Thursday, March 29, 2012

For the Love of Books!

I love books. I love to turn page after page and watch the story unfold before my very eyes.  I love the feel of the smooth, crinkly (that is a word, right?) pages and the musky smell of a good used book. I love to think of the adventures that readers before me have experienced and wonder if they also felt the same emotions or if the book has touched them in the same ways it has touched me. There is something magical that happens when I get to read a really great book, a classic. I have had this love of books from a very young age.  I cherish the memories of drifting off to sleep as my mother read chapter after chapter of Boxcar Children, Little House on the Prairie, Nancy Drew, and so many others.

I also love now, that these are moments, characters, and stories that I get to share with my children. I love that William reads everything he picks up. I love that on Thursdays when he comes home from school with his new library books, he can't wait to get to his quiet room, and his comfy bed and sit for the rest of the day combing over the pages, analyzing the characters, and immersing himself into the story. 

I also have found a new way to share these stories with my children.  We spend at least an hour a day in the car. Like most of you, I'm always driving to and from school, grocery store, post office, sports practices, activities... you know what I'm talking about.  I know many mom's use car DVD players... but that just isn't me.  We usually listen to Christian radio or play alphabet and counting games in the car...until recently.

We were at our local library for story time, while I was glancing over a few of the DVDs when I came to the section of books on CD, my eyes instantly rested on one of my all time favorites, Little House on the Prairie.  I found myself hoping one day my boys might want to read a book about a family with 3 little girls... Yeah right!  But I decided I would get the CD and just see what happened.... turns out they love to hear about Laura and Mary, and the adventures they have as they travel in their wagon and make a new home.  We are now on the fourth book in the Little House on the Prairie series and the kids request it every time was get in the car. 

I love the exposure to classic literature they are absorbing. I love the history that the stories hold, and the raw adventure and emotions that are expressed as we listen intently. I love the questions and conversations that keep coming from my boys as they listen to what life was like in the pioneer days, and the joy that they feel with every victory the Ingalls family has.

I hope to continue to show my children the fun and adventure that can come from something so simple as a book; I also hope that they too will grow a love for the written word and that it will follow them through life.  ]

Do your children love to read, or be read to?  What do you do to encourage that love?
I'm always looking for more wonderful stories to share with my family...What are your favorites as a child or favorites that you share with you children now?

Monday, March 26, 2012

First EVER Caldwell Family Camping Trip

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! Spring is in full swing down here in South Texas and us Caldwell's have decided to take full advantage of the gorgeous weather.  Santa brought us a tent Christmas morning and we put it to use this weekend with our first ever camping trip.

Choke Canyon State Park, proved to be a perfect choice for our outing. So after school Friday, we loaded up and made the quick trip to our weekend destination.
 Our tent! It was perfect!

 We did a lot of tree climbing,
 Saw an alligator!
 Splashed in the water,

 Did some fishing,
 Played with icky worms,
 More fishing,
 Slept in  tent,
Boys Battled,

 Cooked up deliciousness,
Did a little painting and creating,
 Played baseball,
 Found a huge ant colony,
More relaxing,
More fishing,
 We were silly,
 and Happy,
 It was all quite a balancing act.

This is the only fish caught all weekend... a red rubber fish to practice casting.  Each time Brennan reeled it in (must have been 200 times) He would say, "Mommy, I think I caught something! Look it's a fish!!" He was so proud!

 Of course, we took time for smores!
 Dad got the fire, just right!

 The smores made us really Happy!

 William told us some spooky stories before bed.  The other boys chimed in as well.

Perfect creation + Perfect weather + Family = A Perfect Family Camping Trip!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

DIY Craft: Lightsabers from Pool Noodles

You don't have to search Pintrest very long to find these little jewels... and I'm not taking about those cute boys (don't they look fierce?)

Pool Noodle Light Sabers have become a staple in our house. With a quick trip to Wal-mart, you can have all the supplies you need to make 4 light sabers for under $10.

What you will need:
2 pool noodles
Gray Duct Tape
Black Electrical Tape
Serrated Knife (I used our bread knife)
What to do:
Start by  cutting each noodle in half with your serrated knife, just eyeball it, no need to be exact. Use Gray Duct tape to cover one end of the noodle. Then generously wrap the tape up the noodle about 7 inches.  Finish the wrap with an even edge. Decorate your light saber by adding borders, buttons, and switches using black electrical tape.  Ta- Da... that's it your done! Release the Jedi's!
Fun, Soft, and Perfectly Safe! 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Ham and Egg Cups - Budget Friendly Recipes

 We love the versatility of eggs in our home and the ease it takes to make them... in any form! We love them for breakfast, but honestly breakfast for dinner? YES PLEASE!  I really thought Ham and Egg cups would be the egg recipe that would ruin my fondness of all eggs being easy, but nope, I was so surprised to find out these beauties are easy peasy and the best part is my boys and husband LOVE them!  Did you hear me say they are so easy?  Which also means they are also a great recipe to get the kids in the kitchen to help! 

