Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Her Favorite Birthday Gift

My sweet R just turned 10 years old.  And her grandma couldn't have gotten a more perfect gift for her.  :o)

*NOTE*  For those of you reading this on Facebook, you will need to click this link to see the video.

Happy 10th Birthday my sweet, beautiful daughter!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

My children are so creative.  They wanted to do something special for everyone on Christmas, so they practiced this adorable little song.  They wrote it all by themselves, and performed it for me.  I thought it was so cute that I just HAD to record it and post it for everyone to see.

Merry Christmas from the RichFam!  (well... most of us, anyway...)   :o)

Monday, December 20, 2010

A "Bunny" for Christmas

For months and months our kids have been pestering us to get them a pet.  I would have agreed to a cat, but 2 people in our family have discovered they are allergic to them, so that idea is scrapped.  And I am NOT inclined to get something scaly, slimy, or creepy-crawly, so reptiles, amphibians and any and all invertebrates are also completely out of the question. 

The kids finally decided on a bunny.  They are small, they are soft to pet, and fairly easy to maintain.  So, Jay and I agreed... but with certain conditions.  They had to prove to us that they were ready, willing, and able to take care of a pet.

So, we came up with the "Pet Points" system.  100 points = a bunny.  Each day, the kids need to perform extra tasks (in addition to their regular chores), that will show us that they are mature enough to handle the responsibility of having a pet.

For example:

*  If they see a stray sock sitting in the middle of the floor, even if it is not their own, they should pick it up and put it in the laundry hamper.

*  If their little sister is struggling to put her shoes on, they are to help her (without being asked).

*  Putting others ahead of themselves, etc.

You get the idea...

At first, the kids asked us how many points they had to earn to get a dog.  Imagining the messes a dog can create in a house that I strive to keep clean and orderly, I cringed at the thought and told them they would have to earn 1,000 points to get a dog.  So, the kids figured a bunny was a more attainable goal.

Week after week, they have diligently been earning points towards a bunny.  But, week after week, they have also been diligently LOSING points for bad behavior.  Yes, my children can have bad behavior, too.  :o)  At the end of each week, they seem to have just about the same amount of points as they started with.  It has been a bit frustrating for them.

So Jay and I, seeing the roller coaster of earned and lost "pet points" day in and day out, decided that we would like to teach them a more important lesson through all of this.  The lesson of God's grace and mercy.

We decided to give the children the gift that they wanted more than anything... a DOG!

We have been so impressed with their effort to earn the "pet points" that we just could not stand giving them a pet that they were just "settling" for.  We wanted to give them the thing that they thought they could never attain with their points.  Plus, since this dog happens to be completely housebroken... I consider it a win-win.  :o)

And, as strange as it sounds, Jay and I really want to name this little dog "Bunny", since that was supposed to be the pet that they worked so hard to get in the first place.  We plan on giving it to them for Christmas... IF we can wait that long!!!  I REALLY want to give it to them early!!!  :o)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Free Books!

My husband LOVES to read.  So, when he learned that there was a way to get FREE books, he jumped at the chance!

He discovered a website called Book Sneeze (www.booksneeze.com).  It is a website dedicated to promoting Christian literature.  Once you sign up and join, they will send you a free book, in exchange for an agreement from you to write a 200-word review on your blog after you've finished reading it.  When you publish the review on your blog, they'll send you another book to read and review... FREE!

So, if you start seeing random book reviews on my blog, don't worry.  It's just my husband... doing what he can to get another free book to read.  :o)

Make sure you check out Book Sneeze and see if there's a book available on the website that you would be interested in reading... for FREE!   :o)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

High Tea at the RichFam House

R decided that today was going to be the day that we celebrated High Tea at the RichFam house.  For a 9 year old, I think she did relatively well.  She had a linen tablecloth (even though it was a brown and orange one we use at Thanksgiving), linen napkins (purple and white with grapes), and china dishes (yellow, green, and plaid).  So, it wasn't exactly color coordinated, but she did her best.  The tea (which she made all by herself) was delicious, and she even thought to add small crackers and cookies for everyone (served on a Christmas platter).  :o)

The Happy Hostess and her Guests.

The Food.

