More Memories in Massanutten

We have been having a wonderful time relaxing together as a family and are so thankful for this time away!  Even though my dad could only be with us for the weekend, it has been such a blessing to have my mom here with us for the rest of the week to help out with the little girlie(s) while we do some things with the big kids.  There are certain things that Emma (and sometimes Callie) are unable to participate in due to being too young/short.  Plus certain things would just be too exhausting for especially Emma who still naps.  Since Monday was cold and rainy we took that opportunity to enjoy the indoor water park.  This was such a treat for the kiddos as they had never been to a water park quite like this one!  We decided to take the older 3 all day and just have my mom and the 2 littlest girlies come for the evening.  It ended up working out perfectly since Brian and I could enjoy the big kid slides/tubes during the day with the older 3 since Callie and Emma are too small to ride those.  After walking up 80 stairs to get to the top of where the 5 large slides begin for approximately 4.5 hours we were way more exhausted than our kiddos!  They seemed to have limitless energy, although thankfully every once in awhile they would suggest riding around the “lazy river” on tubes or taking a dip in the hot tub area.  The best part about this water park was the fact that it was practically empty and we didn’t have to ever wait in lines to go down any of the slides!  Of course, this meant absolutely no break in between climbing the steps either!  Here are some pics that give an idea of what the water park is like ….

This shows a lot of the water park
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The entrance/exit to the “lazy river”  
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The center section where the younger kiddos play
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The first section of stairs to climb up to the 5 big water slides
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Where you exit when riding in the 3 large tube slides
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That would be Hailey and Justin coming out!
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A better view now that they aren’t moving so fast
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Where the two non-tube water slides exit … as a side note – one of these is pitch black and while going down it, if anyone actually could’ve heard me they would’ve heard me saying something along the lines of – “I am definitely too old for this!”  I enjoyed the pitch black tube slide, but for some reason this one was a little much for me.  Our kids on the other hand loved the ones that were completely dark!
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Beware of the large bucket of water that dumps periodically
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This little play area with a slide, swings and sprinkler/fountains was perfect for Emma
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Yesterday we had some fun with the 3 biggest kiddos at the mini golf course and on the go-kart track.  Since the rain on Monday, we have had some beautiful fall weather and have been enjoying the outdoors greatly! 

The course
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Our mini-golfers
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Daddy giving helpful instruction on putting
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Surprisingly (just kidding!) my handsome hubby took first place, which is fitting since yesterday was his 35th birthday!  We wanted to make sure that he felt nice and young even though he is not so young anymore!
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Our kids had never been on go-karts and at first were asking all kinds of questions about what it would be like.  After one round they were ready for more! 

The birthday boy and the soon to be 10 year old!
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Uncle Matt and Justin
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Sydney (waiting for me!)
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Today was another beautiful day outside so we decided to take the lift up the mountain and then go on another hike.  Since Callie made the cut-off and was tall enough to be included, we took the 4 oldest kiddos and left Emma back with my mom.  Callie does an amazing job walking/hiking and loves being included with the big kids so it worked out perfectly. 

The ride up
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Trails that will soon be covered with snow
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At the top of Massanutten Peak
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Our family (minus Emma)
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The kids were intrigued by this rock sculpture (and I told Callie to please not knock it over!)
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Daddy and Callie
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Another family shot with the big kids
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Beautiful views from the top of the mountain
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Me and my big kiddos
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Hailey – can’t believe this girl is turning 10 later this month!
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Justin
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Sydney
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Anyone who knows Callie fully understands why Brian kept his hand on her!
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Enjoying the view
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Me and my soon to be 4 year old!
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My girlies who share a birthday later this month – almost 10 and 4!
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This afternoon we took the kiddos to the Nature Center to make t-shirts.  Our kids are very particular with their art projects and spent a large chunk of time making these t-shirts!
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Massanutten – hiking

We are enjoying a wonderful time of relaxation in Massanutten thanks to the generosity of my parents.  Yesterday it was a beautiful day outside so we decided to go for a hike.  We picked a moderate hiking trail that was about 3 miles total which was perfect for the kiddos.  The 4 oldest kids all walked the entire time and even Emma was a champ and walked almost half of the time!  She always amazes us when we go to Longwood Gardens with the amount of walking she does, and this hike was no different.  The kids had fun collecting different kinds of acorns and it was a great opportunity to observe trees and plants, as we have been studying botany in school this year. 

Leading the wayMassanutten 01 004

Hailey
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Our big kid hikers
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Callie
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We had beautiful views the entire time
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Our little hikerMassanutten 01 018
Following the trail  
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Getting a ride from Daddy
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Justin
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Sydney
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Hiking buddies
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Our family
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Beautiful view
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All worn out!
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Gramps and Mimi with the kiddos at the end of our hike
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Me and my love
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Guest Post

Awhile ago, a friend from church asked me to do a guest post on her blog.  At the time, my life was rather busy with homeschooling so I said I would reconsider in the summer.  Well, the summer came and this time when she asked me about writing a post I agreed!  So, head on over to Treasured Up and Pondered and read my post about our journey to eating healthier!  You will also find a fun giveaway and one of our favorite popsicle recipes!

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favorites in the summer.

