Our Wing Night Traditions…

We love hot wings.
To say it calmly is an understatement, I ate them so spicy when I was pregnant with #4 that I would have to bend over he’d kick so much, but that little guy loves him some hot ones too.  Looking back no wonder he was such a fussy baby I probably burned his throat in utero.  {Just kidding, I don’t think that can actually happen.}

I was not originally a hot wing lover, I could not understand why someone would get excited about a tiny spicy piece of chicken… Until I finally had one, or two or three.  We would have hot wings while up at basketball camp.  The director is a good friend of ours, {our children stair step, when one of us would have a child 9 months later the other one would, during our gap they had 2 we caught up and now laugh about going places with all our kids and the looks we’d get.} Anyway, he would order them for all the counselors and coaches on Thursday Night after the games.  Once or twice I went to the party and decided they were good.  But we only had them over the summer and never any other time.

We began to look forward to hot wings as part of our summer fun, after a few years, we started to make our own in my large frying pan it would make a horrible mess.  Our Wing Night tradition began.  Most of our friends are/were teachers so doing a wing night during the week was not always possible, we began doing wing nights on Sunday Nights for “no school Mondays” which most of the time meant students were home and teachers were able to go in a little later than normal.

Wendi, Cara, Jen, and ChristinaKeith, Ellen, and KimJames and Stacy

 One Christmas Keith gave me a “Fry Daddy”. Which made a much smaller mess.  We’d fry them up and toss them with Franks Red Hot Wing Sauce.  Everyone always brought food to share, but each one brought the same thing.  Wendi always brought the circle of frosted cookies from the grocery store,  Charlie {not pictured} would bring pop to drink, Cara would bring celery and ranch, Ellen brought brownies, Christina, James, and Stacy liked to mix it up and Kim always brought some fresh fruit and home-made goodies.  We would pull out the kids cartoon wash cloths and use them in place of napkins.  One year for Christmas Cara gave me a set of wash cloths, they have since died and I purchased some more.  Sadly all of these friends have moved away but the tradition continues.

When Keith started his masters degree we stayed in a “family dorm” with friends we knew from basketball camp, our suites were on the same floor.  We started our own tradition of Wing Night Wednesday.  We’d order from a local place and go get wings.  We loved this time, we’d sit in the lounge between our suites with the doors cracked to hear our sleeping children and laugh till we had tears rolling down our faces.  He is an excellent story-teller and the comments she interjected would have us laughing,  Keith’s stories were added to the mix and we’d laugh till midnight some weeks.  We loved those summers, 3 summers of laughing, sharing, bonding, and wing nights.  We were beyond thrilled when they moved down to our church and school.  He became our sports pastor for the last 5 years {now he will be coaching and teaching at our school} and she took our school choir from great to amazing!  Their 2 sweet daughters have grown up right before our eyes and all of our children look forward to “no school Monday Wing Night”  reminding us of the upcoming day off to be sure we plan to have wings.  Our children now sit at the grown up table {most of them} when we order our wings.  We laugh, talk, laugh and talk telling stories and playing games.  Their oldest daughter graduated from highschool and will be going to the local liberal arts university she has already informed us she will still be coming to wing nights when she can fit it into her schedule.

Over the summer we can do wing night any time we want so Wing Night is actually this Saturday night since Keith and C leave for Europe and the kids have decided they need one sooner rather than later.  So for the kids we’ll suffer through a wing night and have an evening of laughing and talking and some game playing.

Go hug your kids and do something surprisingly fun this week.
jen

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Wednesday Fun and a Car Game on Thursday

We’ve been married for-ever!  I’m at the point where I can no longer remember being alone and able to go and do without checking plans so I can scoot out and go alone.  I love that, but sometimes even being married forever there is still a lack of communication…  Here is a recent example.

me calling Keith… here is our phone call
J~ So and So was injured in an accident
K~who
J~So and So
K~who
J~S~o and S~o
K~you can keep saying the name I don’t know who that is…
Sometimes we speak the same language and sometimes we don’t…

Years ago one morning Keith called the house asking me to bring something in when I dropped the kids off at school.  C was in 4th grade,  I was back in my bedroom fixing O’s hair so C took the call for me.  He came back to me tell me the
C~”fire department called”
J~”what did they want?”
C~”they want to know if we have a fireplace.”
J~”what did you tell them?”
C~”I told them yes.”
J~”Weird…”
As I was dropping kids off, and walking my kindergartener to class, Keith came out of his office to ask me where the file he needed was.  I had no idea what he was talking about, his reply “I called and talked to C telling him to bring me the file by the fire-place”  I burst out laughing… Yeah it was NOT the fire department calling about the fireplace, it was his father asking for a FILE by the FIREPLACE…  He still is not really good about relaying messages to me.

