New Magic Stix from The Pencil Grip, Inc.

IMG_1041We have been blessed to work with The Pencil Grip, Inc. on many occasions, and we love all of their products. Today, I’m here to tell you about something new in their arsenal: Magic Stix markers. My kids (particularly the two younger ones) have had the pleasure of drawing all sorts of different things over the past week or so using these markers, and they love them! They’ve definitely become the medium of choice for the kids in their neverending quest to create more artwork.

Magic Stix aren’t so different from other markers. They come in a variety of colors (packs of 12 or 24). They’re odorless. They’re washable.

But where they really shine is in their endurance. See, they’re guaranteed not to dry out for up to 7 days – with the cap off. That’s remarkable, and something I had a hard time bringing myself to test prior to writing up this post. Finally, I knew that my deadline was approaching and I had to test out that claim. Due to my hesitation, I didn’t let the markers sit for 7 days without their caps, but I did let one of the sit out with no cap for 3 days (well, more like 36 hours over the course of 3 calendar days). And guess what? It worked just as well at the end of that time as it did at the beginning. Check it out:

  IMG_1040

I won’t exactly say I was shocked, because I know that The Pencil Grip wouldn’t make the claim if it wasn’t true, but I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that there wasn’t even any difference in the quality of the line. A normal marker would have to have been tossed in the garbage by the time I wrote the first “Day 2” on my test paper. I’m definitely impressed by these!

IMG_1042My only issue with them is that they bleed quite a bit. When your children use them, make sure to have plenty of extra paper underneath the one they’re writing on to save your tables.

You can buy Magic Stix for $9.95 (for the 12 pack) or $19.95 (for the 24 pack) on Amazon – and the 12-pack is on Prime, so if you hurry, you can get them in time for Christmas!

Blessings,

ladybug-signature-3 copy

Puppets

For Seahawk’s birthday, we wanted to get him a “gift that would inspire” rather than just something else to clutter up the kids’ room (since they’re all 4 in one bedroom at the moment). So we found a puppet from a toy store, and we got some books on puppeteering from the library. He had loads of fun with that, and has continued to have fun for the 5 weeks since his birthday. So much fun, in fact, that the other kids wanted in on the fun. Exactly what we’d hoped to accomplish!

After that, Will went online and found a “make your own puppet” pattern, so he downloaded and printed it it, and the boys have been making these puppets for themselves quite a lot since then. It’s really neat to see their creativity flow and how many different puppets they can make from the same pattern. Even Dragonfly is getting in on the action – not of making puppets (since he’s only 2), but of playing with them. He just loves all of the puppets! Will even watched an episode of Sesame Street with him once since then, and he immediately recognized the characters as puppets. That’s something Will readily admits he didn’t understand until he was much older.

So today, I wanted to share a picture of Seahawk with one of the puppets he’s created. The nose is entirely his creation – the pattern didn’t include that.

5415850C-C807-4E82-A95F-7103606E3BE5

Blessings,

ladybug-signature-3 copy

Picture of the Week: Flash!

As you may know, Dragonfly isn’t much of a baby anymore. He turned 2 last month, and now when asked the question, “Are you a baby?” the answer is (almost) always, “No baby. Little boy.” Super cute.

Occasionally the answer changes a bit though. You see, the big kids have been watching the TV show Flash lately, and the little kids are sometimes caught up in the episodes with them. So sometimes, instead of saying, “No baby. Little boy,” Dragonfly will tell me, “No baby. Flash.” And then he runs away. 🙂

To aid in his love of all things Flash, Munchkin made him this little costume that he can wear over the top of his clothes, and then he really is the Flash. He absolutely loves it.

CC072650-85B4-48A1-AC5A-10C08868411D

Blessings,

 

Book Club: Unbroken


Book Club with Lori

Lori offered me a list of books for book club this month, and I picked Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. It’s the true story of Louis Zamperelli, an Olympic runner in the 1930s who then was drafted to fight in WWII.

I’d heard a bit about Zamperelli, but didn’t actually know anything about besides there was a YWAM book about his life. So I was interested in this book. The other thing it had going for it was that the audio book was available from Overdrive, so I didn’t have to wait to get my (virtual) hands on it. Also, the audio book was read by the late Edward Hermann, famous for his role as Richard Gilmore on Gilmore Girls (among other things). All of these things were wins in my book (pardon the pun), and I was not disappointed.

In the first several chapters, I was far from impressed of Mr. Zamperelli. In fact, as I listened (while knitting) I remember thinking on more than one occasion that he was a complete and total punk, someone who just made the “mom” in me really mad. His own mother must have been a saint to have put up with all of his shenanigans. But then his brother got him into running, and his entire life changed. He finally had something to put his focus into, and within just a few years of diving into that hobby, he was Olympics bound in the long-distance running events, handily beating out more experienced runners in his categories. In fact, his own category (the one mile) was full, so he trained hard to run the 5000-meter race – nearly 3 miles. I found all of these chapters to be fascinating.

Then WWII started. The 1940 Olympics were canceled (did you know that? I didn’t), and Zamperelli joined up as an air force bombadier. He’d been a pilot in the military previously, but left the service because he hated flying. What he didn’t know was that his contract upon leaving was that by re-enlisting to avoid being drafted, he was automatically enlisted as an air force soldier. Ironic, eh?

His time in the war was nothing short of amazing, and I don’t want to spoil the story here, as much as I’d love to talk more about it. Suffice it to say that his story is amazing enough that I’ve re-borrowed the audiobook and it’s going on the list of things the kids and I are going to do for homeschool this month. It was that good. Also, parts of the story reminded me a lot of the Jacob de Shazer book we read earlier this year (a YWAM book), and I think it will be good for them to make some comparisons between the two men.

