Archives for posts with tag: campfire

This morning was definitely a test in patience. Suffice it to say that I had a three hour issue with the post office, that involved going to more than one post office, before I finally got a solution. I was pretty upset. I don’t really have three hours to waste, when I’m studying for finals and B has homeschool to get done. My biggest annoyance was that I’d been planning on walking for an hour and had to scrap that because I wasn’t sure we’d get homeschool done otherwise.

And then, after taking a breather, and realizing it wasn’t that big of a deal, we headed to the park to meet up with some other homeschoolers so the kids could play. The weather wasn’t picture perfect, it was drizzly and wet and cold, but the kiddos didn’t mind, and Brooks had a blast. What could be better? And best of all, I got a good long walk in.

So the day was looking up for sure.

We came home to do some arts and crafts and play some board games. Today’s Advent Tree Activity was to create a handprint Santa. We’ve made one of these before, but they’re awfully cute, and I had to have one. B was a good sport about the whole thing.

handprint Santa

Afterwards, while his hand still had wet white paint on it, he made a few handprint snowmen ornaments to hand out to the grands and greatgrands. I got the idea off of this blog:

Silly Willy

Placing the ornament just so to get the snowmen on the right end

handprint snowmen glass ornaments

They turned out so well that I had B make one for us to keep. He had a blast making these and thought the snowmen awfully cute. That makes two of us.

We also made a big batch of gingerbread inspired playdough. The recipe we found didn’t have any molasses in it. I thought that criminal because it’s called gingerbread playdough, so we added some to our batch, plus ground cloves for added smell factor. True to B’s nature he begged to taste the dough, and then immediately spit it out. I think it’s hilarious he always does that. He always thinks that the newest batch will somehow not taste overly salty.

And we finished off the day with our Campfire friends. We’re gearing up for our Bowl-A-Thon Charity Fundraiser. The kiddos are super excited and I think it’s a great way for them to raise funds and have fun serving their community.

making salt dough ornaments with campfire friends

The kiddos also went through another lesson on impov, made salt dough ornaments to take home, and played games with balloons. Some how an hour is never enough for our meetings, and it always goes by way too fast. I remain incredibly thankful for B’s Campfire group and the friends he’s made as a result. It’s always the highlight of my week, for sure.

The Boy was thirsty somehow from all the ornament making

So, now I’m going to do a quick post Campfire clean up, bake a batch of cookies (once D Brooks comes home, these late evening cookie fests will go by the way side, for sure and for certain), and watch The Christmas Carol on the Netflix. Even though the day started rotten it sure ended up pretty sweet.


After a rough day I was looking forward to today. Sometimes a good nights sleep is all I need to get out of a melancholy mood. Thankfully today was Sunday and since I’m driving (though, without my doctor’s permission) the kiddos and I headed to church.

Little B really enjoys the services at our old church so I figured that it might do us both some good to head out to Belton to the Assemblies of God out that way. The youth service is pretty dynamic. Brooks enjoys the worship, the silly puppets, the games… you all get the picture. But what I love the most is that he really gets some Bible instruction. I can always ask him after a service what he’s learned and I’m always blown away by the lessons taught to these kids.

After church we headed home so I could tinker in the yard. Tinker because it takes me half a day to do much of anything. It took me an hour to lay down three bags of mulch; sad, but true. The kiddos played outside on the driveway and kept me entertained with their antics.

What they were most excited about was heading to the Killeen Skate Palace for Campfire’s Skate party. Little Brooks really enjoys his campfire peers and has made some amazing friendships along the way. And of course, both kiddos were ubber excited to go skating.

Marilyn had a tough go at first, but boy, was she resilient. She kept at it and kept trying and loving every second and by the time we left she was skating pretty darn well. I was proud of her and it was pretty neat to see such a big smile on her face.

Brooks took turns between whizzing from one end to the other to attempting to do tricks: jumps, turns, etc. It’s pretty brave of him because he’s no expert by any means, but it’s def cute to watch.

All in all, we had a great day. And we were so busy I didn’t have time to reflect on my own sadness. I swear, staying busy is a necessity during deployments. I’m so thankful for all of Brooks’ activities and the friends that enrich our lives. I’m looking forward to another day.

I really and truly love Fridays. I get a kick out of our Campfire meetings, probably as much as the kiddos do, if not more. And today was the first day I could actually move around while the kiddos were here, so I was pretty psyched about that.