Out on the pool deck one afternoon, R being a 6th grader said something ridiculous.  C responded equally as stupid. and I corrected them “just because he says something stupid does not mean you need to be stupid too”  then R said “I’m gawking at your stupid” To which we burst out laughing.

One evening I was eating A’s feet, {not vampire style just pretending to eat them…} C was sitting on the bed with us and put his size 13 feet up to my face and asked me to “eat my feet mom” to which I laughingly said “ew no” he looked at me in all seriousness and said ” you love her more than me don’t you”  umm yeah C, or I love her tiny feet more than a foot bigger than my head…

CAR GAME

We used to travel a lot going about 20 hours to basketball camp for 4 weeks every summer.  Later going the same distance for Keith to earn his masters degree.  Twenty hours in a car, then a van is a long time to be touching or close to touching someone.  It is a long time to be stuck in a car seat so I would pack travel trinkets for the kids.  As the kids all grew antsy I’d pass them out they would be wrapped in plain tissue paper, and they varied from tiny magnifying glass to gum to a new movie or new book.  The last few years it has only been a 12 hour trip.  But every trip is not long enough for travel trinkets and while I do enjoy the silence of each child watching a movie I know that family bonding or memory making is important too.  So last year I made a car game for the family to play while we drove to the beach.  There was a lot of chaos as we tried to work out the kinks in the game.  Last year I wrote out questions on index cards all family trivia which most of  the kids enjoyed.  The prizes were to switch seats or get a piece of candy simple stuff like that.  This beach trip I did not really have much time for planning a game, I’d been spending a lot of time at my mom’s house visiting with her and doing things for her, then with Keith and O gone and the stomach bug. Anyway, time got away from me to make a family trivia game so I cheated… I took the kids trivial pursuit game cards out and we used them.  I took a dice and put it in a clear snap container so the dice could be shaken and the number seen with out the possibility of it being lost in the van.
Here is how we played and I am sure before we drive 23 hours to a wedding in a few weeks and then 12 hours to great grandma’s visiting our Michigan family then the 20 hours home I will be more than happy to let the kids sit in silence watching movies.  I will probably be over the family bonding.  I have begun planning stops and games and things to keep us occupied.  I even planning on changing the game up a bit.

Here is how we played the game
Roll the dice
Choose a color for a question {we had no idea the categories so the kids rotated through the colors as they wished}
Answer the question
Get it wrong, your turn is over {I am a firm believer in winners and losers, although if a child is losing a lot I will help them out a bit by choosing the easier question on the card or making one up for them…  I don’t want them crushed, but do want them to be a gracious winner or loser}
Get it right and follow the dice
ROLL
1~roll again
2~piece of candy
3~silence someone {they use a harry potter term} until their next turn
4~talk in a funny voice until your next turn
5~switch seats with someone in the van {this is always a rowdy fiasco that the back seat kids love and the front seat or front row dread, there is much laughing and pinching going on with seat changes}
6~piece of candy

I was kind of stuck with roll ideas so IF you have a roll idea I’d love to use it since some of mine are just plain boring…  Now I am thinking of assigning a reward of sorts to a point value since that could be a lot of candy being consumed in the van.  What are your thoughts or ideas?

That is it for our game, we’ve played for the last 2 summers for a while until the natives get restless and then we are at the beach!

