Thankful Turkey – A Family Tradition

Each year I make a paper bag turkey and feathers for our family’s annual Thankful Turkey.

He usually gets called Tom the Turkey or Ted the Turkey and we add thankful feathers onto him each day.

Here’s a photo of our 2009 Tom:


This year I decided to upgrade us to brown wrapping paper.

I know, we are the last of the big spenders.

I found a turkey picture I liked, printed it out, and drew freehand the turkey onto the brown paper.

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My children have informed me that it looks like Ted is holding his private parts.


You just have to love them.

Or tell them, “Do not say Ted the turkey is holding his private parts ONE MORE TIME!”


After dinner, everyone takes a feather (scrap paper I have) and writes down one thing they are thankful for that day.

After I had written my feather on the first day I asked my preschooler what she was thankful for.

She said God.


I decided to take that moment to add a bit to my feather.


Here are some more things we are thankful for…






But don’t worry the next holiday is never far from our minds.


And just to cover our bases…



Halloween 2013

Just popping in today to share costumes from last night.

My 4 year old was a cheetah for most events this Halloween but chose to be Belle for trick or treating.

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My 11 year old didn’t care about his costume so he went as a soccer player by default.


My  8 year old decided he wanted to be something from Harry Potter.  Any guesses?



Yep, he’s Mad Eye Moody.


We took a $7 coat from Goodwill, ripped it up, lightly spray painted it with white (to make it look dusty) and stamped it with a black stamp pad to make it look old.

I bough these face paints and brushes this year and have loved how easy they are to use and how the paint doesn’t smear.


I would love to hear in the comment section what your kids dressed up as this year.


Now on to November!

Mystery Boxes…Do You Dare (Halloween Party 2013)

We had our annual Halloween party this past weekend and it was a lot of fun.

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As well as being quite tasty.

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But….not too healthy (only some of the butter we used).

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We may have cooked ourselves silly making sugar cookies, pumpkin whooopie pies, banana bread, oreo mummies, cupcakes, chocolate faces, pretzel witch fingers, pretzel eyeballs, marshmallow sticks, rice krispie treats, snickerdoodle cookies, and pumpkin muffins.

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We also played a game which I think the kids enjoyed – Mystery Boxes

The idea of Mystery Boxes is to reach into the box and try and figure out what food is in there.

For example, I told the kids that I had witches hair. Once they felt it, they needed to decide what food my witches hair really was.

I took 4 boxes (Cheezits, Amazon, shoe boxes) and spray painted them or covered them in fabric with Modge Podge.


I then glued on a piece of cloth to the outside which covered a hole I had cut out in each box.


Each box on the inside was lined with tin foil. One had a cup and another had a bowl which held the food items.


Before starting the game, I handed out a piece of paper to each child and told them what was in the mystery boxes – witches hair, mummy intestines, troll eyes, and Frankenstein eyes. Then I had some parents hold the boxes for me, not letting the kids peek inside the boxes.

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This picture of my son reaching into the box is my favorite one from the party.

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Here’s a sample of the sheet with their guesses on it.


Here we all are talking about what each of their guesses is for the food items.

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And the reveal….

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In case you are wondering…

Witch Hair = Ramen Noodles

Frankenstein Eyes – Olives

Mummy Intestines = Lasagna Noodles

Troll Ears = Dried Apricots


Mystery Boxes = Silly & Slimey Fun 🙂




Man o man.

This thing called life just knocks the wind out of you sometimes.

The first thing out of my middle schoolers mouth when I picked him up from school yesterday was, “Kids told me Mrs. Matheus’ son died. She got a call during 6th period that he died. He’s in the Air Force. We watched her walk out to her car and leave.”

First off. How Awful.

Nothing is worse than your child dying.

Second off. She had to find out that horrible news in front of a bunch of 11 and 12 year olds.

Fast forward two hours, back at our house, with me at the computer checking to see if soccer practice was still on.

I open an email from my boys’ swim coach.

It informs me that one of the summer swim coaches has died.

He was 21.

It was self-inflicted.

First off. Again. How awful.

Just being a parent makes my heart break with this news.

I only knew this kid from afar.

He was always smiling and laughing with the kids and the other coaches.

For three years my kids knew him and loved him.

Second off. How dare you? Why would you do such a thing?

I’m not really mad at him. I’m disappointed and sad for my kids.

And heartbroken for his family and friends.

I know I will never know what led him to that decision and I’m not sure I need to know.

But I do know that I will continue to tell my kids everyday that I will always love them, forever and ever, no matter what.

I chose not to share with my kids the manner in which Coach Jake died. That’s too much information for even an adult to comprehend, never mind an 8 year old. He died. His family is sad. We are sad.

The next day I again picked my son up from middle school and asked him if he had a substitute in Mrs. Matheus’ class.

“No. It was actually her dog that died not her son.”

We had a bit of a laugh, learned never to completely trust the word of middle schoolers sharing information in the hallways, and went on with our day.

And I may have told him thirty times that day, ” I will always love you, forever and ever, no matter what.”

*I never use real names in my blog except those of my children.

The Rabbits – Part 2 – It Gets Ugly

Well folks.

It didn’t get all Hakuna Matata on us over her.

It went the way of the Circle of Life in a slightly more horrific way than I imagined.

If you recall, our backyard became a rabbit sanctuary for the past week ever since my 8 year old son discovered a nest of baby rabbits.

My sweet, sensitive eight year old who loves animals with all his heart.

Ugh. This story sucks.

