Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sick of Cheesecake?

After making four different cheesecakes in honor of National Cheesecake Week last week (for the sake of the recipe blog of course),  someone recently asked if I was sick of cheesecake yet. 

Hmmmm.....let me think. 

Breakfast                                                                                          Lunch


 Dinner                                                                                   Midnight Snack 



Nope.  Not yet. 

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Best Babysitter in Town



Cami is quite the in-demand babysitter these days and it was sweet to see her this week with three of her little babysitting friends, while she babysat them four of five days at our house.  It made it easy to see why she stays booked (and why her bank account is significantly bigger than the average 14-year-old's) when I saw how much the kids all adored her and how patient she was with them.  

 I think there are going to be a lot of sad parents (and kids) with the commencement of Cami's new schedule in a few weeks.... high school, early morning seminary, and after-school sports are certainly going to put a little damper in her availability.    And of course, we always get dibs on the best babysitter in town.  :)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Tough Boys...

When it gets hot like this: 

20%



most people search for ways to stay cool...

 but not my tough boys...

they're on a Boy Scout high adventure....

probably not looking quite so chipper and clean now that they're four days into their 70+ mile hike on the Appalachian Trail.    Actually Glen might not be too grimy yet, since he only left this afternoon and was meeting the boys with a cooler filled with dry ice, popsicles, and ice cream, but I imagine that it won't take too long hiking in tomorrow's temps before he's as drippy and smelly  as the boys. 
Of course, if you need me the next couple of 100+ degree days,  don't go looking on any hiking trails.  You can find me either in our air conditioned house sipping cold water or driving kids around in our air conditioned car or most likely in an air conditioned store shopping for more school supplies. 

****

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Thus it Begins....



School supply shopping for 170. 


I'm not sure how I get myself into these large, time consuming projects time after time after time...


but I definitely learned a few things from last year's experience (like getting an earlier start, not trying to do everything myself, and not storing everything at my house) and am hoping that this year will go much smoother.   


Here's a little glimpse at this year's shopping list:
1900 glue sticks
3500 pencils
387 composition notebooks
160 pairs of scissors
149 boxes of Kleenex
149 containers of Clorox wipes
144 boxes of crayons
207 highlighters
179 large pink erasers
76 rulers
84 packs of markers
76 packs of colored pencils
224 bright felt tip marking pens
plus many, many more items. 

I know, I know.  It's apparent that I need to get my head checked, but I'm  looking at it from the optimistic point of view in that I do this now for the PTA and I've done my duty for the whole year!  


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Hotter than....

It's the middle of summer
and the heat is a bummer.
In just one step outside
the sweat is sure to abide.


One hundred and six degrees
makes us long for a breeze
and a chance to relax
and to rest our sticky backs. 


So how hot it is it you ask?
Well not to boast or bask,
but as my dad is fond to tell
the weather lately is hotter than....
GLEN!!! 



Haha. Enough with the rhyming and the goofy timing, now it's time to tell my story which luckily isn't at all gory.  On Monday I drove 180 miles and took my Cami, all full of smiles, down to EFY (Especially For Youth is a church camp for kids ages 14-18, held at Southern Virginia University).   She was awfully happy and looking pretty snappy with her roomies Katy and Katelyn.  (okay, now I'm really done rhyming)

Then I made the random discovery that there was still room for walk-ons to join in the EFY fun.  We'd thought that Spencer had a big lacrosse camp that week, so we'd never signed him up, but now his week was open and we thought, "What the heck?"  So I drove the 180 miles back home, picked him up, and drove him back to arrive at EFY at 10:30pm.  Since the kids and I had had a very long day in the car,  we decided to get a hotel room there in Lexington and make Tuesday into a sight-seeing day on the way home.  So where do you go when it's hotter than Glen outside? 

You go underground!! 


We hadn't been to Luray Caverns in years and years, so it was a completely new experience for the three kids.  We all enjoyed being out of the hot sun for an hour or two and the kids were very interested in this beautiful underground world! 
My pictures are all funky with the low-light, but it was better than using the flash and not being able to clearly capture  the beauty of the formations. 
It was truly amazing to see a whole underground world beneath our feet.
After the caverns, we tried out the nearby hedge maze, ate ice cream, and took the scenic route home!


Although it was a lot of driving back-and-forth, it ended up being well worth every second of it. Spencer and Cami both came back from EFY on Saturday literally glowing and excited about the experiences they'd had and the friends they'd made.  