Go hug your kids and try to make some boring activity a memory or at least more enjoyable.
Any roll ideas or anyone going on a long road trip this summer, what do you do to keep the natives happy or at least not ready to attack?
Jen

p.s.  I remember traveling back from Mi when I was in about 8th grade.  We had a hatchback Ford Escort with no air… and we were stuck in traffic my sister laid the front seat all the way back, I sat on the back of the seat she sat on the seat and I braided her hair while we sat stuck in traffic, I remember that we laughed a lot as we sat there.  I also remember my mom laying the back seat down so we could have more room to wiggle and play while she put the suitcases and stuff in the front seat.  We did not use a seatbelt and we had all the windows rolled down for air.  My mom always got a tan on her left arm from driving.  I hope my kids will have fond memories of our travels.

Our Beach Misadventure…

Today Tropical Storm Debby won.
She got the better of us,
we left the beach with more dirty clothes than dirty swim wear.
We did not even use all our beach towels.
The tubes of sunscreen came back half full,
and new cans of spray sunscreen were unopened.
Our planned family pictures were not taken.
Our library books were not read.
No sand castles or drip castles were made.
No cool shells were collected.
Our beach vacation is over.

We did make some memories.
We shared some hysterical cannot breathe laughing.

We went to Wal~Mart on Sunday and after getting the 2 things I needed, we hoola~hooped all at once to see how can hoop the longest, O was our best hip shaker and the boys were not hip shakers at all {kind of glad for that!}  We tossed footballs and honked bike horns, we tried out the giant bouncy balls.  We used WM as an indoor playground and if baby A was not getting fussy and E was not being a whiney child we probably would have played hide-n-seek.  We needed to move, but the people of WM did not enjoy us or find us amusing.  They were not stuck in a tiny condo with more people than seats.  They were not trying to make the best of a wet vacation.

We discussed the difference between a ticket and a written warning, which I still insist are 2 different things…

On Monday the rains let up for small bursts and when it did we shot out of our condo like… well, like a family of 9 who was tired of being on top of each other.

We went to the pool and the hot tub and the beach.
We would get about 20 minutes before the rains started up again.
We were able to get out night walk in, it was windy and gusty and rained but we did it.R and baby A watching the waves between rain bursts.Dark skies and wind made R look like a fuzzy bear head.It was too cold and windy for E.O was kind enough to draw stick figure family portrait for me.

We left today but we will be back.
Go hug your kids they need your love, and mine need some more beach time
jen

Tropical Storm Debby and the Stormy Beach Weekend

We were all set.

The sunscreen was all updated, tossed and replaced.

Lists were made, followed and bags were packed.

Beach towels were washed, and folded into my perfect beach towel bag which is a 31 bag.
{ My favorite is the Large Utility Tote it holds so much, we took 2 on this beach trip.}

Sunglasses grabbed and floats deflated.

Menu planned and groceries purchased.

The weather was not checked.

We were off for a 4 day weekend at the beach. 
Our beach.
Our beach condo.
Ahhh

Saturday it was wonderful, the sun was shining, and the clouds kept us from sweltering before we jumped in.  It was relaxing, the kids caught tiny fish, baby A ran back and forth between our chairs and the water, and sitting in the midst of the big kids who were hunting tiny fish.  We spent a few hours in the pool where E learned to jump in and J perfected his cannon ball.  A was a bit of a stinker pushing E into the pool a few times and C gave her a big toss into the pool.  She popped right up and if she had not been so excited to pop back up and swim I am sure she would have been upset with him.

Jumping in {the under water swimmer is J}Not wanting to miss out A also perfected jumping in

Sunday was not so perfect, in fact as J says it was miserable.  It rained and rained the winds blew and we were stuck inside.  We did catch about an hour of beach and pool time early in the day.  Tropical Storm Debby was sweeping over Florida and our vacation was caught up in the rains.  We did not have the other things to worry about but we did have the winds and rain and tornado weather.
While we were out trying to get some beach time in I took video and pictures of Keith and C, O, and R playing in the waves,  The swells and waves were between 5 and 6 feet.  The rip tide was strong and the rain felt like hundreds of needles pelting into my skin as I stood out there watching them.They came back up battered, bruised and sore.  But the waves were the best they’ve ever had while we are here.
{2 out of 4 floats did not survive the adventure}
We are hopeful that tomorrow the rain and winds will stop so we can go out to the beach, sit, dig, relax, and just be.  We hope the rains and wind stop so we can go for a night walk on the beach, we hope the rains stop because 9 people in a tiny condo can get a little crabby and crowded.  {9 people because my sister is here with us, she always travels with us we love it and I think my kids would miss it if she was not with us}  We are hopeful that we will go home with dirty swim suits, since going home from the beach with dirty clothes but clean swimwear would be a tragedy.
Go hug your kids I hope your weekend fun did not get rained out…
jen