So after a full day of homeschooling and some outdoor play (Brooks is currently fascinated with his skateboard, so he takes any chance he can to go out and practice) we got ready for our campfire meeting.

We started working on a new emblem… and our lesson today was all about fitness. The kiddos enjoyed the lesson, though I know they loved the Brainpop movie more because not one of them says a peep during the whole thing. They are like statues.

For fun I put on some 80’s music and each child took turns coming up with different exercises based on what we had learned in our lesson. The kiddos had a blast, and loved that they were able to dictate and lead parts of the workout routine. I tried my best to keep up, but really, some of the stuff they were coming up with was just crazy hard for my gimpy foot.

After a quick water break we tried playing a round of Fitness Pictionary (these children love Pictionary). The rules are the same as regular Pictionary, except that your teammates must jog in place while guessing during the drawing phase, and must continue to jog in place until they figure out what was drawn. The kiddos got a kick out of this and didn’t want to stop, except that we needed to squeeze some Wii play into the whole thing.

Big Brooks bought us Michael Jackson the experience shortly before he left. It’s pretty addictive and honestly, you get a good workout from the whole thing. We had a few MJ fans in the group, so everyone was really excited. And afterwards, exhausted. I call that a perfect ending to a perfect day.

The boys were pretty psyched about their campout today. As much as they were enjoying spending time at the house they were pretty ready to go by the time Ms Steph came to pick us up.

I was pretty excited too. And apprehensive. For one, I knew I wasn’t going to be much help. And planning extra activities for my kiddos just wasn’t going to happen. I barely got my homework done this week. But really my biggest concern was the amount of time we were going to be up and around. I’ve been pretty good about resting, and really where was I going to rest my foot?!

Thankfully I’ve been able to keep my foot up most of the time. But I’m even more pleased that the kiddos have had so much fun. There are few things I find more enjoyable then camping over the weekend. And spring, in Texas, is one of the best times to get out and camping.

We got to the campout super early since we all knew I wasn’t going to be much, if any, help. The kiddos played on the tire swings, explored, and had a blast on the playset.

When the campout finally officially began the kiddos enjoyed group games, a science experiment, a nature project, and they each made their own snacks. Best of all, the kiddos got to spend time together.

Although I’m tired and my foot sore and swollen, we’ve had an enjoyable day. I really enjoy working with the kids and look forward to days like today.

What a difference today has been. Although I’m not still 1oo percent back to my good ol’ self, today was the first day since my surgery where I truly felt like myself again. I’ve had to take things slow, and it does take me three times as long to get anything done, even with Brooksy’s help.

Because I felt better, and the weather’s been gorgeous, the boy and I went out to the yard to play after lunch. I’m kind of immobile, in that I can’t run around and play, but we made the best of it. We played a game with a small kite that Brooks had, trying to hit targets in the yard. We also played a game of catch, though when I missed my balls Brooks had to fetch them for me.

Brooks was glad to be outside playing. It’s really rare for us to not play outside everyday, so I know Brooks has been missing it.

After our outdoor play we came in to work on some art. I found an art project on Twig and Toadstool that I thought Little B might enjoy. It involved a watercolored paper cut into the shape of a butterfly and which tissue paper had been used in cut outs on the paper. The project was pretty cute and I thought The Boy might enjoy making a creature or monster with the same technique. Instead, he chose to make two turtles, one for himself, and one for Big Brooks.

He started by painting with watercolors two sheets of paper.

After we let them dry for a few minutes he sketched turtles on them.

I then helped him cut some of the shapes out.

Then he used tissue paper cut outs to paste onto the open areas.

Brooksy loved this project and really enjoy adding the tissue paper best, I’d say.

Because today is Friday, and we knew our Campfire kiddos were missing having meetings we didn’t cancel today’s meeting. Knowing I wasn’t well enough to create a lesson play and compile supplies we chose to make Goop with the kiddos and play some outdoor games.

The kiddos were so excited to create Goop that we started with that. Ms. Steph was super kind and stopped at Hobby Lobby to pick up jars for each child.

The kiddos took jars of glue and poured one cup into a big bowl. Then they added 3/4 cup of water to the glue and each child added two drops of food coloring (we chose blue for the first batch, yellow for the second). In a seperate bowl we made a thick paste of about 1/4 cup borax and water. We added that to the first mixture and it turned into Gook. Each child was given a portion of it to play with  and to later put into their jar.

