Friday, August 30, 2013

Fit To Be Tie-Dyed

As part of our fair craft making, I decided to let the kids try their hands at tie-dying. I haven't tie dyed since my Brownie Girl Scout days, let's just say it's been awhile.

We bought a tie dye kit from Amazon and followed the directions carefully. One kit easily dyed our 7 shirts and I think we could have done an additional 3. I don't believe it would have come close to doing 15 adult shirts {per package directions}.  This kit had completely different directions than the method I used as a child. I much prefer this route. I remember boiling and only dying one color at a time. We also received a few pointers from Mrs. Jennifer.

After soaking the shirts in the soda ash, I wrung them out and gave each child their shirt in a disposable foil pan. The directions in the package gave a few folding techniques and I researched some on the Internet. The easiest folds seemed the be the spiral and roll. We wrapped lots of rubber bands around the shirts but they weren't tight, so none of our design came from the rubber bands.

Despite our efforts to make it as "un-messy" as possible we still managed to dye hands, feet, and clothing. Mary Claire didn't even get to make a shirt and still managed to get dye on her dress.

The gloves and smocks did help, but next time I'll set up a table and let everyone pull up a chair. The individual pans were a lifesaver. When we were finished I stacked them all together and dropped them in the outdoor trash can.

The nicest thing about the kit was the squirt bottles. I think it kept most of the kids {Ben excluded ;-)} from getting carried away with the dye. It came with three dye colors {Red, Blue and Yellow} and an empty bottle to mix another color. The kids voted and green was the winning fourth color. Of course, as a homeschooling mom I had to turn the color mixing process into a learning opportunity. In the future I'll have some additional bottles so we might be able to make some more colors.

We took turns passing each bottle around from youngest to oldest. Since I couldn't leave Mary Claire and Liberty out of the fun of matching shirts, I made one for each of them.

After the shirts were dyed to each child's desires, we tied them up tightly in WalMart sacks. The directions said to leave them for 12 - 24 hours. We left ours around 26 hours and unfolded them the next night after supper.

Mrs. Jennifer suggested we hang the shirts in trees to dry. I couldn't reach any of our tree limbs and pregnant ladies have no business on ladders :-), so we hung them in  the shop. I don't plan to wash them before the fair so the colors stay vibrant. Next time we head to the zoo or children's museum, be on the look out for the adorable kids in tie dye. :-)

 Henry's Shirt
 Ben's Shirt

 Griffin's Shirt

 Ty's Shirt
Madisyn's Shirt

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Family That Works Together . . .

stays together. Kent and I have always taken the opportunity to work with our children whenever possible. We want them to appreciate work and realize that it's part of life. If you develop a positive attitude towards work early, it will be beneficial for life.

Our older children do earn money when they work in the family business on auction day as they have replaced other people we paid wages {they also don't earn full adult pay}, but most of their "work" is unpaid. We're all part of the same family and what benefits the family as a whole, benefits each member.

Of course, all work isn't drudgery and working with our children is a great way to accomplish a task and spend time together. They have also learned lots of valuable skills for life. Ty is learning to be a competent equipment operator and Madisyn is learning how to run the office.

Even before Papaw passed away the kids fondly talked about past auctions and how they worked with him. Those memories are even more sweet now that he is no longer here with us.  When you own a family business, family and business are intricately woven together.

There are a lot more opportunities to work than to play in life. If you can learn to find the joy in work, life will be more pleasant. If you're always counting down the days until you have a day off, life will become intolerable.

It seems lately that we've had several comments about our children being good workers and how lucky we are that they have such a good work ethic. I am very proud of our children. They are not perfect and they are all still in a training period.  I don't mention any of this to brag on them or on ourselves. I want to share the "secret".

First, luck has nothing to do with it. Everything we have is a blessing from God. Furthermore, Proverbs 22 : 6 says, "Train up a child in the way he should go". They have their strong work ethic because of training. When they were 2 or 3, Daddy let them help. As long as they can remember, they've helped with the auction business but also folded laundry, wiped off counters, and swept floors. They didn't do the job perfectly the first time and rarely complete it perfectly now, but they are learning. We are training them {along with Unc, Nana, Mammie, Granddaddy and Papaw}.  All of us {children and adults} aren't finished and are very much still in the process.

Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.
Proverbs 20:11
You may wonder where the other children were while the auction was being set up . . .

they weren't quite as diligent as their older sister and brother, but they're still learning.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

First Camping Trip

My dad has been working on restoring an Airstream camper. He finished it recently and decided it was time for its maiden voyage.