Shopping is Always an Adventure

Grocery shopping is certainly easier alone than dragging a kid or two or 6 with you…

Shopping with child in tow, I drop more things, cut off more people, have people avoid the aisle I’m shopping in when I have a cart load of children with me and I wander back and forth in no particular order…  The Publix I used to shop at was near a retirement village and certain days of the week the “old folks” would shuffle along and shop with me {or actually us.} What cracked me up was the old couples who would take a look at my sweet fresh and clean child in the first or second aisle of the store and ask something like “oh what aisle did you find that sweet thing?”  “I wonder if there are any more babies as cute as yours waiting to be bought”  …you get the idea.  But about 5 aisles later when the cute toddler had snot dripping off his face from falling and crying and the sweet baby in the basket now stinks up the entire store they look my way in disgust and “tsk” at me.  But they have forgotten that the hot mess they are looking at was a cute little charmer 5 rows back.

Shopping alone you do not get the “Mom are THOSE adult diapers?”  or ” Mom what is that smell” or “Mom how does a baby get out of your belly if it does not come out your mouth?” or “Mom R knocked my phone out of my hand and now it is under the produce display.”  Yeah you miss all those…

Honestly I love shopping alone and often head to Publix after the little children are in bed and the big kids are busy with homework.  I enjoy that time looking at new products, reading labels in silence, and getting the things on my list with my coupons.  It is almost date night for one.  Yes please!

I can’t always have a leisure time at the store, I have to remind myself that these are memories we are making, that they are learning how to use coupons, shop wisely and read labels.  They don’t mean to knock over the cardboard display of pepperoni, they don’t mean to sneeze after taking a bite of a sample, or spill my tea, pee out of their diaper, or make 15 trips to the bathroom, they are just enjoying life and the public bathroom.  Seriously it is fun to play with the automatic faucet and soap dispenser…

Usually while standing in line is when I get the “wow you have a lot of kids comments”  If they are sweet to me I kindly respond. “Yes they are mine, then a child pipes up there are ____ more at home” or I’ll answer “just more to love.”  If they are funny about it then I answer something like “I needed a hobby, yes they keep me busy, I stay out of trouble b/c I’m busy doing laundry…”  But it is the rude ones that get me, the ones who comment about how much food we go through or diapers we use up…  The ones who are not joking when they comment on  “WOW 6 KIDS how can you afford all those kids, bet they eat a lot.”  Those are the ones I want to smack, I smile sweetly and look at their crabby face and say “well, we did not mean to but making them was so fun”  that usually stops them in their tracks.  It irritates me because it is none of their business.

So while shopping with children is sometimes more work than fun I have to admit that I learn a lot while shopping with them.  Today for example I took 4 kids with me to Sams, it was uneventful, only one child fell ,we just had a minor spill, and we were in and out in 45 minutes.  Which is pretty much a record any time I go to Sam’s.

Things I learned on the way to Sams club today:

slugs have 3 noses

most UFO sightings are when venus is closest to earth

you can buy land on mars and venus

E does not like to go under water

J likes white milk with his cereal
{which makes me wonder which child uses chocolate milk in their cereal?}

If I had not taken 4 kids to Sam’s today I would not have learned all those things, would I have shopped without a child spilling a tea, sure. But I would not have gotten that big ol kiss when lifting that child into the cart and I don’t want to miss that!

Go hug your kids and enjoy the distractions while shopping because as the sweet retired people remind me, soon I’ll be alone shopping and won’t have to answer any awkward questions but will be asking some tried mama “where can I buy one of those babies?”
jen

A Little Peanut Butter Snack

Every day at our house at 3:15 rain or shine, any day of the week all year~long it is snack time.
For some of the kids, I think they learned how to tell time just so they could know when snack time is without asking.
They can choose anything they want {within reason} for snack but if they choose a piece of candy they must also have a cheese stick.  I can let them choose with confidence knowing that I only have healthy snacks in the house and they are usually already in zipper baggies in portion sizes.