The kiddos loved the Goop so much that when everyone left Brooks and Jason (who’s spending the night) played with their for at least an hour.

After the Goop making and cookies we headed outside to play group games. We didn’t have much time so we did two games: Catch the Dragon’s Tail and Blazerball. They can be found at this website:

Catch the Dragon’s Tail was fun. The kiddos lined up, hands on shoulders. The last person placed a tea towel in their pocket, with the objective being that the “head”had to catch the tail by pulling the tea towel. There were lots of spills and giggles in this game!

Blazerball was a hoot too. We divided up into boys vs. girls. Each team had a home base, designated by orange cones. In each home area there were four balls. Each child was given a tea towel which they had to keep in their pocket. When I gave the call each side ran like mad to try and get/keep all the balls in their base. If someone snatched their tea towel they were out of the game, and each home area was a safety area for the opposing team, for ten seconds.

This game was super fun and the kiddos ran around, giggling and laughing, shouting and hooting. The boys won both times, though the girls were outnumbered by one.

All in all, it’s been a great day. We were able to talk to Brooks a few times today, and even got to do Facetime with him. Seeing him smile makes anything better, I swear. We were able to catch him up on everything we’ve done since we spoke with him yesterday.

And now Little B and his best bud Jason are playing, enjoying each other’s company and another sleepover. Their currently giggling like crazy in Brooks’ room. Every now and then peals of laughter erupt from his room, and as sore as my foot is I can’t help but smile.


Life is good.

This weekend we’re supposed to be heading to Belton for a Campfire campout, followed by a day trip to Austin to enjoy the Kite Festival. The Boy and I are ubber excited. I’m doubly excited because the following week my sister is flying to San Antonio and we’ll get to spend some time with her. These distractions are wonderful. They keep me focused on today instead of thinking of all the days to fill without my better half.

All week I’ve been working on my assignments for two of my college classes. I’m officially on Spring Break next week and for some reason my professors ramped up our assignments this week. So I’ve got twice the work due in the same amount of time. Knowing that tomorrow I wouldn’t be able to work on my assignments I decided that after homeschooling The Boy I would focus on my schoolwork and he could do some free play.

I love listening to Brooks play. His imagination can be pretty wild, and I love the things he comes up with and the character’s he creates. It always reminds me of something he told me when he was three, that when he slept he “had stories in his eyes.” So today while I was studying and trying really, really hard not to get distracted I heard him playing in his room and snapped this picture:

I wanted so badly to join him on the floor and play too, but it’s good for him to keep busy, and I really had a lot on my plate, so I was content to watch him quietly from the door for a few minutes.

Although I knew we were doing an art project during Campfire I got some paper, scissors and glue out for Little B so he could work on some paper monsters. I can’t find the blog I got the idea off of now, so I’ll have to add that later in case anyone wants to check it out.

BB loves monsters. It’s one of his favorite things. Some of his other passions have come and gone but monsters have been his thing for a while, kind of like his zeal for filling notebooks full of drawings. Brooks also LOVES cutting paper. He’ll do it for long stretches of time. He jumped right into this project. First he helped cut out lots of different shapes and then he began to assemble his monsters. Here’s a little bit of his process:

Tonight, being Friday, is our Campfire meeting night. I had decided to invite all the kiddos to join us for an indoor picnic of mac and cheese, hot dogs, and Paula Deen’s wicked corn casserole. The kiddos came with hearty appetites and enjoyed eating dinner while being able to spend some time with their friends. Afterwards we did a lesson on paint and watched a Brainpop movie on the same subject.

As a side note, I absolutely adore Brainpop. Obviously, I may be a bit biased because I homeschool and find the short videos great supplements for lessons and subjects covered. In all honesty though, Little B and I love nothing more than curling up on the coach with blankets, the laptop between us, as we take turns choosing which video we’ll watch next, often pausing a video at funny parts so we can laugh hysterically and rewind to watch the whole thing again.

What I find fascinating is that my kiddos, which number 11, will be so full of energy and excitement that sometimes it takes a little bit to get them to settle down so we can begin our lessons and activities or projects. If I happen to play a Brainpop video… forget about it. They are all as still as statues, not one peep out of any of them. It’s as fast as flicking a switch on or off. It always cracks me up!

