Road Trip to St. Augustine!

This week we met Stef Layton, over at Educating Laytons, and Alli, over at Simply St. Augustine, in St. Augustine, Florida for a fun day of exploring! Alli was our guide, of course, and she put together a fabulous itinerary for all of us. We visited the Colonial Quarter, hung out on the green at the Castillo De San Marcos, went miniature golfing at Bayfront and road Ripley’s Red Train for their Night of Lights tour.

The Colonial Quarter was the perfect place to immerse ourselves into Spanish and a bit of British history. Our guide told us all about the 16th Century boat he was building, he showed us how to load and fire a 17th century musket, how a blacksmith worked with metal, what a printing press looked like and so much more. After the tour we were free to roam the grounds. The kids loved digging up artifacts in the archaeological dig area and I really enjoyed the view of the Castillo De San Marcos from the watchtower.

Colonial Quarter

 

MiniatureBayfront Miniature Golfing Click For Video golfing at Bayfront Mini Golf was so fun and relaxing.  Yes, mini golfing with about 14 kids was relaxing.  The course was the perfect size for our crew.  Alli, Stef and I were able to relax while the kiddos golfed.  The course was laid out in a way where you have a perfect view of the bay from every hole.  Here’s a fun fact.  Bayfront Mini Golf was founded in 1949 and is the oldest miniature golf course in Florida! They even have a little spot for you to wash your golf balls.  I think that was my son’s favorite part of the entire course.

TandhisTwin

We relaxed a bit in between our excursions.  We had a delicious lunch at the Taberna del Caballo, then hung out on the green in front of the Castillo De San Marcos. The kids ran off some energy while we enjoyed some girl time.  We grabbed a delicious cup of coffee from The Kookaburra and sipped it while relaxing at the Plaza de la Constitucion.  We had a wonderful cuban meal where my husband met his twin.  For real ya’ll, this is the first time these two met and look at them.  They dressed the same, both are programmers, both are homeschool dads and both created homeschool software.  Crazy right? Anyway, it made for a fun story and evening.

After dinner, we visited Ripley’s for their Red Train Nights of Lights Tour.  It was a blast!  We didn’t have to wait in line at at all.  We grabbed our magical glasses and boarded our train.  Christmas lights in St. Augustine are breathtaking! After our tour we enjoyed marshmallows dipped in chocolate, Christmas movies, Polynesian fire dancers and more.  This is a unique Christmas time event that you will not want to miss. We had a blast and created so many fun memories.

Ripley's Nights of Lights

After our day of fun we crashed at the Jaybird Inn. We grabbed an Express Deal on Priceline which means we received a great rate for a decent hotel.  Our room was nicely remodeled.  I loved the contemporary decor.  Our neighbors were a little loud so it was hard for hubs. to get the rest he needed but aside from that I recommend this hotel.

After breakfast we decided to take pictures of the fort and walk around a bit.  We stopped by the St. Augustine Visitors Information Center .  My boys enjoyed walking through the fabulous art collection that was on display. One of the pieces really drew them in.  Interactive, touch screen, table top monitors were available for us to “play” with.  Again, great for the kids.  There were gift stores and discounted tickets available for the attractions.  You will want to stop by the Visitor’s center plan and start your St. Augustine, Florida visit.  For the remainder of the day we just walked around the city.  We stopped by Claude’s Chocolate for a treat and I’m so glad we did. Their cSt. Augustine Visitor Centerhocolate is to die for!  After that we had to head home as the boys had a special date with  grandma and grandpa.

Thank you so much to Simply St. Augustine, Ripley’s and the Colonial Quarter for hosting us.  We had wonderful time and we will definitely be visiting again!

 

 

Check out my reviews of our St. Augustine adventure on Trekaroo.com.

 

 

 

 

Minecraft Christmas Tree

MinecraftChristmasTree

 

 

MinecraftMagazineSo, last Christmas we decided to go against tradition and create a Minecraft Christmas tree.  It was so much fun and my boys absolutely loved it!  This year we decided to go the traditional route and pull the fake tree down from the attic.  The day after we finished setting it up we received the Craft Projects for Minecraft and Pixel Art Fans Magazine in the mail and guess what?  Our Minecraft tree was in the magazine!!  We were so excited!!

Of course we think our tree is the best part of the magazine but, in addition to that, there are a lot of really neat and easy Minecraft projects/crafts that you and your kids can work on together.  There are several different projects to choose from and many different materials that you can use.  Kind of like the game.  You can use everything from perler beads, duct tape, modge podge, yarn, foam and more! Hey, Craft Projects for Minecraft and Pixel Art Fans would make a great stocking stuffer for your little, or big, gamers!

Unlike the picture, the directions on how to make your own Minecraft Christmas tree didn’t make it to print.  So, if you’re curious to know just how many blocks that it takes to create a Minecraft Christmas tree then check it out here.

I almost forgot!  There’s a video too!

 

 

 

 

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas!

This first week of December has been a fun one!

