Friday, July 20, 2012

Fire it up!

Every kid wants an IPad.
They see them in school, on TV, in stores... and they want one for their very own.
The only problem?  They are soooooo expensive.
And when our kids want something big like that, we make them save up their own money to buy it (we're mean like that).

It takes a long time to save up that much money when you only earn $5.50 a week.

So what did they choose instead?

A Kindle Fire.

And I think it was a wonderful choice.  At only $169 (refurbished version), it didn't break the bank and with it's smaller size, it's easier for little hands to hold.  Amazon gift cards make for an easy gift from parents and grandparents and can be used for apps to play with or e-books to read.

Parental controls are super easy to set up, making it so that parents have to put in our top secret password before any apps or books can be purchased.  (David thought he would be helpful and asked me to tell him the password so I wouldn't have to be bothered with putting it in for him.  So sweet, but kinda defeats the purpose there, sweetie.)

What else does the Kindle Fire offer?

Why a super cool, awesome box, of course.
Watch this video made with your 9-year-old host to find out what a Kindle Fire box is good for.

 (Julie wanted me to add that you have to cut the flaps off the top of the box to make the lid close.)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Natural Treehouse, Chattanooga style

We love visiting our friends in Chattanooga every summer.  In fact, it's our mini-vacation after our vacation that we look forward to every year.

Chattanooga offers so much to do and we tend to try a new thing each year.  We've done the aquarium, Coolidge Park, visiting the Nina (replica of Columbus's ship) and playing on several of the area playgrounds.

We also vastly enjoy playing with our friends' almost three year old son, Joseph.  He had never been bowling, so this year we decided to be there for his first time.

Isn't he a cutie pie!  
We were also impressed with this ramp.  We'd never seen one before.

It's a little blurry, but I liked the action shot.

We had a girls' day out and played around at Charming Charlie's, ate lunch at Chick-fil-a then bought some cheap books at a local used bookstore.

Playground tire dragon.  Love the look on David's face.

Slip 'n Slide fun

But the most fun thing about our Chattanooga trip?
The natural treehouse.
While we were there, they had a HUGE windstorm.  A tree across the street in a vacant area crashed down.  It didn't hit anything and no permanent damage was done, thankfully.  But more than that, Tim saw that tree and said "I'm taking the kids down there to play."  That was the kind of place he would play when he was a kid.  He was right!  It was a wonderful playground.  The children claimed their own "rooms" in the branches of the tree.  They took me on a tour and proudly showed me their sections.  Their "house" even included a meeting area where they loved to call meetings to discuss important things, like when to go in for drink breaks.  

The meeting place

Overall, we had great fun during our 4 days in Chattanooga and can't wait to visit again.  Thanks, Patti and Jon!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Netgalley: The Amish Bride

The Amish Bride by Mindy Starnes Clark and Leslie Gould

In book 3 of the Women of Lancaster County, Clark and Gould continue the stories of Plain women finding true love and determining their future.

Mennonite Ella Bayer is in love.  She is sure that she will marry her teenage boyfriend, Ezra Gundy, join the Amish church in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and live happily ever after.  There is only one thing standing in her way...her mother... who is just as determined that Ella won't be marrying Ezra after all.

Ezra family, like Ella's mom, is concerned about Ella and Ezra's relationship.  Although Mennonites and Amish are both Plain, they are very different in what they believe.  One of the two young lovers must forsake their heritage to be able to marry the other.

Amid mounting tension, Ezra gets sent to Indiana and away from Ella by his father to learn about Amish dairy farming.  Without her family's permission, Ella runs off to Indiana to join Ezra.  While there, she meets young Amish farmhand, Luke, and strikes up an unlikely friendship with him.  When family tragedy forces her to return to Pennsylvania, Ella must face her past and determine which Amish man will share her future.

My Thoughts:

The Amish Bride was a cute, engaging book.  It kept my attention and had me guessing at the ending up until the last page.  I love the fact that Ella's character is fully Mennonite, embracing all their beliefs, but also fully her own, somewhat rebellious person.  She is real and delightful.

I also loved the ending that the authors chose.  It was not a pat, predictable ending.  It was genuine and unexpected.  It was the ending I would want for my child.

If I were to rank the books in this series in order of my favorites, The Amish Bride would come in second.  It was not as good as the first book, The Amish Midwife but better than the second book, The Amish Nanny.

My one complaint was that there needed to be a family tree in the front of the book to refer to.  I got a little confused trying to keep all the characters and all their family relationships straight.  (There may be a family tree in the print version of the book, but in the Kindle version that I read, there was not.)

I give this book 4 stars out of 5.

I received a complementary Kindle version of this book from Netgalley.  All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Cub Scout Patch Solution

David has been in Cub Scouts for a full year now.  He has progressed from Tiger Cub to Wolf Cub and has learned some great skills in the process.

He has also earned patches, a lot of patches.

When you are in girl scouts, you take those patches and sew (or iron) them onto the girl scout sash.
When you are in cub scouts, you don't.  The cub scout uniform is dressier and "fun patches" can't be put on the dressy uniform.

Therein lies the dilemna...what to do with all the patches.

Then my friend, Erika, gave me a great idea.  She bought a cheap photo album for her son to store all his patches in.

We did the same.

To start, I made David go on a patch hunt and find all the patches that have somehow scattered themselves all across the house.  Then we took bright index cards and taped the patches onto the index cards.  I let him write a few words about each patch, such as "sold over 300 boxes" on the popcorn sales patch.  We slid the index card/patch into the little pockets of the photo album, then taped them shut.  (As a scrapbooker, all the non-photo-safe products were making me cringe, but since there are no photos involved, I got over it.)

Finished product:

A cool, easy place to store current and future patches, as well as a fun project that David can do all by himself.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Summer Fun: T-ball

For the third year in a row, David has participated in a T-ball league, a very low-key, fun T-ball league.

There are no outs, no strikes, everyone keeps swinging til they hit the ball, everyone makes it to first and then they go base by base when others hit the ball to go all around the diamond for a run.

David loves to be the last batter because the last batter gets an automatic homerun (since there is no one hitting after them, and there are no outs).

While I love this league and I love that my boy has a great time playing, I think next year, we are going to try a league with real outs and strikes.

Hitting contest.  David's hit was pretty good.

Sporting the new trophy.

Chilling with Papaw after the game.  Snack time is David's favorite part of the game.