I had planned on working with the kiddos on Campfire’s National Art Competition, which this year was using paint as a medium. I had done some string painting with Brooks recently and thought the kiddos might like it. The process is simple, fun, and engaging. I was so pleased that the kiddos had such fun exploring with the string and trying different methods to make their art pieces. One of the boys used the string to flick paint on the paper and ended up with a very Jackson Pollock looking piece. The girls ended up using their hands more than the string, engaging their knuckles, fingertips, and even forks to paint.

And now Brooks is enjoying another sleepover with his bestest buddy Jason. They have been running around, laughing, pretending, talking, and just all around enjoying each other’s company.

I love the sound of their laughter and the energy they emit. They probably won’t sleep much tonight. But that’s okay. Days like today are meant to be enjoyed to the fullest.

Today, The Boy and I headed to Fire Station number 3 in Killeen for a quick field trip with our local homeschool co-op. We were able to chat with D.Brooks for a bit in the morning, did a half day of homeschooling and headed out to fire station. Honestly, when I signed us up to attend the field trip I wasn’t expecting much. We’ve toured several fire stations before, and done the whole: sit in the cab, take the picture, get a flimsy, red, plastic fireman’s hat, don’t forget your coloring book routine. And we enjoy it, don’t get me wrong… it’s just always the same. So when we left this morning I was expecting more of the same and was pleasantly surprised by a whole different fire station tour.

The firefighters at Station Three were absolutely wonderful. They took their time showing the kiddos all the implements necessary to do their jobs, answered questions in their entirety, were funny, engaging, and brimming with information. We learned so much today, from the fact that most of their calls are not fire related, to exactly how the jaw’s of life work, to the in’s and out’s of their schedules. After showing us their vehicles and the clothing they must wear to keep safe while fighting fires, they took us inside the firehouse to tour their home. We were able to check out their kitchen, living room, bedroom, and even their bathroom. They told the kiddos about a typical work day schedule, spoke about their training, and gave us some insight to the things that make their jobs tough.

One of the firefighters made a great point in that they said that they are paid for what they can do, not what they do, because each shift is different and sometimes you don’t get called out much. It was an insightful trip and we were so glad we made it out today. It’s wonderful spending time with real heroes, and people who are extremely dedicated to what they do. Their passion for their profession is evident in all they do. Little Brooks even said after leaving that he may want to fight fires when he gets bigger, funny little man that he is.

We returned home to work on baking some goodies up for D.Brooks’ care packages. I know Brooks prefers to eat healthy, but most baked goods just aren’t. I did try to appease his preference for healthy foods by making him homemade granola and carob wheat walnut brownies. The brownies are ridiculous. The recipe only produced nine brownies so I split one with the boy, to taste test… of course. I was half tempted to taste test another, just to make sure, but then I felt bad, so I didn’t. We also whipped him up some peanut butter chocolate chip cookies that are moist, chewy, and super duper tasty. Yay for care packages!

Brooks was able to settle into his room today, which included hooking up his internet. I have to say after four deployments that I wasn’t expecting much from his in-room internet connection. I think it was his last deployment that he had a satellite or some contraption on top of his room to help with the connection and it wasn’t a huge improvement. I am super pleased that his internet was hooked up quickly and that the connection is wonderful. How wonderful for both him, and us, that he’s able to call several times a day, from chatting online to video phone calls. Seeing him is an unbelievable gift, and makes it feel likes he’s here with us, partaking in our day to day, a simple phone call away. Yay for great internet connections!

Today, being Friday and all, is our Campfire USA club meeting. We were doing a lesson on Pets for our Environmental Emblem and I had told the kiddos they could bring their pets to show and tell. I was tickled pink that we ended up with five dogs, a tarantula, four hermit crabs, and some gold fish. The kiddos had a great time telling their club mates all about their pets and did a wonderful job taking and answering questions. Campfire time always flies by! I always feel like an hour just isn’t enough to get all our activities in, and sure enough while playing a game we realized we’d gone over our scheduled time. Thankfully our parents are super understanding and we were able to squeeze in a snack. I think the kiddos had as much fun as I did. And the best part? Brooks called right at the end to say good night!

It’s the perfect ending to a perfect day!


Not to sound mean, but my husband can’t fix many things. At least not around this house. Perhaps, and I might be leaning more this way, he just chooses not to, I’m not quite sure, but thankfully we don’t experience too many of those instances where a handy man would be, well… handy. And when things break down, and they inevitably do, I call my mom and she either walks me through it or, and this occurs more often than not, we wait for her to visit so she can fix it.

