American Heritage Girls: Love God

Rachel received a white rose tonight for starting her first year in American Heritage Girls

She is 6 years old so she is in the Pathfinder program.  Melissa and I are Pathfinder co-leaders (although Melissa does most of it and plans amazing activities).

Melissa gave Rachel a birthday present.  A pink frog from the movie Rio.  As you can see, Rachel LOVES her new friend :)

Melissa planned a fun activity to teach the second Pathfinder Stepping Stone which is "Love God".  She had 7 paper bags and each bag had something inside it to represent one of the Days of Creation.  For the first day, there was a flashlight in the bag because God divided the light from the dark.  On the second day, God created the atmosphere and separated it from the there was a water bottle in the bag.  How cute!

We talked about each day and Rachel colored a corresponding coloring page. 

Of course, on the sixth day, God created man and woman.  We also talked about how God created another wonderful blessing.  Melissa pulled out a mirror and said, "God created you!"  Rachel had fun looking in the mirror!

Pathfinder girls have a big sister mentor.  Rachel's big sister is so sweet with her and Rachel loves her dearly.

Ghost Balloons {Halloween Activity for Kids}

The kids participated in a fun STEAM program at our local library today.  STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math.  The program started with the librarian reading aloud Balloons over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy's Parade by Melissa Sweet.

It is a great book the told about the inventor of the amazingly giant balloons that float overhead in the Macy's parade and how they are actually like upside down puppets.

Hmm, but what could balloons have to do with the baking soda and vinegar we see on the table?? 

After the story, the kids watched a video from How It's Made to learn how latex balloons are made.   It is so cool to learn all that goes into making such a simple little balloon.

Then it was time for the kids to make Ghost Balloons!  First you draw a scary face on a white balloon then use a funnel to pour 2 Tablespoons baking soda into the balloon.   Our librarian had already filled the balloons with baking soda before the class so she temporarily sealed them with painter's tape so the kids could draw on them and not spill all of the baking soda out.  If you do this at home, just draw the face on the balloon before you fill it.

Then you fill an empty plastic water bottle with 1/2 cup of vinegar.  Keep the balloon hanging down to keep the baking soda in the balloon and carefully slide the lip of the balloon on to the water bottle.  Once the balloon is securely on the bottle, lift the balloon and let all of the baking soda fall down into the bottle.

The baking soda (solid - base) will mix with the vinegar (liquid - acid) to create a carbon dioxide (gas).  The gas rises and fills the balloon with CO2 and your ghost suddenly appears!

We've done experiments (and free play) with baking soda and vinegar but this one was new for the kids.

It was a great program and a fun way to play with science.  We love our library!

If you are looking for some more Halloween fun, visit the Flower Mound Library on Wednesday, October 29th from 5:00 - 8:00 pm for their Haunted Library!  Kids K-5 can come in costume and trick or treat through a library tour then have fun with games and crafts at their mini-carnival.  The event is free but you will have to have a ticket to attend.  Tickets can be obtained at the Youth Services desk on the morning of the event starting at 9:00 am. 

Having a Wild Time at Indoor Safari Park

Rachel had her birthday party at Indoor Safari Park, a cute indoor play area for kids.  There are several climbing playgrounds, inflatable bounce houses, slides, ball pit, and trampolines.  So much fun!

I tried to get a cute shot of Rachel rolling in the ball pit but she was a wiggly worm and just never stayed still long enough to capture the moment!  She was just too excited!

The kids took a safari train ride through the jungle.  Our party guy talked about the animals they saw along the way and even had the kids make the different animal sounds.

She had lots of friends around her.  There were friends from her acting class, American Heritage Girls, and Community Bible Study class.  Plus a few of their siblings tagged along too.

Rachel's favorite part was the robotic animal rides.  They move on their own and can be steered but the party guy was right there to make sure the kids didn't play bumper cars and run the animals into the walls.

What a happy birthday girl!  I love to see that smile!

Rachel had some colorful cupcakes.  We topped each one with a little jungle animal, except for hers which only had room for her giant "6" candle.

Of course, if you know our baby girl, she loves icing.  When I asked her about what kind of cupcakes she wanted she seriously said that I could just give her a big tub of icing and a spoon!  So it isn't a surprise that she only licked the icing off of her cupcake and called it done.

Before the party, we had talked about just bringing her presents home and opening them there so she could have more time to play with her friends.  She had agreed but as she was eating her cupcake she just kept staring at the big pile of presents and she just couldn't resist.  She started digging in. 

Everyone had a great time and they each had a pink safari hat and a goody bag to take home.  Rachel said it was the best birthday party ever!

Modmarket Plano - Delicious and Wholesome

We had an incredible opportunity to be part of the first training sessions for a new restaurant that will open in Plano next week called Modmarket.  They invited us to their soft opening and offered us free meals in exchange for letting their staff get some real life training with us as some of their first customers.  How fun!

They call themselves a "Farm Fresh Eatery".  Their food is real, whole food like you would get straight from the farm.  As we are trying to eat healthier, more organic foods, I really appreciate this "farm to table" idea.  Modmarket make their food from scratch using whole grain ingredients and real butter.  

I love the weathered wood and rustic farmhouse feel of the decor!  

Modmarket serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  We headed over for lunch.  The restaurant is conveniently located on Preston Road at 121.

Fresh ingredients ready to be made into a delightful creation for your mouth and tummy to enjoy!