Make sure to head over to Lori’s blog to read her thoughts as well.

Next time, we’ll be reading Waiting for Rachel, a lighthearted Christian romance novel. I read it earlier this month and really enjoyed it, and when I mentioned it to Lori she was amenable to reading it too. You can get he Kindle version for free on Amazon if you want to join us.

Blessings,

ladybug-signature-3 copy

5 Random Things: November 2017

Whew! I’ve been MIA for too long from this space. Here are a few things that have been going on in my life to kind of get you up to date.

1. Birthdays

CB797D4B-784A-4240-97FB-2A577278A9FASeahawk turned 14 almost a month ago. He’s growing up into such a fine young man, and I’m really proud of him.

B655F81B-A863-4D3E-9D96-329201757EC0Three weeks later, Dragonfly turned 2. He’s such a little doll, and we all love him loads. He’s definitely a joyful child – and all boy! For his birthday present, Will and I got him a foam sword and shield with yellow decorations on them (his favorite color is “lellow”), and he’s been spending the past couple of weeks clobbering his brothers, especially Small Fry, who has a matching sword and shield set (in blue).

2. Ballet

The big boys are participating in the local performance of The Nutcracker again this year. Hopefully I won’t neglect to write about it like I did last year. I’m super excited to see their performance – they’ve been rehearsing 2-3 times a week for about a month now.

3. Newspaper

Last January, Will took the plunge to start his own newspaper for his comic strip. It took a lot of work to get the first issue up off the ground (between finding advertisers with no sample to show them and figuring out where to circulate), and his first issue was passed out to every elementary and middle school (public school) student in our hometown last spring. The second issue followed up before school let out for the summer, and now that school is back in session, he’s released the third issue to schools. He’s busily working on the layout and artwork for the fourth issue, set to come out sometime in December, before the schools break for Christmas. In addition to creating the content for the paper, he’s working hard to sell more ad space and pick up additional schools for distribution. It’s a lot for just one guy to do, but he’s working it and doing a fabulous job. If you know a school district that might be interested in carrying the paper, contact my husband at paper@caseyandkyle.com.

4. Knitting

F29505A7-F1D5-4587-8409-1F189A36EC3E

EC40A5C5-896E-489D-86A1-E269F34F14ABI knit two adult sized sweaters for Christmas – one for my mom and one for my stepdad. I can’t wait to give them to them next month! In addition to the sweaters (which take about a month to do one that big), I also knit 7 pairs of mittens to give to my nieces and nephews for Christmas. I’m really glad to have all of my Christmas gifts prepped and ready before Thanksgiving (except for what we get for our own kids, that is).

5. Homeschool

The month of September found us floundering a bit in our homeschool, so I found something new for us to do curriculum-wise, and that is the Easy Peasy, All in One Homeschool. We’ve been working hard on that each day since October, and I’m much happier with what the boys are learning now. It’s nice to have a schedule so I don’t have to worry about “are they doing enough?” Following this schedule, I just know that they are doing enough.

Blessings,

ladybug-signature-3 copy

Thanks to Finch N Wren!

My friend Wren, half of the blog Finch n Wren, has been doing a fun series all summer long: 5 Things You Didn’t Know About… where she sent interview questions out to some of her favorite bloggers. This was an easy way for her to keep her blog active while she dealt with some health issues, and I was more than happy to participate. Head over to their blog and check out my interview!

Blessings,

ladybug-signature-3 copy

Picture of the Week: Basket Buddies

Small Fry has long been a fan of standing on the back of the shopping cart. Now that Dragonfly is “big” too, he’s joining those ranks. I don’t let them do this when it’s me and the kids, but Will was with us this day, and he’s a lot more fun than I am (lol). So they had a great time riding on the outside of the basket for a few minutes while we were walking through the store.

IMG_0647[1]

Have a great weekend!

Blessings,

ladybug-signature-3 copy

Oregon State Fair (part 2)

I wrote recently about all the neat cakes at the state fair this year. Now I want to go over the other stuff we saw there.

First up, these buttons. When Will was there four days earlier (he was a featured speaker on Author Day), he got to meet the woman who made them. Apparently she was there one of the days creating new buttons for spectators to see. That would have been neat, but we weren’t able to make it back that day. Even so, seeing the buttons she had made was pretty cool. Her work is sublime. I’m especially impressed by the ones with people on them. The tag said that they were all inspired by her grandparents.

IMG_0596[1]

Near the buttons were all the knitted and crocheted entries. Lots of neat stuff there! Even though I don’t normally crochet anymore, or even really like the look of it that much (I vastly prefer knitting), my very favorite entry was this crocheted elephant rug.

IMG_0599[1]

Munchkin’s favorite was this crocheted turtle.

IMG_0600[1]

Next up was the quilts. There were so many to see! It was almost as intense as the Quilt Expo we went to a few years back. My favorite one was this bicycle quilt.

IMG_0601[1]

This Halloween themed quilt caught my eye because not only is it beautifully crafted, but I recognized the name of the artist! She used to go to our church, and she made a quilt for Small Fry for my baby shower two weeks before he was born.

IMG_0602[1]

The main thing we did besides the artists room was the animals. We saw all sorts of animals, but everyone’s favorites were the cows and pigs. Here are some of our favorite pictures of those.

IMG_0612[1]

You don't normally think of cows as needing "haircuts," but apparently they do!

You don’t normally think of cows as needing “haircuts,” but apparently they do!

IMG_0616[1]

And that was basically our time at the Fair!

Blessings,

ladybug-signature-3 copy