River Road Camping with Cousins

This weekend we camped with Corey’s cousin and his family for the first time.
It was a blast! We had so much fun, even having to tent camp ūüėČ

I grew up around River Road and I have never thought about camping there before so it is funny that out of towners introduced us to this side of camping.

I guess having littles for the past 6 years, we never were planning on tubing so we skipped campsites near there-until now anyway.

This was an appropriate way to celebrate this little man turning 6 months old!

Happy Half Birthday G. 

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2PM Coffee Break with homemade marshmallows.

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She didn’t want me taking photos of her sunburn and posting them on Facebook. I reminded her that I was on a Facebook break…so they were going on the blog!

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C decided that she was going to make her own kayak since she was too little for the real ones.

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We actually used the dutch oven this time for an apple pear crisp. It was AMAZING, until we looked for the leftovers only to find the racoons had gotten into it and ate it: RIP crisp.
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I was so happy that we used this after lugging it around for 14 years and I sent this to my dad. Of course his reply was “too many coals on top”. I should have asked him before, but I had ZERO service (which is my favorite way to camp). So it was literally a crisp since the top got a bit burnt. It was just extra “campfirey”.IMG_2214IMG_2216

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Nothing like food roasted over a fire while watching Finn’s “favorite show”- which was the tubers and kayakers getting stuck on the rapids and trying to make it down the river.

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I really truly did not have service, so this is for everyone that thought I was ignoring them all weekend…I sorta was, but I still love y’all.

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Poor Finn was asking when we were going to be home as soon as we left. The site at K&L Campsites was only 40 minutes away from our house, but he was snoring by the halfway mark. I love a good day that wears him out!

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These cutie cousins had such a great time and were already planning their next trip.

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We stayed at the K&L On the River. We had no electric or water and I had to say that I am amazed at the price for that, plus Corey’s cousin paid for early check in, but they still could not set up yet because there were still people in the site. What the reason for allowing people to pay to arrive early is pointless. They also did not give them the reserved site that had water. All told, it was a pretty nice site and the restrooms were cleaner than any state park we have visited, which was impressive. We did not use the showers because you had to pay for use, which we never have experienced because we normally camp at state parks, which has showers for campers. Be prepared to sleep on rocks, there are no tent pads, which is neat because we had 3 tents on the site but does not make for a comfortable sleep (so says my husband who slept on a pallet on the ground.)

We also had the short picnic table so you could not sit on it and get your legs out of it again!

 

 

We’re Starting Baby Led Feeding-Weaning

When I say we, I mean Gunnar.

That is the gist of Baby Led Weaning, or BLW. It is not weaning like we American’s use in the traditional sense though. This is a baby weaning ONTO solids, not off milk. I will still be nursing for at least another year or so. The foods he will be trying are for his practice at chewing (or gumming as he is toothless) and putting food to his mouth and tasting different things.

Food before one is just for fun.

I posted on my BBC blog about things we were going to do different this time but this is one thing I did not discover until just a few months ago when I also decided I was not going to pump and give him a bottle.

Here in the US, the baby food companies have marketed to parents their purees in “stages” starting at 4 months. I am guilty of buying in and giving my kids organic cereal and fruit as soon as they could sit up. Chloe got cereal at 4.5 months because we were in a meeting and I was not comfortable nursing in a room with people…I REGRET it so much because knowing what I know now about the gut, it was way too early and maybe why she has cavities and allergies now. (This was also one of my reasons to not pump).

The basics of BLW is giving them sticks or chip sized portions of softish food and letting them play with it when they are ready.

-6 months old (or within a week like we are) and interested in your food
-Sitting unsupported
-Able to bring food to mouth
-No tongue thrust

You do not put food in their mouth for them, you do not grab it when they gag and you watch them.

BUT WHAT IF THEY CHOKE?

From what I have read, babies have a gag reflex that is at the front of their mouth, where adults have the reflex at the back. This allows them to gag quicker (which looks terrifying) and not choke. Letting them lead how they eat actually allows them to learn how much to take in sooner than putting a spoon of liquid in their mouth that is swallowed no matter what. There is more of a choke risk going from spoon purees to solids than there is starting at solids. But you must watch them because they can break off a large chunk and there are safety guidelines to follow of course.

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We technically started with pears because he grabbed a slice I was eating so I let him lick it. Then I gave him a slice of watermelon which he nommed on.
This steamed bell pepper slice was his first “official” BLW food and he did pretty good with it.
At first, I thought he still had his tongue thrust because he was just licking it. I thought we were going to have to wait a week to try again but then he started sticking it in his mouth and mushing it more. I still don’t think he ate any of it, but that is to be expected.

The next day, I gave him some pear and he mashed that in his mouth as quick as possible.

We are going to go slow because this type of feeding is freaking Corey out and he does not feel Gunnar¬†is ready for “food”. I borrowed the Baby Led Weaning Cookbook from the library so he promised to read it so he can see what to expect since this is so different than us giving a spoonful of mush¬†like we did with the other 3.

The hard part will be watching Finn so he does not give him stuff he is not supposed to eat yet!

Camping at McKinney Falls

We bought our popup camper last year and have been fixing it up and working on organizing it to go on many camping trips.

I plan on documenting our trips as much as I can because I know the kids will grow so fast and these memories will just be memories and forgotten moments at that.

cropped-img_1749.jpgOur spot, #15 was the ONLY site in the entire park that had no trees. You can see that there used to be one but it is long gone. We ended up sunburnt because we have no awning or canopy to get out of the sun.

