Saturday, July 28, 2012

Seth turns eleven!

Seth turned eleven this week!  I cannot believe it!

We allow our kids birthday parties every other year, so this year he got a party.  He has been planning and anticipating for two years, and I am happy to say he wasn't disappointed.   I had so much fun planning it with him that I am going to tell you all about it in this post!

First off thanks go to Rob's sister Melanie and cousin Kaylie for helping out.  I asked Kaylie to take pictures so we have her to thank for all of these featured in this post.  It was so nice to not have to worry about taking photos during the party.
Seth had a Harry Potter themed party.  He had it in his mind ever since he first read the books, that when he turned eleven he wanted a H.P. party because that is the age Harry was when he first went to Hogwarts.  We sent out invitations similar to Harry's acceptance letter to Hogwarts. 

When the guests first arrived we had them "select" their wands.  Melanie played the role of Ollivander.  Each "student" would pick a wand, then brandish it at Melanie while calling out the name of an animal.  The first couple of times she would not react, but then when the "right" wand was found, she would "turn" into the animal.  (I might add that all of these creative ideas were found online, I did not come up with them.  Seth came up with a few on his own, but not me.)

After they found their wands the guests could guess how many jelly belly's were in the jar.  The closest guess got to take home the jar.
Then we "sorted" to two houses by having them draw a badge out of the hat.
The Ravenclaws.
The Gryffindors.
Then it was time for Potions class. 
We had a great time making Magic Mud- this is a cornstarch and water concoction that is a colloid meaning, (I think) that it is kind of a liquid and kind of a solid all at once.  If you squish it in your hands it feels like clay, but if you hold it still in your hand, it oozes like liquid.  Very boy friendly! :)
I put blue food coloring in the water just for fun.  It made some very messy hands.

Then we made a "restorative mandrake draught" otherwise known as baking soda/vinegar eruptions. (As you can see this was also a hit).
The ingredients mixed together to make a pretty green potion.
After a game of Aurors vs. Death Eaters it was time for Defense Against the Dark Arts where we made Anti-Dark Wizard Missiles.  These were alka seltzer tablets and water combined in a film canister.  This was very exciting for the boys.  The lid of the film canister pops off after the carbon dioxide builds up.  Thanks to my friend Becky for giving me this idea from her son's birthday party.

One of the games we played was "Giants, Elves, Wizards" a spinoff of Rock, Paper, Scissors.  The two houses huddled together and decided what pose they would pick for that round...
Then they ran up to the designated middle point and lined up and acted out their pose.  Whichever side "won" would chase the other team back to their base.  Whoever was tagged had to join the other side.
We also had a broomstick obstacle course designed by Seth (Quidditch practice- very important)

Even though the party was planned for the evening, it was still pretty hot.
We also had a Magical Creatures hunt, and played Charades for Transfiguration.  We had more activities planned but ran out of time.  So we hustled inside for some cake and ice cream.

Everyone had a good time.  It was definitely the easiest birthday party I have ever been in charge of.  The boys were well behaved and excited about everything.  I was a little worried that some would not get into the "pretend" aspect of the party, but they all seemed to enjoy it.  Seth did such a great job planning it with me.  So, it was a success.

Even Sydney thought so.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Summer Fun

We have had a very busy summer so far.  It has slowed down for a few weeks so now I have a chance to catch up on my blog!

We had two days of summer break at home and then we headed to Idaho Falls to visit and attend the wedding of Rob's cousin.  All of Rob's siblings came except one so it was a mini reunion.  We had a great time going to iJump, a new trampoline place, and the zoo and park.  I suspect Rob has picture on his phone so one of these days I will post those.

Sydney enjoyed climbing onto this chair at Grandma's house.
When we got home our cherries were just beginning to ripen.  We have three large trees and they were each covered in cherries.  We picked lots and lots to eat, I made jam, froze some, brought some to Pack Meeting, gave lots away, and sold 30 lbs.  This was all off of one tree.  Three days after getting home from IF we headed to CA to visit with my parents.  Rob was traveling out of town for work and then scout camp so we decided to head down early.  In between his travels Rob picked and shared the rest of the cherries. 
When we first arrived in CA the weather was a little cool for swimming but that did not stop our kids.  However, the wading pool they got out for Russ and Sydney was definitely warmer!

What a goofball!
We always enjoy roasting marshmallows over my parent's firepit in the evenings.  Seth is becoming quite proficient at it.

One of the days we were there we went to a park.  It was a very creative park that invigorated the imagination.  The playground was laid out like an old wild west town with a jail, train and station, and General Store.  The kids had a great time.

It is so nice to have older kids that can help with the baby.  Grant enjoys caring for his baby sister.  He does a great job.  He seeks her out to play with often.

The park also had a maze.  It worked best as a maze if you were Russell's height or shorter, but otherwise was a fun path to walk through.

When they tired of the park we went next door to the Maidu Indian museum.  The museum had a mile-long trail outside which showcased some of the ways of life of the Maidu Indians and some archeaological remnants of their civilization.  We took a liking to this big tree on the bank of a creek.  The trunk was almost completely uprooted and laying horizontally on the ground, but then where Seth is standing in the picture it curved upward and became a tall tree. 

We had quite a scare that delayed our trip home from CA by a day.  Rob stepped on a bee or wasp and had an allergic reaction that landed him in the hospital overnight.  I won't go into the details but he broke out in hives and became very swollen.  He took some Benadryl and never felt in danger of not being able to breathe, however his blood pressure dropped significantly and he passed out a few times. I was very grateful for the help of my father, brother Steve, and brother-in-law Sam (who just finished 1 year of medical school and kept reminding us that he is not yet a doctor when we kept looking to him for advice.  He seemed like a doctor to me because he was right on target with all of his assessments and predictions.  He will make a fabulous doctor.)  I am so thankful to my mom and sister Heidi for helping me watch my kids so I could be with Rob in the hospital.  I am also very grateful for modern medicine.
We got home from CA on Monday, July 2.  Wednesday, July 4 we spent the afternoon with cousins.  We put two slip-'n-slides together down the slop of our drainage ditch.  It provided much fun on a hot day!
Grant enjoyed the sprinkler under the trampoline.

Luckily the water didn't hurt anything by pooling in the drainage ditch.
I am not sure why this picture flipped when it was uploaded.  This is the yummy cake I made for the 4th (these raspberries are from our own patch!)
Here we are getting set to watch the fireworks show.  We had our friends the Wells over for a BBQ and fireworks.  Seth and their son Michael are the same age and they wanted to put on the show for us.  They enjoyed themselves.  The show ended just as it became completely dark and everyone in the valley set off their illegal fireworks.  We have a great view of them out our backyard.  It is a little more obstructed now than it was three years ago when we were last home on the 4th because our trees have grown, but it was still an impressive display.

On Thursday my aunt and uncle came to ID for a business trip.  My aunt Laura and their kids Michael and Emilee visited with us during the day and Alan joined us later in the evening.  We had such a great time with them.  We played water kickball for quite a while in the backyard.  Some neighbor kids joined us.

Laura had attempted to hold Sydney a few times during the day but could never win Sydney over.  So she was pretty jealous when Alan walked in and Sydney took an immediate liking to him.  I snapped this photo just a split second too late.  Just before she was snuggling in to Alan as if he was her favorite person in the world!
Last night Rob and I stayed up too late making apricot freezer jam.  We only got one big bowl of apricots off our tree this year so I was pleasantly surprised when we got over 14 bottles of jam!!

Whew!  That has been our summer so far!  If you made it through this post I am impressed with your fortitude!  We are home now for the next little while.  Swimming lessons start next week so that is the next adventure.