H loved every minute of our Tea Party, making sure to speak in the most ADORABLE English accent.  :o)

Here's B, trying his best to be "proper" by holding his pinky finger out as he eats his "crumpet".  :o)

All in all, R has the makings of a gracious, beautiful hostess. She'll make a sweet little homemaker one day. :o)


Saturday, May 29, 2010

A Very Amish Day

My husband has a slight obsession... with Amish/Mennonite people.  Okay, maybe it isn't so slight.  He LOVES them!  So, when we learned that we lived near the largest Amish community in the world, I knew it was only a matter of time until we made our way over to see it.  :o)

We started out eating lunch at one of the local Amish restaurants.  Mmm... there's nothing quite like it.  Very fresh and VERY tasty!  Even the kids ate everything on their plates!  (unfortunately, I have no pictures of this experience, because the Amish people do not like pictures to be taken of them).

Next, we made our way to an Amish Flea Market, where we saw a ton of wonderful Amish-made goods and crafts.  One thing that got me cracking up on the way out, though, was this sight...  See if you can guess what had me laughing so hard...

A car seat!  Strapped into an Amish Buggy!!!  HAHAHA!  I had never seen such a sight!  :o)

Then, we visited a local Amish Chocolatier.  Mmmm...  the wonderful smell of chocolate filled the air as we walked in.  The last time the smell of so much chocolate entered my nostrils was when we took a trip to Hershey, Pennsylvania.  We, of course, had to take a few "samples" home with us, too!  And, the kids had a blast in the kiddie area.  :o)

Finally, we went to tour a local Amish Farm.  We got to see a house that was built and used by the Amish in the 1800s, as well as one that is used today. 

Here are some pictures of their beautiful garden (and outhouse, to the left), as well as some canning jars, which they sterilize by sunning them...

Then, they took us to the barn, to learn about all the animals they raise.  They allowed the kids to pet and play with them, too!  :o)

Here is a 2 day old baby rabbit.  Soooo sweet!

This is a foal named Thunder (whose mother is Lightning), born 2 weeks ago. 

Baby Ducklings.  (there were tons of adorable baby kittens, too, but they wouldn't stay still for pictures!)  :o)

We also got to tour an Amish school house.  They teach grades 1 through 8 in the same room (after 8th grade, the Amish children will leave school and learn a trade).  It was especially cool to see samples of the curriculum used to teach the children, because a large protion of it is what I use to teach MY children in homeschool!  :o)

This is a picture of the alphabet that the Amish children also must learn.  It is in German, because their Bibles are all written in German, and they must learn to read the letters in this format, if they are to be able to read the Bible.

We ended our tour of the Yoder House with a Buggy ride.  That was also a lot of fun!  (and, it provided a nice, cool breeze and some relief from the heat of the day).  :o)

We finished the day eating at another local Amish restaurant.  I did manage to get a few pics of Baby C, eating a lemon.  She was eager to try it...

Then, came the reaction we were hoping for...

But, what surprised us most of all, was that after she tasted the sourness of the lemon, she grabbed her daddy's hand and put that lemon in her mouth again!  She wanted MORE!  Silly baby...  :o)

We will definitley be making another trip into Amish Country very soon!  :o)

Monday, May 3, 2010

When Sisters are Friends

Our girls love to play dress-up.  They love to put on fancy dresses, plastic high heeled shoes, gobs of makeup, and pretend to be princesses in a wide variety of scenarios...  locked in a tower, hosting a royal tea party, shipwrecked in the ocean and needing to be rescued by a daring prince (AKA - their brother who reluctantly agrees to play simply because he's bored and there are no other boys to play with), etc.  The possibilities are endless!  And their little imaginations never cease to amaze me.  :o)

Last year for her birthday, we got R a large case of makeup to use when playing dress-up.  She was very excited about this gift, and treasured this makeup case like no other.  She valued it, and kept it hidden from little people who would seek to destroy it.  Unfortunately for her, the little people are very good at finding things that have been hidden from them.  And little H just loves to wear makeup, almost as much as big sister R.  The problem is that little H has yet to learn the art of seeking permission first.  This has caused many struggles between the sisters, to say the least.  :o)

Because we are homeschoolers, our children get to spend much more time together than other families.  Sometimes, this causes many stressful days, filled with arguing and hard lessons on being patient and putting others first.  Other times, like this particular day, I was able to observe the fruit of our labor; the result of investing the time to teach our children the life-lessons of being kind to one another and putting others before ourselves.  It doesn't always turn out this way, but when it does, it is worth blogging about.  :o)

R discovered little H sneaking into her prized makeup case.  Instead of screaming at her and starting a major argument, my sweet eldest daughter decided to bless little H with a special make-over.  I just love watching as sisters become friends.  :o)

Friday, April 30, 2010

The Wonderful World of Geo Caching!