What you will need:
12 slices of thinly sliced ham
1 dz. eggs
Mozzarella Cheese
Salt and Pepper

How to:

To get started place one slice on thinly sliced ham into each muffin cup, creating a bowl to hold your egg. The ham will shrink when cooked.  (Get Ham sliced as thin as the deli can make it without having tears or holes, I went for a thickness of 1)
After all the ham has been placed in muffin cups, crack one (1) egg into each slice of ham.

Place 1 tbs. shredded cheese on top of egg. Your choice. (I have used mozzarella, cheddar, and mozzarella/Parmesan mix - favorite!) and season with salt and pepper.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes... do not overcook or your eggs will get tough and dry.
Serve it up with toast and jelly, fresh fruit, or a small side salad! Oh, it is so good!!! I think I'm going to make some right now to have for lunch today!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Winning Science Fair Project - William

Science Fair, Science Fair, Science Fair... the words can send shivers down a parents spine. The thought of first coming up with a project, adding one more thing to the list of many things, spending one more minute of time, even maybe an entire weekend or worse two weekends! Yikes,  but no not here... you see I am really a closet homeschooler.  William mentioned Science Fair and I couldn't wait!! He was pretty excited,too. :) So away we went... You can read about the project here.  Here is what happened Post Science Fair! 

William ended up placing 3rd for the entire region of 1st grade science fair projects!  We were so proud and he got to experience what it means to put in some hard work and concentration and reap the rewards!
On Stage accepting his reward!
Sorry the pic is a little blurry, but you can still see the pride on his face and gleaming smile as he made his way back to his seat! Great Job, Will!!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Favorite Things Friday

friday favorite things | finding joy

A few fun things from these last two week... I know, I know, I was supposed to make this post about the happenings of last week, but I'm changing the rules... (just this once.) Thanks for understanding.

My favorite things are all about... surprise, surprise... my boys!
Number one on the list, My sweet hubby! Photos like this one remind me of the plethora of photos that we took when we were dating in college.  We are just a couple of young kids newly married (9.5 years), anyways!

Silliness in the shade.  Silly brothers bonding a top a table in the back yard! Please take note of the Blue, yes I said, blue cactus in the lower left hand corner.... Ha! It's a statue we found when we were moving in.

Just Will and Dad.
One on One time with Dad is special, especially when headed to see Star Wars in 3D! I love the bond the boys have with their daddy and the joy that spread across Will's face when he learned he was getting to go on a date with Dad!

Simple reminders of a wonderful night! William put his 3D glasses in a special place to keep them "forever"!

Brennan is obsessed with super hero's right now and I love watching him as he tediously sets up each and every super hero in a very specific position and place that is very methodically thought out. This is just a small sampling to the normal giant armies that are arranged all over the house. 

Superman, loving on his baby (blanket), just one of the remaining things that keep him in my "baby" category. I'll be so sad when he gives it up and becomes a big boy.

 Sally, our sweet dog... totally relaxed as chaos and war breaks out all around her. I love that we have a sweet dog that loves her precious boys so much! Sometimes, I think she believes they are her pups.

Last night Cade said a quite lengthy prayer, praying for his family, his attitude, his fish, his tarantula, his dog, and the garden spider; aka, Spinney that has taken up residence outside his bedroom window. I know God placed that lovely spider there for his pure enjoyment! He checks on it and talks about it constantly!
 I love the wonder and awe, that spreads across his face each time he gets the opportunity to interact with one of God's amazing creatures! Here Cade is watching his new fish; a black and orange beta named.... wait for it... B.O. , short for Black and Orange, of course.

Upwards Basketball season is almost over, but each Saturday for the last 12 weeks, I have marveled over the growth of the skills in our little team, but mostly I have marveled at the Godly men involved in this program that have taken time to pour into these children's lives.  The players, coaches, and referees gather to spend some time in prayer before the game. 
Upwards is a nation wide program offering multiple sports and summer sports camps accompanied with bible based character building and faith building for girls and boys of all ages. If you are interested in learning more information or finding a program near you visit

A few of my favorite things! What are yours?