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Arts and Crafts

This winter The Goblin Child has discovered “projects”. From making homemade play dough, to paint, to slime, she wants nothing else. Every day she asks if we can do a project NOW?

She and her father got out a birthday present she got, clear back last summer. It has been great. They put together a robot out of wood blocks and pipe cleaners. They built a robot rabbit that follows a path they built out of foam paper stuff. The path gets rebuilt over and over again in different directions. We, and she I hope, liked it so much we got the subscription. every month now, the next three at least, she’ll be getting a box like it in the mail. Anybody we know with children may be getting Kiwi crates, or their proper age group equivalent, in the mail for future birthdays and Christmas presents.

Slime is apparently pretty popular right now. That makes me think we should find other things. But we’ll keep doing it, one in a while. It’s easy enough, glue, water, borax, who doesn’t have that on hand. They love mixing it. It last quite awhile to play on. There are so many variations to try, we’ll probably never get to them all. We’ve done regular slime and glitter slime. We haven’t done Fluffy slime yet.

Play dough was my favorite. We would make more but it lasts so long that we don’t really need anymore yet. It was quick and easy and softer than store bought. It has been interesting learning the things we should always have on hand to be prepared for this kind of thing, salt, baking powder, and food coloring are essentials. We also made salt dough, to bake into Christmas tree ornaments and the like. The difference in ingredients was small, they were both fun to play with despite their very different outcomes. Also in the play dough group should be my new favorite project, fizzy play dough!! Again small differences in ingredients major difference in outcomes. Back the the essentials again with baking soda. I misjudged our need of it and we were almost out, until I remembered the stash in the fridge. It needed replaced anyway. It was the simplest to make, mix baking soda with water, and food coloring is desired, until a doughy consistency is reached then play with it. When they’re done playing let them squirt vinegar, mixed with a drop or two of soap, over it. Squirt and squeeze until all that remains is foamy goo. What’s not to love?

We’ve done some others. We have a few books with science projects in them. They work with varying results, some good some not so much. Putting water in a bowl, sprinkling with pepper, then touching with a soap rubbed finger is pretty fun. Mostly because it is quickly and easily repeated. Filling a tray with milk, dropping in some food coloring, then dripping soap over, not so much. Not worth the wasted milk, messy and over with quickly.

I also finally managed to find the recipe for water color paint. It was a fun one that we used for the summer camp art class. It involves baking soda, vinegar, and food colors. Everything but salt. I like projects that take a long time to make, keeping the kids occupied for quite a while, and things that I don’t have to be hands on for the whole time. This is pretty hands on, I don’t get to get anything else done while we do it, but it does last for a very long time afterwards. I just threw away the paints from the last time we did this. they take a long time to dry but they painted with them wile they were still in liquid form and once dried the paints last forever.

This whole thing may have actually been an excuse to get all my links together in one place but we are enjoying the projects. It is snowing out and cold, I foresee another project coming up soon. I need to start looking for something.

Winter Walk

The day started warm and moist. The snow that fell over night spent the night melting. It was mostly ice, kind of slush. To nice to miss out on. With the children bundled up against the wet more than the cold we set out to use up energy and enjoy the warm weather.

Out through the corrals we played mountain goat on the piles of manure pushed up away from the feed bunks. Up and down and back and forth. I hadn’t intended to go any farther. But the ground was open season for being eaten by crocodiles and we leapt from poop pile to poop pile trying to stay safe until we wound up at the gate. Up and over we went, up between the feed bunks, into the pasture.

I wanted to follow the tree row back to the buildings. My opinion was vetoed. Out here the grey skies hung heavy, the wind was picking up, blowing the damp air, turning cheeks pink with the chill. But on we went. Over the hill and to another set of gates. They were still going pretty strong. Home was looking a long way off though. I checked my phone, it wasn’t working. With a quick reboot, it was soon chiming at me. Our loving husband and father was worried about us. Where had we gone. Pausing a moment I let him know where we were.

We trudged onward. 8 tripped and fell in the wheat stubble coming up with sand burrs in his gloves and coat. I picked them out but soon we were in sunflowers over his head. Both children were stumbling over the weeds and vines. The distance between us and home was looking daunting. When around the corner came our hero on his four wheeler. We all happily hopped on with him, including Daisy who had been enthusiastically ranging along beside us until we hit the sand burrs in the wheat. She had been reduced to slowly and carefully picking her way along behind.