Since the camper hadn't been totally tested, he decided to try a short trip to a park close by. He and Mom choose to visit a state park near our home and let the kids join them. Since none of our children have ever been camping, we packed up and drove over.

Because six children were going to be staying there is only one camper, a tent was in order. Mom and Dad had the rest of the campsite set up but waited for the kids to set up the tent. Again, this was a first experience for the kids.

They all grabbed a corner to help spread it out and then came the fun part. They used a hammer to drive the stakes! Everyone Ben's age and up had a turn and they all enjoyed it. Too bad cleaning your room isn't as exciting. ;-)

Ty is as tall if not taller than Mom so he was big enough to help raise the sides. For his first time ever, he did a great job! It did take him a bit to realize how the poles slid apart and then locked into place but he was a quick study.

After the tent was up, the kids all got a good laugh at Granddaddy saying it was really old because Mommy used it. Ty did come to my defense and said that it was that old and didn't look too bad. I'm sure he meant that as a compliment. LOL

The next order of business was swimming. I have tried and tried to get the boys to wear flip flops for going back and forth to water. I guess when you wear boots everyday, something between your toes just isn't comfortable. So they often look like this when heading to the water.

They were able get a campsite near the water and took off for the beach. The kids had a great time and loved camping!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Fair is Coming, The Fair is Coming

The local county fair is coming! In just a couple of short weeks, fair time will begin. Each year the homeschooled kids in our  4-H club get together for a craft day before the fair.

This was our first year to make it and we'll be back next year. :-) Liberty didn't make any crafts but she started standing all on her own! She hasn't done it since so I may have to send her to live with Mrs. Jennifer until Libby figures out how to walk. The fact that she isn't afraid of standing is a great start!

I knew some of the crafts would be suitable for the older kids so Henry and Mary Claire found a corner to play in. Henry made a whole stack of cards with Toy Story stickers and crayons. If you haven't picked up an original "Henry", you are missing out.

What else would Mary Claire possibly want to use but Minnie Mouse stickers? Kent and I were discussing how funny it is that kids pick some character and become obsessed with it. We think Mary Claire likes Minnie Mouse, because Minnie wears pink, has a big bow and wears great shoes! I guess Minnie will join Thomas as a not allowed baby name. {Which is kind of funny because I have a great-grandmother whose name was Minnie.}

The kids began with the hardest craft. They used plastic canvas, fishing line and beads to make wind socks. Poor Ben just doesn't quite have the coordination to thread fishing line but he tried really hard. He didn't quite get done so we'll finish his at home.

The next craft they tackled was making towel bunnies. The boys weren't overly impressed until the person giving the directions said, "Stop here if you want to make it a girl, keep going to make it a boy." Once they knew it was a boy bunny - their whole opinion changed.

After the fair, you'll have to stop by and visit our bunny family. That's one thing about 5 kids making the same craft, we end up with an entire collection!

Henry and Mary Claire were so excited to participate in the next craft. Jenna helped them make a greeting card using construction paper, markers and duct tape. Henry loves Jenna and enjoys finding her picture in the paper. When she sat down beside him and helped him with his craft, he was over the moon. He is so proud of his card that Jenna helped him make.

Monday, August 26, 2013

First Official Field Trip of the Year

Each year when the public schools in our state start school, we take a field trip. Typically, we've been doing school for 6 weeks. We take a little trip to celebrate our way of schooling. Another reason we started this tradition is that no one misses the first day of school, so everything is vacant.

This year we visited the Children's Museum of Memphis. They installed a splash park this year and we decided that we were way behind on visiting.

This was the first time I had taken the kids to a splash park of any kind. Madisyn and Ty were a bit big for it, but since it was pretty much just us it didn't really matter.

It was much more enjoyable for me than a pool because no one was going to drown. ;-) I was able to place a chair in the shade and just watch.

Mary Claire made a couple of friends. She loves to get around other little girls. However, she doesn't say much and just stands by them. Later she'll talk about her new "friends" but she never said a word to them.

There was lots of squealing and laughing as the water sprayed them in the face.

Liberty didn't really care for the water. There wasn't any for her to sit in and it was a bit cold. Luckily for her non-walking self , big brothers and sisters didn't leave her out of the fun.

Who says the baby of the family get ignored? :-)

The bigger kids enjoyed the feature than dumped a few gallons them. The water was cold and the temps were only in the mid-80s so it was quite a shock when the water hit.

This was Libby's favorite hang out. She much preferred crawling all over the towels and shoes to getting wet.