And the trip turned out to be a fun memory maker for Emma, Adam, Ellie, and I as well!   Now if I could just get my shirt unstuck from my back, I think I'll go to bed.  :)


******

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Nature in Action

Normally I do not willingly accept insects into our home, but when a friend offered us some luna moth cocoons a few weeks ago I actually got kind of excited about it.  Her family had purchased some from a company, overwintered them, hatched them, then raised the new eggs from caterpillars to cocoons again.  It was at this point that she offered five of them for us to adopt. 

Luckily they are pretty low maintenance as cocoons and our only expense was buying this mesh laundry hamper to keep the cocoons in and to allow room for them to fly a little after they hatched.

We set their little habitat up in the corner of our dining room, so we could keep a close eye on them.  We'd hear an occasional little rustle here and there, but  for the most part they were pretty boring at first.  After a couple of weeks we noticed them wiggling and squirming more and more, but still no moths.  Finally one day last week we returned from an outing to find that two of them had hatched while we were out.    Although we were initially a little disappointed to miss the hatching process in action, the kids were still quite excited by the beautiful moths.  At this point the kids couldn't keep their eyes off of the hamper, so it was with great excitement that a few days later they noticed another one of the cocoons going crazy.  We brought it into the backyard, set up the camera and started watching....




We were in complete awe as we watched the final step in this luna moth's metamorphosis take place.   


Over the next several minutes we sat enraptured watching it slowly unfurl its wings.  



The kids and Adam in particular, were completely fascinated with the whole process and with their gorgeous wings.  It was a very awe-inspiring experience for us and through it all we couldn't help but marvel at the beauty and wonder of God's creations.

We only intended to keep the moths a day or two after they hatched before setting them free, so imagine our surprise when a mere twelve hours after they hatched we were greeted by this sight. 


After answering a lot of mating questions in the most scientific way possible we patiently awaited for them to part ways before letting them fly away into the wild blue yonder. 
We waited with camera poised for more than an hour to capture the moment they flew away, but alas that moment never came before darkness arrived. 

(These are the eggs that the female moth laid after its little tryst with her brother moth)

Although I still hold a deep and abiding hatred for the little pantry moths that won't seem to ever completely leave our kitchen, we were thrilled to be able to enjoy this little glimpse of nature in action and look forward to a new generation of caterpillars and moths in a month or two.  :)

Thanks Lillian! 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Simple Joys of Summer

Once again I am a little overwhelmed by the myriad of activities that seem to be eating up our summertime.  I had envisioned this summer being a time when I really put my blogging hat back on and started writing interesting posts again, but alas I am not there yet!  So as per usual, here are a few pictures I've taken recently that I felt like really captured the essence of summer.  I love how Ellie will still pose for the camera without complaining and I wish she'd rub a little bit of that off on some of her siblings, so my blog wouldn't look so much like I have a favorite child.  :)  

JOY IS....

Going for a leisurely stroll with a friend....

Trying to catch some minnows in the neighborhood stream ...

Having a pleasant conversation....

Getting a little soaked in the neighborhood stream and not caring a bit....

Running, giggling, and playing....

Splashing down a water slide....

Showing off your sweet swim moves (she got 5th place in backstroke in her last swim meet)....


Holding hands with your new best friend....

Pushing, playing, wrestling....

What are the simple summertime joys you remember from your childhood?  What about now as an adult?


********

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

contest answer

What I need to blog about:

1. two sixes
2.  luna moth mating rituals
3.  trip to creek
4.  star struck at a fireside
5.  trip to waterpark
6. spontaneous day exploring the underworlds
7. bounteous fruits from our garden.....

(never mind I'll just throw this picture in and call the garden post done)




















oh yeah and although I'm rather enjoying all the comments (kind of like the days of yore when I had a brain that functioned and I could write a somewhat witty, well-formed blogpost)  I guess I better put my dad out of his misery and give the answer to my last blogpost since no one was even close to guessing it right (although Mika was the closest).   

The reason for all of our crazy shirts was.....

 that we were trying to laugh and enjoy the stupid waste-of-good-money shirts from Unique, because laughing is way better than being annoyed and stewing over them. 

(sorry dad, you'll just have to read between those cryptic lines) 


**********************

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Half-way...

Have I mentioned lately how much I totally love having 4 of us 8 Crain kids living within an hour of here? 











Because  I really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, love it! 


And I think my kids might love it too.  :)

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