The trip home was much shorter and easier with a ride from our loving father and husband. Once home we settled in for hot chocolate, marshmallows and lunch. Clothes dried in front of the fire. By afternoon the wind was no longer gentle but whipping through the trees and the temperatures dropped. Luckily we had adventured while it was still nice out. We’ll have to do it again, when oit’s warmer.

Christmas Letter

This has been a busy year. It’s also been a great year full of fun exciting things and so much growth for the children. Looking back I can’t believe how much they have changed since last year!

January: The Goblin Child got to go with her loving father and experience Ice fishing. They caught tons of fish. She loved it! Gus learned how to climb out of his crib, he got to graduate to a toddler bed. My hard working husband plowed all the snow in the driveway from the Christmas blizzard into a great sledding hill behind the house. It provided great entertainment until it melted.

February: Most of the snow melted and I have pictures of the kids playing out side in only a diaper, 8, and no coat, T.G.C. Then it snowed more. We celebrated 8’s birthday at the bouncy houses.

March: The Goblin Child was loving preschool. I started serving on the library board.

April: We got the potatoes planted in the garden! We also went to Missouri to see Grandma. The Goblin Child and 8 loved it, They’re crazy about their grandma. We all loved Silver Dollar City and seeing Grandma, Grammy and Different Papa, and playing with their cousins. T.G.C. got her first driving lesson from her brave father while we were hauling cattle to pasture. Everybody survived!

May: We got baby chicks for the kids to raise. They spent lots of time playing with them trying to get them calmed down and made into pets. It may have backfired, the chicks were terrified! T.G.C. was a big hero, she found our cat with a baby bunny she had just captured and saved the bunny. All by herself, what a good girl. We finished planting the garden. And discovered that rats had eaten the entire inside of the combine!

June: With school out for the summer and the pool open the children and I spent most days swimming. If not at the pool then at my personal favorite, the lake, wading in the warm water. The garden was growing by leaps and bounds, we documented the pumpkin vines growing six inches overnight!

July: The summer really started to get busy! The library started our summer reading program. Once a week the library filled with children for reading and a craft. It was great but exhausting. My hard working husband spent the early part of the month frantically reconstructing the wiring in the combine. One hundred and seventy five connectors and what seemed to be miles of wire later the combine ran on the first try and made it through wheat harvest! My whole family made it out to visit us. We camped at Fort Robinson with my parents then spent the fourth with my brother and his family. It was good to see them all!

August: We celebrated T.G.C.’s fifth! Birthday at the bouncy houses. Notice a trend here? She’s getting so big. We went to a little rodeo with a friend, T.G.C. and 8 both participated. T.G.C. a little more enthusiastically. 8 wanted to play on tractors. They both did well and had fun. Their loving father received a much deserved thank you for all the help he gives at school and around the community in a slight roast from the PEO. It was fun and funny and he was caught totally unaware by it. It was perfect.

September: The Goblin Child started back to her second year of preschool. She loves it and was so excited to get to go and play with her friends again. 8 and I enjoyed riding out to meet the school bus on the horses to bring her home afterwards.

October: Both got to go through their first haunted house. They loved it! No nightmares here, kids after my own heart. We had our usual pumpkin carving party, kids and pumpkins everywhere! When Halloween finally came we went trick-or-treating a few different times, can never have enough of that. The Goblin Child was the most beautiful vampire ever, or princess, or whatever she decided she was at the last minute, while 8 made a wonderful ghoul.

November: Once again we hiked into the back woods to pick the perfect Christmas tree. This years is wonderful. It may also be bigger than our house. We got all got to travel to Kearney with my hard working husband for work. We took advantage of the hotel swimming pool, saw Fort Kearney, and explored the archway. It was so nice to be able to go with him.