~Popsicles

I love making popsicles for the kiddos, and this year we picked up some new nifty popsicle molds on amazon.  The kids ask me to make them pretty much every single day, and I’m ok with that since I know exactly what is going into the popsicles.  Here are our favorite molds for making popsicles of all sorts:

Groovy Ice Pop Molds

Star Ice Pop Molds

Rocket Ice Pop Molds

Silicone Ice Pop Maker Set

With the Groovy, Star and Rocket Ice Pop Molds we like making smoothie pops with yogurt and fruit (or sometimes just fruit), ice cream pops with homemade ice cream, orange creamsicle pops, fudge pops and all kinds of other varieties!  With the Silicone Molds we make a homemade yogurt push up pop (kind of like a go-gurt) and also italian ice pops.  These all make the perfect summertime snack!

~Reading

I love reading, and so do my kids that can read.  During the school year we do a ton of reading, however most of it school-related so in the summer the kids love being able to read for extended periods of time.  Hailey has been reading the Chronicles of Narnia and I’ve seen her reading some Little House books too (she pretty much constantly reads those books!).  Justin has been reading the Farm Mystery Series and as well the Building on the Rock Series … two more favorites around here!  As for me, a couple of recent favorites that I finished over the past month include Kisses from Katie and Unplanned.  These were both books that I thoroughly enjoyed!

~Gardening

Every year our garden gets bigger and every year I get more excited about preserving the bounty of our garden.  This was the first year that I was able to get a full spring garden planted and we have loved having all different kinds of greens, snap peas and peas.  Now we are getting excited for tomatoes, peppers, squash, green beans and cucumbers!  I love how much the kids help out and get involved.  Speaking of gardening, this Back to Eden film was really interesting to watch.  Gardening is a ton of work, and yet it is so rewarding and enjoyable at the same time.  I really enjoy all of the fresh produce that comes along with summer! 

~Swimming

We are incredibly blessed to have very kind neighbors who allow us to use their beautiful pool whenever we want.  They adore the kids and love it when we come over!  When we aren’t at our neighbors, we often visit friends from church to swim.  And if both of those options are out, the kids make do with the kiddie pool on the deck and the hose!  They love to get creative and use the hose on the trampoline and the sliding board for some extra fun!

~Extra time with the kiddos

During the summer we are often outside playing with the kids until dark.  Their favorite family activity is kickball and we have a ton of fun playing together!  Between the extended hours of daylight and the later bedtime our kids have in the summer we definitely get extra time with them this time of the year and we love it.  As the kids get older, we love spending one-on-one time with each of them and they eat it up as well.  Everyone tells you that before you know it your kids will be grown up … but to be honest, when I had 3 kiddos barely 3 and under it didn’t really feel like time was flying by.  Now, on the other side of that season of life I can’t believe that our oldest is turning 10 this year and our youngest will be 2 in a couple months … crazy!  

~Laundry

Not having socks to fold (when I actually have both socks) makes doing the laundry so much better in the summertime!

~The lack of a schedule

Ok, so actually that is a joke.  Anyone who knows me well knows that I love all things organized and scheduled.  As much as I love so many things about the summer, the lack of a schedule eventually gets to me and then we start school! 

pinterest love.

Thanks to my new addiction, pinterest I have been on quite the DIY kick recently.  I might have to start a separate category in our budget for my pinterest love.  But I’m ok with that … it’s a very healthy addiction because it allows me to create things for my home, and for others as gifts, in a frugal kind of way (I’m sure you will all agree).  So, back to my DIY kick … it all started with this tutorial I found to create a piece of wall art with our last name and est. date.  It was the perfect piece of art for our entryway wall.  I spent plenty of time looking at letters and numbers, and then used Publisher to create my masterpiece.  The great thing is that you can get large prints at Costco for crazy cheap, so if I get tired of it or want to mix it up a little with some color I can just make another one to get printed … brilliant!  Here is the current piece of art hanging in our entryway:

Herr.est.2001

I had so much fun making it that I decided to make one for every single family member (that is married) for Christmas … here are the ones I made for gifts:

Herr.est.1999

 

Oliver.est.2010   

Herr.est.1972

 

Mellinger01.est.1977

 

Mellinger01.est.2006

 

Mellinger01.est.2002

I had so much fun making each and every one, and even more fun giving them as gifts! 

Some other ideas that have gone from pinterest to real life include using upside down tomato cages wrapped with garland to create mini trees for our front porch (they sat on top of my large urns) and wreaths, wreaths and more wreaths (I never knew how easy it is to make wreaths … I’m pretty sure the front door and inside of my house will never be without a wreath now … well, as soon as we figure out a way to keep our hook on the door, ha!).  I used this elegant monogram tutorial that uses buttons and had Hailey and Sydney each make one for their room.  I made a cute bow and headband holder for Emma using this tutorial which was so simple!  And I’m not the only one loving pinterest … Hailey is probably more crafty than I am at her young age of 9!  She has been making a bunch of cute hair clips like these and also using some other style of barrettes, but with the same ribbon idea.  She also made me an organizer inside my cabinet for my measuring cups/spoons using this tutorial for Christmas … I love that girl!  She spray painted the paint sticks all by herself and then Brian helped her put the hooks on it.  She was soooo excited for me to open her gift, and I absolutely loved it! 

As you can see, I have been quite busy putting my addiction to very good use.  There are lots more pinterest ideas that will hopefully become a reality this year … more things for our walls, some molding and wainscoting (thanks to my hubby now having a double compound miter saw!), a Christmas tree skirt (since I have almost an entire year hopefully I can make that happen!),  brass doorknobs turned pretty, lots of more wreaths (winter and valentines are my current projects!), and probably plenty of other projects that I just don’t know about yet.  If I get really brave maybe I’ll even tackle some fun sewing and/or knitting projects … because with all of the free time I have these days I have to find something to fill it with!  Oh wait, that is what pinterest is for.

Up next … our favorite books for 2012!