My mother is amazingly handy. I think she got it from being a military spouse. Hmm… wonder when I’ll get that fix-it genius bestowed upon me. She can also clear out housing perfectly, white glove test and all. She’s amazing.

Getting back to my husband. My dear, sweet husband, who happens to be handy-less. Since I don’t rely on my soldier to fix too many items around here, and because we’ve somehow lucked out, I’ve yet to experience a “he deployed and (enter random yet much needed/used item here) broke” moment. The closest I came to was a leaky pipe in our last apartment, which I just chose to live with because my landlords husband, the “handy man” proved himself to be as abled as my spouse in the area of fixing things. I was waiting for my mom to come fix that, but it was taking her longer than normal and I got tired of waiting because the funky smell under the sink was getting to be too much.  I googled that sucker and miracle of miracles, was able to replace all the plumbing under the sink, all by my lonesome, and fixed it! Perhaps there is some hope that my mom’s handiness will be bestowed upon me.

Which brings me to my moment.

Little Brooks’ bestest friend decided to spend the night after our Campfire meeting tonight. He hadn’t brought any clothes with him, so I told his mom I would drive by afterwards and pick up an overnight bag. Too easy, except that as we all got buckled in the car and got ready to go, the car wouldn’t start. It made the weirdest, whirring noises ever. My car is two years old. Two  years! We don’t buy used because I like knowing my cars won’t have mechanical problems. I keep the maintenance up to date (yup, me) and follow all the recommendations in the little book thing in the dash. After repeatedly trying to start the car, while cringing at the awful  noises being produced by my car, the engine finally started. I of course, A. called my mother, who then B. told me to call my father. I guess mechanical issues aren’t her forte, like painting walls without taping or covering anything with tarps, or rewiring electrical sockets (she has taught me that the easiest way to unclog a toilet is to let some Dawn soap down the toilet, and after sitting for a while the whole yucky, clogged up mess goes right down the plumbing – genius)!

Of course, Toyota would be closed.

Hopefully the car restarts tomorrow… oh sugar!

For those wondering, I did maintain my PJ day, until right before Campfire was to start. The Boy and I had a relaxing morning, though we did do some homeschool, much to his chagrin. He thought my day of rest and relaxation didn’t include teaching him. Silly boy.

My favorite parts of the day were spending time with my boy. We did an air resistance race outside since it was so nice out. We took the lids off the recycling bins and timed each other racing around fixed points. We took three measurements of time: once running normally, once running with our arms fixed at our sides, and once with the lids so that it would create a whole lot of resistance. It was Little B’s idea to run with our arms fixed at our sides. He didn’t think it would be very scientific to run with our arms pumping, which he felt would give us a better time, when our arms had to be stationary while running with the recycling bin lids. He had a solid argument so we tried all three. Yes, I did sneak in some homeschooling into this activity, and though I personally didn’t learn anything new about science… I did learn that my child is faster than me at running… weird… aren’t my legs longer… shouldn’t I just be somewhat faster by default?

For those interested I got that activity from a book titled, Mudpies to Magnets.

We also did a paper “walk” contest indoors. This is super easy. We’ve done it before and it always makes us laugh. The object of the game is to get from one side of the room to the other while only walking on paper. You only get two sheets, so you have to step on one and place the other in front of you, and so forth. We timed these races and I actually had Brooks beat but the silly boy wasn’t pleased with that and kept practicing until his time was better than  mine. I also learned something from this activity… I need to get back into shape. I was hurting so bad by our third run. We both laughed like crazy though, since you sometimes find yourself in the craziest positions while trying to get to the end mark quickly.

Since it was so nice out today we also did a Dice Walk. Little Brooks did not want to walk, though, as he got a trike for Christmas that he is loving. I had to set a time limit on our walk since we had Campfire kiddos coming sooner than later, but it was still an adventure and we found ourselves in parts of our neighborhood we had yet to explore.

And now The Boy and his friend are laughing and being silly. I don’t take today for granted and am so thankful for the wonderful day we’ve had. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings; hopefully it brings a working car. The boys are not showing any signs of exhaustion. They could probably stay up until tomorrow. And sadly, I may do the same as I drank too much Coke, yet again.