December: We went with friends on a little winter vacation up to Rapid city to see the lights at story book island, eat, shop, and, of course, swim! We also ended up ice skating downtown, which turned out to be the, my, favorite activity on the trip. The kids liked the slide at the hotel pool best. we got to enjoy T.G.C.’s preschool Christmas program, She made a wonderful mother choosing a Christmas tree.  The Goblin Child also made a wonderful Mary at the Christmas eve service at church this year. She and Joseph had been practicing hard and did a wonderful job of remembering their lines. 8 had been vetoed as the Christmas dragon and made a wonderful wiseman instead. He sauntered jauntily up the aisle and also did a great job in his roll. We were lucky to be joined for the Christmas eve service by my second cousin who was in town for Christmas to see her in-laws. We are always happy to see her when she’s around and it was so nice to have her come with.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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The Littlest Christmas Tree

The Goblin Child had her school Christmas program last week. It was adorable. She had been telling us that she was going to be a mother and had been singing snippets of the songs. It was great to see it all put together.

The story was of three trees growing in the forest. A family, our G.C., that came along and chose the biggest one for their Christmas tree. A second family came along and chose the second biggest. The littlest tree was sad that no one wanted her. Then the birds and bunnies came and decorated her and a star saw and came to perch atop her. It was very well done. The music teacher always does an excellent job with all the programs. And we enjoyed it immensely.


Category: Goblin Child  2 Comments

Because She’s So Cool

The Goblin Child has been wanting to learn to read. She wants to be able to read books whenever she wants, instead of having to wait for us. She’s been working hard at it and always wants to know how words are spelled. Tonight as we read her bedtime story, or started to, she said no, she wanted to read it herself! And she did.


Getting Ready

We will be going to the beautiful little country church near us for Christmas eve again. To get ready for the play on Christmas we’ve started going there now and will be until Christmas. The Goblin Child will be Mary, with her little best friend being Joseph. His little sister will make a beautiful angel and 8 will be a dragon. Or maybe not, but there was strong vote put in for it. I could see the biblical implications, the demon hovering nearby, always present, always watching, we might still be able to talk them into it. If not he will be a shepherd or possibly a wise man.

At the last practice they were enthusiastic and energetic. They remembered their lines and did an excellent job singing. Hopefully they do as good when it’s time for the real thing.



Christmas Vacation

I can’t believe it’s been a whole month since I wrote here last. Time flies and every time I think about writing I’m just too tired. It’s been a busy month and hopefully I’ll get back and recap it but for now I’ll stick to the now.

Last year we meant to get up to Storybook Island to see the Christmas lights. Reservations were made, plans were set, then the forecast was made. They were predicting a HIGH of zero and dropping from there. We decided it was too cold and canceled. This year we decided to try again.

Plans were made then changed then changed back. Reservations were made, children got sick, grownups got sick, strep throat for everyone!, reservations were canceled.  We went anyway.

We left early trying to make it up for lunch. We got there and went straight to Huhots. Our good friends brought their kids along and met us there. We gorged ourselves then went downtown. Last year they put in an ice-skating rink, this year we got to see it. The downtown was gorgeous with Christmas lights up and beautiful buildings. We rented skates and ventured onto the ice. It was a blast. Quite possibly my favorite part of the trip. They had walkers to save us from falling and we pushed all of the children around and round until they got the hang of it and were able to move themselves. Or ran crying from the ice and played happily on the stage nearby, eating dirt and running up and down.

Once our feet and bodies were too sore to skate any longer we walked around the downtown window shopping and taking in the sights. We wandered happily until dark and finally it was time to go see the lights. we got to Storybook Island before it opened and walked around waiting very impatiently, the children at least. Once the door opened we rushed in and ran frantically about looking. We saw Santa and Mrs. Clause, the nicest ones I’ve ever seen, and collapsed in a heap of exhausted tears at being told not to swing from the rail of lights to keep us on the path. It was a very long day for a small child who refused to nap on the long drive up.

He was able to be rallied, or at least carried, and we continued through the park. The lights were great but prevented playing on all the toys, a bit of a disappointment for all the small children. They got their ride on the train though and then were ready to find our way back to the hotel for some of the swimming we had promised them and supper.

The pool lived up to their expectations I think. I hope. With it’s big water slide and little pool, known to some as a hot tub. We don’t let the signs worry us, they don’t really mean no one under 18 allowed. It was packed with small children anyway. The whole pool was packed. It limited my enjoyment but I don’t think it slowed the kids down, instead it gave them even more playmates. We enjoyed delivered pizza at the pools edge then succumbed to exhaustion and our rooms for the night.