We've discovered a new love...  Geo caching.  (http://www.geocaching.com/)

Basically, here's the rundown:

You find a cache that sounds interesting to you in an area near you.  You enter the coordinates for the cache into your GPS and follow it to the site.  You then proceed to search for a hidden container, inside of which contains a log book to document that you found the cache, and a variety of small, inexpensive trinkets.  You may choose to take one of the trinkets, but must replace it with one of equal or greater value.  That's it, in a nutshell.

Today, our family went on our first geocaching expedition.  And, I'm afraid we're officially hooked.  It is soooo much fun!!!  :o)

I tried to document our day with pictures...

Here, we are searching for a cache.

We've found our first cache!

B with the cache container (they come in all shapes & sizes.  This one is considered a "micro")

Many of the geo cache sites have historical significance.  This is particularly fun for homeschool history lessons!

Jay has become the professional detective of the family.  He finds all the hidden caches. 

This cache container was filled with all sorts of neat little trinkets.  The kids each got to take something from it.

Now, the rules of geocaching are that if you remove an item from the container, you must also replace it with something of equal or greater value.  The RichFam was more than happy to oblige...

Each time we find cache we fill it with either a silver coin with The Ten Commandments written on it, or a gospel tract in the form of a million dollar bill, most of which have the caricature of someone famous on them.  Might as well spread the gospel while we are having fun, right?  :o)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Grandparents Visit

My mom has been missing her grandbabies lately. So much so, in fact, that she made the last-minute decision to fly out here for the weekend. And, of course, we didn't mind a bit! :o)

The kids waited (a bit impatiently) outside for their rental car to come into view.

They even wrote a message to their grandparents on the driveway...

This one says, "Welcome! Honk if you love us!" :o)

This one says, "Grandma and Grandpa! We love you! Nice to see you again!" :o)

So far, we've spent our time together going shopping, sightseeing, playing spades (until 1:00 in the morning, like we're teenagers or something!), watching movies, etc. It's been a LOT of fun!

But, I think all this running around and excitement is catching up to poor "old" grandma and grandpa... what do you think? :o)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Birthday Boy!

For some odd reason, all of my children's birthdays have fallen on church nights this year. This does not make for a happy mom. I am pressed for time and often don't get to merely enjoy the (abbreviated) celebration. B's birthday was no exception. And this year, of all years, his birthday fell on one of the busiest weeks we've had in a very long time.

First, it was Easter week. In the life of a pastor's family, this is a big deal. Lots of preparation required. Second, we were planning an out-of-town trip, and I was busy packing and preparing for that. Somehow, in the middle of all of that, I had to find time (with 4 kids) to go shopping for the birthday boy... without him seeing anything that I was buying. Then, to top it all off, B ended up getting strep throat!!! So, while nursing him back to health (and keeping everything sanitized so the other kids didn't get it), I had to also find the time to bake and decorate the special birthday cake he requested.

In light of all of this, I was not able to decorate an elaborate cake for him this year. When I asked him what he wanted a few months ago, he told me he wanted a hockey cake. Why he wanted a hockey cake, I will never know. He has never even seen a hockey game! He knows nothing about hockey! And, for that matter, neither do I. Nevertheless, I made him a hockey cake. But, due to our crazy schedule for the week, I had no choice but to make it a very simple one. He didn't mind... it still tasted delish!!! :o)

The Cake.
Since I am so unfamiliar with hockey, I had to go online to find out what a hockey rink even looked like! I did the best I could to make it look the same. This is how it turned out...

I never thought to get hockey goals for the cake, so at the last minute, I had to try to get creative and make some myself. It's amazing what you can create with some hot glue and a few Q-Tips... :o)

The decorations...

Because B had strep throat and was very contagious, we were unable to have any friends over to help celebrate (although one dear soul risked her health and defied our warnings to wish B a Happy Birthday and have pizza and cake with us).

Overall, though, B said it was the best birthday he's ever had.

Poor guy... if a friend-less, strep throat-infected birthday is the best one he's ever had... he must have really hated his other birthdays! Ha ha. :o)

We love you, B!!! :o)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

My Greatest Joy

Each week in Sunday School, Jay assigns the class a verse of Scripture to memorize and recite the following week. Our children are no exception. Since we are a family integrated church, our children are with us in Sunday School class. And, yes, we fully expect them to learn the verses as well. They do amazingly well with this (ah, the blessings that come with having a young mind). :o)

Here are the kids reciting some of the verses they have learned in recent weeks...