Yesterday afternoon the kids were playing in the backyard when my son announced that the rabbits were gone. They were no where to be found. I immediately believed him because he has been checking on them with the religious fervor of a Texas baptist. Okay, maybe that went a little too far.

But he said they were gone.

So we let the dog out in the backyard.

And everyone played.

And everyone played.

And everyone played.

And then..everyone came in for bedtime.

And then…everyone woke up the next day to get ready for school.

And then…just as I was biting into my hot oatmeal breakfast my eight year old came running into the kitchen screaming, “Sophie killed the baby rabbit! She killed it! It’s laying on the floor!”

Tears. Tears. Hysterical tears.

I ran into the dining room to find the dog in her crate and an obviously dead baby bunny sprawled out on our dining room floor.

How did this happen? The dog hasn’t even gone outside yet today?

Tears. Tears. Hysterical tears.

Still I can’t seem to move. I just stare at this dead bunny on my dining room floor.

I don’t understand? How did, oh no, I know what happened!

Last night when I let the dog in she ran right to her crate without stopping to get water. Unusual but not completely out of the ordinary.

I locked her in her crate and went to my room.

As I read a little while later I turned to my husband and said, “What is Sophie doing in her crate? She’s moving around a lot.”



Now I have 2 kids screaming.

I yell at the dog and lock her in her crate. I order my 11 year old to get a trash bag and I go to the garage and grab some rake contraption and a sheet. I tell my son to open up the trash bag as I try and scoop THE DEAD  RABBIT onto the rake.

I miss the first time but manage to scoop him up the second time.

My son is so disgusted by holding the bag he drops it before managing to open it up enough for me to drop THE  DEAD BUNNY and the sheet into the bag.

I tie the bag and rush it outside.

I order my son to wash his hands throughly three times while I do the same. I wash the dining room floor and wash my hands again many times. And I do a full body shiver.

I then talk with my 8 year old, the animal lover, and mumble something about animals, circle of life, Sophie thought it was a toy, and then agree to write a note to his teacher telling her what a tough morning he has had.

I’m not going to lie and say that I didn’t call my husband after this experience and possibly semi-curse at him for not being home during this event. I may have forbidden him to ever leave the house again for work.

I think it’s safe to say that this experience has affected us all.

Later in the day my four year old told the Old Navy saleswoman and the grocery store clerk that our dog killed a rabbit.

My 11 year old has definitely ruled out a career in waste management.

I’m considering plans to demolish our dining room.

And my  8 year old wants to know when we are going to the SPCA to get another dog.

Yes. He is.

Apparently he has short term memory problems.

I assured him under no uncertain circumstances that we would never get another pet of any kind.

After all, I can still see that DEAD BUNNY on my dining room floor.



The Rabbits

I’m sure you are familiar with the phrase, “Anything for your children.”

Well, that phrase is the reason why my husband and I have turned our backyard into a  rabbit sanctuary.

Yes, a rabbit sanctuary.


Really, if it was up to us, we’d let our dog eat the baby bunnies.

OK, maybe that’s a little harsh.

My husband would most certainly shoo the bunnies away before the dog got outside.

Because two little bunnies and their momma have moved into our yard, and because my eight year old animal loving son discovered their nest, my husband and I have taken to walking the dog three times a day.

This is the same dog who wants to spend all day outside now that it’s not 100 degrees but cannot because of Flopsy and Mopsy Cottontail.

So maybe it’s really three of us sacrificing for our son.

Roughly 20 times a day I hear the back door slam signaling to me that it’s only a matter of time before I have a bunny update.

When I asked my husband how we should move the bunnies he said, “I don’t think we should move them, we’ll wait till they grow up to let the dog outside.”

What the beep, beep, beep?

Are you kidding me?

I’m going to let you guess who promptly got sick shortly after those words were uttered and went to bed early, completely forgetting about taking the dog out. And then let you guess who was the person who went out walking the dog at 10:00 that night with a steak knife in one hand and a dozen plastic bags in the other.

And so we wait for the bunnies to grow up.

I’m giving them 3 more days before I let the dog out.

In the meantime I’m scouting out places where I can rent The Lion King.

Not sure if I’m going to focus on, “Hakuna Matata,” or “Circle of Life.”

We might let the dog decide.

Anyone for Tennis?

Anyone for tennis?

Wouldn’t it be nice?


My 8 year old has played tennis on and off for the last year and really enjoyed it.


My 4 year old decided she had been carted around to enough sports events and wanted in on the action. After giving her several sports to choose from she started tennis this month.

She just finished up week 4 and she is having tons of fun.


The day before her first lesson we were driving around when I said, “Are you excited for you tennis lesson tomorrow?”



“I wonder who your teacher is going to be at tennis?”

“Nooooooo! Noooooo! I don’t have a teacher!”


What? “Um, Caroline, you will have a teacher for tennis so they can show you what to do.”

“Noooo! I can’t have a teacher.”


“I’m going to have a coach for tennis. Just like the boys.”

“Ohh, okay. Yes, you are going to have a coach.”


After finishing up her first lesson she came and sat by me while waiting for her brother to finish.

“How was your tennis lesson?”

“My coach is great.”


Only 2 more weeks of tennis lessons.

After that she’s on to six weeks of swim lessons.

Which will be, of course, with her swim coach.

His New Teacher

My eight year old really comes out with funnies sometimes.

The latest one was about his new teacher.

 Being completely serious…”Dad, Mrs. H is as old as you.

She’s 40 but I think she only looks 38.”



I’m hoping I get the same assessment from him next year when I turn 40.