Trying to get comfortable.  Tirzah and Obi actually slept in my bed.  The boys got quiet right away, but they didn't really go to sleep until almost 10 pm.

 This morning everyone was awake and ready to go by 6 a.m.  I am glad I went to bed when they did last night!  Even 8 hours of sleep is not hardly enough for me.  Ugh.  I'm tired!  After breakfast was done and cleaned up, we got started with sugar cookies.  Bonnie brought us these fun cut-outs.  Now I will tell you a secret.  I personally don't even like to eat sugar cookies.  I don't particularly like cooking with my kids at all.  I'd rather just do it myself.  But to do sugar cookies WITH my kids is a real stretch.  I managed to keep my patience and let go of my perfectionist tendencies and use a nice voice almost the entire time.  Whew!  (This is the power of Christ in me...)

 By the time the cookies were out of the oven I was WAY too tired to make my own frosting.  So we used store-bought.  But I gave each of the kids a small amount to put on their cookies.  Before even 1 min had passed I caught multiple kids licking their knives already.  LOL.  So I distinguished their cookies from all the others by using blue sprinkles.  Just a hint:  don't eat the ones with blue frosting.

 Forget tasting frosting, Tirzah decided to sample the whole cookie before it was time. 

Finally I said, "Ok, everyone can eat a cookie!"  They were all very happy to sample their cookies (though Josh says he doesn't like them).  Even I thought they taste pretty good.  For a sugar cookie.  As I was walking away, Zeke said, "This is the funnest day ever."  I let out a silent "Yes!"  I know it won't last.  In fact, he's already whining about not getting screen time yet.  So I'd better go and come up with some more fun.  Hopefully our family will be home early this afternoon.  I think Mitch is bringing home a special visitor--an exchange student from South Korea that we have been hoping to meet since this spring.  I'm so excited!!!

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