A few days ago baby A wanted her snack and she gave me a jar of Peter Pan Honey Roasted Creamy Peanut Butter and a spoon for her snack.  So I gave her a spoonful of PB and took the jar screwed on the lid and put it in the pantry.  I left her to enjoy her spoonful of pb and went to take care of a load of laundry, which lead to sorting out a drawer, which lead to adding the outgrown clothes to the donate pile, which lead to sweeping the diningroom floor… you get the idea.  About 30 minutes later I went back to the family room and found baby A with the jar of PB and her spoons.
I guess she was hungry for more?She loves her peanut butter.It is easier to get it all with 2 spoons.I should mention that the jar was almost full when she gave it to me the first time…

We labeled that jar with her name so no one else accidentally uses her double dipped peanut butter jar.
What did you have for snack today, a half a jar of PB like baby A did?
Go hug your kids and enjoy a nice spoonful of PB
jen

4th Of July Shirts

Pinterest~ing
 I love pinterest, a lot, as shown by the “family drama” preformed in my bathroom a few weeks ago.  And I do my best not to let it consume me, not to allow it to make me grow discontent with my house, my clothing, my car, my family, or my lack of work out routine.  I think comparison is a killer for so many people, and with pinterets a click away it can be very hard.  I work hard to keep my boards clean and useful, and often go through them purging things I realistically know I cannot do, cannot afford, and cannot give up my precious time for.  All that being said there are some pretty fabulous ideas and things to do on that site.

I saw this shirt, pinned it and LOVE it.  You can go to Ashley’s blog and check out how she made hers and I’ll show you how I made mine.
Here is what I used:
1 white t-shirt from target $5.00 each
1 bobbin of ruffled ribbon from Hobby Lobby {$2.99} $1.50
{it is actually called decorative trim and I got it during the half off ribbon week they have each month}
some left over blue tulle but you could use a scrap of blue fabric FREE
star buttons {A’s was free and E’s for all 3} $2.75

Here are my directions:

~Carefully plucked off the heart pocket from the target shirt
 {I actually put 2 tiny holes in the shirt, so don’t lose heart I just positioned the ribbon over the holes so no one but my 3blog readers knows that}~Measure how long you want your stripes to be and cut the ribbon a full inch longer {to fold under when sewing but if you want to heat seal the edges then you can cut it exact you could also use that big fat ric rac that H.L. has if the ruffle ribbon is too “ruffley” for you}
I used 3 long ribbons and 2 short ribbons but you can be accurate and go for 7 red rows

A’s shirt the long stripes are about 6 inches and the short stripes are about 4
E’s shirt the long stripes are about 8 inches the short about 5 {her blue is more rectangle than square}

~Use a ruler and a pencil to draw out the lines to follow for the stripes and I pinned A LOT!  Way more than I normal when sewing I did not want them to shift, or run up or down.I had company so we watched Duck Dynasty together while I sewed, which means we laughed a lot while I was sewing, which is probably why I was not too upset about the 2 holes in the shirt…~Straight stitch the ribbon onto the shirt trying hard to stay on that line but not worrying because a little wonky would be fine.
 ~Cut your blue fabric to fit in the opening, it is not exact just close. { I used white thread to sew mine on because I was going to pluck the threads off and let the tulle stand out but have since changed my mind and I am fine with the white.}  Do what you want for the blue square.
 ~Clip your threads and smile at your work!  Now you are ready for the parade and fireworks!Baby A has only 1 button {I made hers first and only had 1 star in my button jar}E has 3 stars because I ran to Hob’lob the next day to grab more.

This is what my girls will wear for the 4th, we will have an easy day, swimming, playing and eating then we will go down town to watch the fireworks.  {Keith and C will be in Europe that week so they will miss out on our festivities but will be having an amazing time without us.}

Let me know if you tried the shirt out and what you used for the stripes and stars.

Go hug your kids, the big one just took the van to go to lunch with his friends, I am too young for a very independent driver!
jen