Lesson learned: Call ahead and request a site with trees.

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We moved Gunnar around to stay in the shade. He was singing to the tree stump here.

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Corey had to wear G the whole time because I pulled a muscle the day before we left!

 

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Exploring the “cave” on one of the paths. Right before this, we discovered a bee hive in a tree and picked up a chunk of discarded honeycomb.

 

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We had to hike down to “Old Baldy”,which is the oldest cypress in the park. This is as far as you can go because recent flooding washed out the rest of the trail so it was closed.

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We met the nicest couple that gave us tips on upgrading from a popup to a hard-side. They also gave the kids this color packet that caused the fire to change colors. Thanks Mitch & Connie from Kilgore (if you ever see this!).

 

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Unfortunately, we either pack too much or still need some organizing…

Christmastime is here…

Well, almost anyway. But while I am baking pies for Thanksgiving and feeling excited about hosting 17 adults and children in my 1200 square foot home, I am thinking about how much God does for us each and every year.

Only one more full day before I put on Christmas music 24/7 and decorate my home in ways that remind me of our Savior’s Birth (even though I know it was not in December- yada yada, I love Jesus anyway)

I am part of the listening team for one of the local stations and they sent 199 Christmas song clips to vote on and what I realized is just how much I am drawn to the classics: Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra around ¬†Christmas. The newer songs on the radio are ok, but they do not spark the sentiments from my Childhood like the “oldies do”. However, in the room¬†listening with me were my kids and they DID like the new Toby Mac Christmas songs and I realized that have a brand new generation to show the world of Mannheim Steamroller and Trans-Siberian Orchestra while we sing along to a new version of Oh Come All Ye Faithful together.

I will always LOVE the classics, but it is exciting to learn new songs along with my kiddos too.

Christmas is all about bringing back memories that are comforting and about making brand new ones for future generations!

We are going to DISNEY WORLD!

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The countdown has begun! My husband and I went for our honeymoon and planned to go every 4 years on our anniversary (leap day wedding).

But things do not always go as planned so we have not been back since 2004! The kids will be 2, 4, 7 when we go which will be such a fun age to enjoy everything AND we will only have to pay for a family of 5 because Finn will not be 3 yet. Frugal Mama Win!

I have been going crazy on Pinterest looking for road trip tips because we will be driving the 16-20 hour  trip to Florida from Texas with 3 kids in the car.

Over the next few months I will be gathering my supplies and crafts and meal ideas for the trip and I only have 6 months to do so.

This is a frugal, healthy, DIY, God worshipping blog after all.

The main categories I will be working on will be:

  • Meals
  • Road Trip Snacks
  • Road Trip Boredom Busters and Mapped Plan
  • DIY Family Tees for Disney
  • Save my $ Disney Gear and Toys
  • and other odds and ends

I already have my container to start storing, I just need to get my ideas in order and start planning what to work on first.

Our kids are so excited to finally get to go to Disney so we will be also incorporating some fun things into our Homeschool year. I am particularly excited to work on mapping before the trip so Lily can tell her siblings where we are and help countdown the time to arrival.

Speaking of time of arrival- Chloe asks me every day if we go to Disney “Tomorrow”, so I made this basic, frugal, easy count down timer for them to visualize.

There are so many on Pinterest but I needed to use what I had on hand and I wanted something that was tactile so my 2 and 4 year old could participate as well. I also like visually being able to take down days so you get more excited as you get closer to the day!

The ears start at 27 WEEKS until Disney World. Once the ears get to 4 weeks, the last ear is glued to the black paper and when they remove that sheet, the one below it starts over at 30 DAYS to go. They keep removing the ears which I glued to crepe paper to make it easy to tear off and I can use the ears again for a road trip craft counter I am going to work on.

6 months seems like so far away but I know the time will go by quickly and I would like to have the craft items done in 5 months so I can just plan the food and packing  the last 4 weeks (or 30 days as the counter goes).

Disney Countdown

What tips do you have for a family to go to Disney World or on any long Road Trip?

 

CHALLENGE OF THE MONTH 1

It’s time to kick off my very first series:

Challenge of the Month

What-? a monthly goal setting challenge mid-way through the year…why not January?

I am glad you asked!

August is our summer break/curriculum revamping and since we moved in May, I have a whole lot of stuff to think about for our school year. I barely stuck it out the last 2 months because I still had things in boxes, did not know where to set anything and just ran out of steam. We are year ’round homeschoolers anyway so I knew in August I would be taking a full month off from school.¬†What a perfect time to refresh and get my mind on a goal-setting train?

Besides- how many of us are way past our New Year’s Resolutions and have fallen off all of them? (raise your hand).

So- enter the Challenge of the Month. Each month I will be challenging myself to complete a new goal/item/task/etc with the focus of bettering myself as a wife, woman, mama, sister, leader, worshipper, and overall child of God.

To dip my feet in the water (and yours too if you want to join up!) I wanted to start off with something SO simple.

But OH so hard for me.

So here goes. Starting today (or maybe even tomorrow)…

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I know! This is not an entire monthly challenge. But I am going to start with 24 hours and here is the catch- if I say ANYTHING complaining or negative for that 24 hours- I have to start all over again.

I am betting it takes me a few days before I can really hold my tongue.

 

Feel free to give it a go and come back and comment about it! 

Were you able to go a full 24 hours without complaining about the weather, the traffic, the noise, kids arguing, ministry leaders, ministry people, the sound on Sunday morning, the set list, dinner…