The children actually slept! Ours did that is and for the most part, our friends maybe not so much but small babies are that way. It was one of the more pleasant nights we’ve spent in a hotel with our small rotten children. Usually they refuse to sleep and are up all night. They were up bright and early the next morning to make up for it. We had snacks in the room for breakfast then waited for the pool to open.

It was lots more fun to swim that morning. There were no other people, I like things best that way. We soaked in the hot tub and made laps down the slide. Checkout time loomed though and we had more plans for the day so eventually we had to drag them away.

It was time for our brunch where the kids all refused whatever we had gotten them and only wanted what the other kids had. Finally after lots of switching around everybody had something they were willing to eat. We stuffed ourselves then went shopping.

The mall was packed. It made me so glad that we don’t live in town and have to put up with these things regularly. We fought our way through and I was glad to have a friend there for moral support as we shopped for other forms of support and I got my early Christmas present. So glad to have that support and to have that over with, hopefully for another decade or so 😉

with everyone nearly burnt out on the whole vacation thing and very ready for a rest we went to dinosaur hill. Although dragging and showing some definite signs of a new sickness we trekked up the hill and had one last hurrah as the kids climbed and ran about. I’m always scared we will lose one off the side but it didn’t happen this time. Maybe next. The Goblin Child was done. She stomped back down the hill ahead of us refusing to speak.

By the time we got home 8 was well rested, feeling better, and rearing to go. She was very clearly sick, exhausted, and refusing any medication. She ended up sleeping on the couch for the night with her loving father. Her voice was hoarse as she croaked out requests and she was coughing horribly. She seems to be better this afternoon but does so enjoy the drama of a good sick.





The Goblin Child, 8, and I went with their adoring father down to Kearney. For Work. Work for him, fun for us. We got up bright and early and started our drive. We ate breakfast at Taco Johns in Alliance, who knew their breakfast food actually tasted good? Then lunch at Runza in Broken Bow, nothing wrong with planning  trip around food! And made it to Kearney in time for his first meeting. He went off to work and we went off to the pool. We got done swimming, he got done working and we went to find food. Valintino’s!!

The next day we woke up late already for his first meeting. Ooops. I ran downstairs to bring breakfast up for the kids while he rushed to get ready. He went off to meetings and we swam. Back to the room we rushed to get cleaned up and out of their before checkout time. Then we explored. Kearney has some great bike trails. A really good Tractor Supply and a Runza. Guess where we ate when we picked him up for lunch 😉

After lunch we went to see the sights. I found Fort Kearney when I looked up things to do. It was deserted and wonderful. There are none of the buildings still standing like Fort Robinson, but there is a rebuilt fort building. It is old and rickety, covered in moss and starting to deteriorate although it is not historically old only perhaps what is kindly called vintage. The kids ran and played and climbed trees. It reminded me of playing in Nebraska City as a kid running around Arbor State Historical Park. Lots of room to run and trees to play in, no need for toys or an official playground, nature provided.

It was cold though so we finally called it quits. Further down the road was river access and real playgrounds but they were cold and tired and didn’t want to get out again. So we, easily, found the archway. It was only visible over the interstate from everywhere we went.

Outside, in the parking lot, was a huge maze. We really didn’t need to go in, this was entertainment enough. Still cold though, so we ran through a few times then headed for the building. First we found some statues that diverted us for awhile. Finally making it to the door, it was amazing. Well worth the propaganda and fuss made about it. The kids were terrified, they clung to my legs all the way through and we didn’t get to read much of the stories. It was still impressive, I could have spent much more time there.

Once through we went back outside to explore and ended up back on the bike trail we had walked on before lunch. About then we got the call wondering where we were? Were we almost back to pick him up yet? We weren’t. After finally getting back to pick him up we started the long tired drive home. We had a great time, not so sure about him. We got to play, he had to sit through conferences both boring and interesting. We decided he should attend as many more as he can, as long as he chooses ones in interesting places. like, you know, Kearney 🙂

Happy Halloween ’17

What can I say, It was perfect!