Each Christmas we do something a little different.  One year we chopped down our own Christmas tree and one year we celebrated Minecraft style. This year we decided to keep things simple.  We pulled the fake Christmas tree out of the attic and set it up.  It stills needs to be fluffed and the ornaments still need to be hung but it’s out!  We also decided to create memories during Advent this year.  We haven’t really made a big deal or talked about Advent in the past.  We’ve always read stories and talked about the birth of Jesus but this year we decided to use Truth in the Tinsel to prepare our minds and hearts for Christmas.

Truth in the TinselMy boys are 9 and 6.  Truth in the Tinsel is geared for the younger ones but can be adapted to any age.  It is a 24 day study.  Each day  you will read a bible verse with your kids, talk about  what you read and make a craft.  The first day we started Truth in the Tinsel I  told my boys they could create a craft, build a LEGO creation or build a Minecraft creation.  They chose Minecraft and LEGOs.  So, our mornings go like this:

My boys open an envelope that contains the word they need to listen for during our bible study time.  When they hear the word they can do whatever they want.  Jump, make a noise, whatever.

We talk about what we’ve read then address any questions that may have come to their minds.

We pray and then instead of doing the ornament/craft that goes along with the study they create it in Minecraft.

Here are this weeks Truth in the Tinsel Minecraft and LEGO creations.

Advent with Truth in the Tinsel

Advent with Truth in the Tinsel

We love movies in this house so I wanted to start watching a few Christmas movies with the kids this week as well.  I was a bit disappointed with some of the movies that I chose for my boys from Netflix.  They appeared harmless but  let’s just say we had to talk about issues other than Christmas once the movies were over.  So I hopped on over to RightNow Media and found a fabulous movie from Phil Vischer called Why Do We Call It Christmas.  It was great!  It answered so many questions about Christmas like:

  • Why do we have Christmas Trees?
  • Why do we hang stockings?
  • Who is Santa Claus?
  • Is December 25 really Jesus’ birthday?

If you don’t have access to RightNow Media you can purchase the movie from Amazon. I think both you and your kiddos will learn and get a kick out of Why Do We Call It Christmas.

 

Word Up! The Vocab Show from Compass Classroom

Our homeschool groups have gone on Christmas break but that doesn’t mean that we’ve stopped our schooling.  We have decided to change things up a bit though.  Learning Latin and Greek roots along with vocab words has been such a chore for my boys which is why I was super excited when asked to try out  WordUp! by Compass Classroom.  It is awesome!  It’s so much better than the boring flip cards that I’ve been using.  Dwane Thomas keeps my boys entertained with his hilarious comedic style of teaching.  My boys don’t even realize this is a part of their “school”.  You can try out a sample lessons HERE if you’d like.

I plan on sharing more of our Christmas season in the coming weeks so stay tuned!

Disclosure: This post does contain affiliate links.

Pumpkin Kisses

Wondering what to do with your left over pumpkin pie filling?  Why not make a Pumpkin Kiss?  I had quite a bit of filling left over after making a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving and didn’t want it to go to waste.  So, I grabbed the puff pastry I had in my freezer and made this tasty desert.

What you will need:

Muffin Tins – we used our mini-muffin tins

Pumpkin Pie Filling – we used Libby’s recipe

Bakes’s Joy Baking Spray

Puff Pastry Sheets – we used Pepperidge Farm

Round cookie cutter or cup.

What To Do:

Thaw your puff pastry sheet according to the directions.

Spray your muffin tins with Baker’s Joy Baking Spray.

Lay out your thawed pastry sheet.  Using the round cookie cutter or cup cut out circles of the pastry making sure they are large enough to place inside of your muffin tin.

Place the cut out pastries inside of the muffin tins.

Pour the left over pumpkin pie filling into the pastries.

Place pastries in oven that has been pre-heated to 350 degrees.  The time you leave the kisses in the oven will depend on how large your muffin tins are.  We used the small tins and cooked our kisses for about 20 minutes.  Once the pastries start browning your kisses are done.

Enjoy and please let us know how your kisses turn out!

 

 

Halloween 2012 – Good Times!

My boys LOVE Halloween.  They love imagining, they love dressing up, they love running around and they love receiving and handing out candy! People come from all over just to trick-or-treat in our neighborhood and it is such a blessing!  The kids dress up, meet new people and are able to have  fun with family and neighbors.

This year my youngest wanted his mommy and daddy to dress up with him.  He dressed up as superman so naturally he wanted me to be wonder-woman. I put on my wonder-woman “outfit” and when my child saw me the first thing he said was, “Mommy, you need to put on the little blue shorts, red boots and put your hair up. ”  My response, “Yeah, that’s not happening.”

Guess which superhero I am standing next to.

Superman, The Black Night and a Sniper.  Watch out!

 

We also had fun with food.  We made chili, which was super yummy, and then we made some tasty treats.

We found our ideas on pinterest, of course! You can click on the image to link to the recipe.

Here is our puking pumpkin….

….and our sugar cookie fingers.

We had such a blast and I think the kids did too!