We placed our order and found our seats to wait for our food to be prepared.  While we waited, the kids went to fill up their drink cups.  They came back saying the drinks were "weird".  Hmmm, I had to check this out.  Turns out that if the spout isn't labeled by a company like Pepsi or Coke then my kids think it is weird.  Sadly we don't see many drinks like these made from real cane sugar and with classic flavors like Creme Soda or Ginger Ale.  I absolutely loved it and after my kids tried it they loved it too!  Sometimes weird is really just untried. 

The food made my mouth do the happy dance!  The Wintergreen salad is made of spinach, goat cheese, roasted potatoes, walnuts, apples, dates and and a delightful agave herb vinaigrette.  It was an unusual combination that I have not tried before but it really went well together.  And that agave herb vinaigrette was really nice.

The Chipotle Steak sandwich has just the right bit of kick to it with grilled steak, chipotle aioli, mixed greens, muenster cheese, tomato, and ciabatta bread. Mmmm, I just loved this sandwich.  It tasted fresh.  There were lots of veggies on it but the the perfectly seasoned meat really shined through.  I don't know if I could ever order anything else after trying this.  I loved it!

Modmarket has some amazing pizzas too!  Their dough is made fresh every day in the restaurant and each pizza is cooked in a real brick oven.  Gluten free and half size pizzas are available.  Nicholas ordered a basic pepperoni pizza but there was nothing basic about this bad boy!

All of our food at Modmarket was delicious and I felt good about what we put in our bodies.  We can't wait to go back again.

Modmarket Plano is located at 8400 Preston Road, Suite 100 in Plano.  They are open from 7:00 am - 9:00 pm.  You can give them a ring with any questions at 469-573-6074 or check out their webpage for more info and a complete menu.

Happy Birthday Rachel!

Our baby girl is 6 years old today!  It seems like just yesterday she was this little bundle of love and giggles!

While she slept last night, we covered her bedroom floor with pink balloons and fake flower petals.  (She kind of told us she wanted that.  Do it one year and they expect you to repeat it or outdo it every year that follows!)

When she woke up, she ran to our room begging to open presents.  She first opened her Unicorn Ball Pet which she loves!

Next she dove into a whole bag full of Disney's "Frozen" themed stuff including an Elsa doll, Anna doll, Frozen book, and Frozen headphones.

Nicholas used his own money to buy bubble gum for Rachel.

I had an appointment early this morning so we had to cut short the present opening.  That was hard for this little girl but she was happy at the decorations she found at the breakfast table.

We wanted Rachel to wait until Daddy got home to open the rest of her presents.  Fortunately it was a busy day so it was easy to keep her mind off of it.  But by the afternoon, she was constantly asking, "When is Daddy coming home?" , "What time is it?" ,"Is Daddy almost home?".  It was torture...for her and me!

Stuart had hardly made it in the door when Rachel started ripping into the rest of her presents.

She is feeling quiite sassy with her new Hello Kitty purse.

And the new Razor scooter that lights up is definitely a big hit!

She has been asking for Chloe, a dog she saw at the Animal Adoption Center, for her birthday.  But instead of something that eats and poops, we got her this toy butterfly that flaps its wings.  She can take it out of its habitat and hold it in her hands.  It flaps its wings in different patterns depending on whether it is lonely, content, or joyful.

She had a ball opening present after present.

She finally got to one of her favorite gifts, a Rainbow Loom.  I found tons of different colored bands at JoAnns craft store to get her started.

With the living room covered in wrapping paper, we headed out for dinner at Chuck E. Cheese. 

The pizza was surprisingly good but we all know the real reason one goes to Chuck E. Cheese - to play the games!  So off we went...

The boys could often be found playing racing or battle games together.

Rachel was just interested in playing games that would spit out tickets she could use for prizes.  She collected a ton of tickets!

We don't go to Chuck E. Cheese very often but we had a really good time together as a family.

When all of the game tokens were spent, we went home for birthday cake.  I dropped the ball and forgot to order a really nicely decorated cake for her so we took what we could find at Kroger at 5:00 this afternoon!

She didn't mind.  She got to pick out a white cake with chocolate icing.

But it really didn't matter since she was only interested in eating spoonfuls of the icing.  You don't see any cake on that spoon, do you?

Yep, she scraped it clean without eating a single bite of actual cake!

Happy 6th Birthday Rachel!  We love you so much!

Jungle Theme Party Invitations

Rachel is having her birthday party at Indoor Safari Park play area so she wanted some really cute jungle theme party invitations.  We had some plastic jungle animals to put on top of her cupcakes and to decorate her party table so it only made sense to somehow incorporate these into her invitations.

For her big brother's party this year, we made some fancy knight themed invitations in a scroll to go with his Medieval Times birthday party.  So Rachel expected the same level of over-the-top invitations for her party.  She actually helped me come up with this idea of putting one of the little jungle animals in a cage.  They turned out really cute and they weren't hard to make at all.

We found the little boxes for sale in the gift wrap section at Hobby Lobby.  They worked well with the size of the animals we had.  We also used some gift basket filler, markers, scissors, and an invitation with all of the party info on it.

I used my sharp scissors to start the holes for the cage.  I had originally thought of cutting holes in all four sides to make a more realistic cage.  However, I realized that would make it more time consuming plus the box would loose a lot of its structural integrity so I decided to just cut holes on one side.

Then we put the basket filler in the bottom of the box along with the jungle animal and the invitation.

It looked cute enough like that but I thought it needed more color so I added grass, flowers, a "Do Not Feed The Animals" sign on the back and a "Handle with Care" sign on the top of the box.

The only down side to these invitations is that they can not be sent through the postal service so we drove around to her friends' houses and left them on their doorstep for a fun surprise!