B: Reciting Romans 12:1-2

H: Reciting Genesis 1:1 as well as Psalm 19:1 (She managed to remember these verses, even though she had been sick all weekend! Poor, sweet girl).

R: Reciting Philippian 4:8

I am so proud of my little Scripture memorizers! They bring me such joy.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Snow Day!

As many of you know, we've gotten a lot of snow here lately. The most snow this place has gotten in many years, actually. So, we've had many chances to get out and enjoy it! However, we live at the top of a hill. Good for flood areas, since we will always stay nice and dry. But bad for snow and ice, because the minute we leave our driveway, we start to slide down the hill.

The other day was no exception. The roads were especially treacherous, and there was no way we were gonna venture out in it! Unfortunately, I neglected to do my grocery shopping the day before the storm hit, and we were out of basic necessities (milk, bread, etc). Jay did this sort of "blink, blink" look at me, then a "gulp, gulp", and he knew he was gonna have no choice but to make a grocery run for me. However, he decided he was gonna do it HIS way...

We live in such a small town that everything is on one main street. And the house we now live in is within walking distance of just about any place on that street (the bank, the pharmacy, the 3 fast food restaurants in town, and the grocery store). So, Jay bundled up the older 2 kids, and off they went... WALKING to the store to get my groceries. :o)

Of course, like I said before, Jay wanted to do things HIS way. So, he stopped by our snow-covered tree, saying, "Hey B. Come over here a sec. I think I see a nest in this tree," just before shaking the snow out all over my unsuspecting 5 year old son. (I can't believe I was fortunate enough to catch it on camera!)...

They all arrived back safe and sound (albeit a little cold and wet and exhausted from hiking gallons of milk up that big hill). Jay had bought all of the necessities I asked for, and had even added a few more "necessities" of his own (Doritos, chocolate milk, candy bars, etc). Oh well, I guess I can't complain too much about the junk food. They deserved to have a little reward for all that hard work! :o)

After they returned and I was able to make some food to feed the hungry beasts, we all decided to get bundled back up and go outside to PLAY! :o)

Snow angels are so much fun, Mom! :o)

We have a wonderful hill in our backyard (that matches the one that makes up our road), so the kids always enjoy sledding down it! Jay got in on the action, too (don't worry... he only fell once or twice). But this time, unfortunately, I was not fortunate enough to capture that on camera. Ha ha. :o)

And, since I always seem to be the one TAKING the pictures, I very rarely get the chance to be IN the pictures. So, I decided to try to take a self-portrait of baby C and I, all bundled up in the snow, too... :o)

All in all, we have had some really wonderful snow days!!! It seems like every morning we wake up to another inch or two on the ground. The tracks the kids make in the snow while they are sledding are gone by the next day, so each day they get to enjoy fresh snow!

We just love living here!!! :o)

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Yippee! She's 3!!!

Yep. My sweet H just turned 3 years old. I can't believe it! She seems to have grown faster than the rest of the kids for some reason. And she is just the cutest little character, too! She comes up with the craziest sayings, and can just melt your heart! She is something special, that's for sure. :o)

This year, H was VERY specific with her request for a birthday cake. I tried my hardest to convince her that she should get a Barbie Dress cake, like the one I made for her big sister (since I finally mastered that one!). But... she was very insistent. Over and over again, all she would ask for was a Princess Castle cake.

Unfortunately for me, I am hopelessly new at this cake decorating thing. And, with our crazy hectic schedule, alongside the fact that her birthday fell on a church day... I didn't have as much time to plan out the cake like I did with the one I made for R's birthday. In fact, I only had 2 hours in which to completely decorate the cake before church started!

So... I am a little embarrassed to show off this cake, because I am not especially proud of it. I know I could have done a MUCH better job if I had more time to prepare, etc. But, nevertheless... here is H's Princess Castle Birthday Cake...

And, H told me later on, as she was looking at pictures of her cake...

H: "I got my wished and it comed twue!"

Me: "You did? What did you wish for?"

H: "I got my pwincess castle cake, juss like I wanted!"

Happy 3rd Birthday, my sweet girl! You are growing up so fast and so big! We love you!!! :o)