Sunday, June 30, 2013

A Mistmantle Birthday


Yesterday we celebrated John Paul's birthday with a Mistmantle party.  It's a pretty great thing that nine year olds can be a part of the planning and they take over lots of the work for it when it's their party.  He and I came up with the plans and he was hard at work the last week getting all the preparations ready.  It was so fun to do with him and a joy to watch him take so much of it on.  And it was so great.  My niece even told us "it was the best birthday part she's ever been to."  How fun is that?

He and I read these books over the past year after glowing reviews from my sister in law and especially my niece.  They were right.  The books are really well written.  They have complex and engaging story lines without dabbling in the ever popular moral relativism of modern lit.  They take place on the island of Mistmantle and the main characters are squirrels, otters, hedgehogs, and moles who partake in battles and adventures all in service of The Heart.  (The themes and violence can be a bit intense, though, so know that before you plunge in!)  We've loved reading them - enough that John Paul wanted to celebrate his birthday with all things Mistmantle.

(Try not to be jealous of my stellar word processing skills.)


I made simple "riding stars" to hang which would probably look way more impressive in a room that wasn't also white.  But John Paul's face lit up when he saw them so it's a win.

Before the party we presented John Paul with his last gift from us.

(Patiently listening to Papa's rules of the gift lecture before opening.)


A real metal sword.  Oh, yes.  I think he likes it ;)  Fear not.  It's been filed down and we greatly impressed upon him all of The Rules.

It totally does make the coolest sound when it's pulled out of the scabbard.  

John Paul assigned everyone at the party a character complete with name tags.  He, of course, was Urchin.


Michael lived it up playing King Crispin.  We came up with the best matching character for every person coming which was quite entertaining.


We had people over in the afternoon so it was just snacks and cake which made things way simpler since everything could be ready beforehand.  I had a moment of genius while driving one day and decided to make a snack for each of the Mistmantle animals.  John Paul and I had fun thinking up what each one would be.

Nuts for the squirrels...

...ants on a log for the hedgehogs...

dirt cups with organic (read: expensive) gummy worms for the moles...


...and fish for the otters.

We thought it would be fun to have real sardines, especially since we knew that at least Grandpa would eat them :)

I was so proud that John Paul actually tried a bite!  (...aaand promptly spit it out...)

The Island of Mistmantle cake

There isn't an official map of Mistmantle so this was based off of a drawing that John Paul made a few months ago:


From the moment he knew he wanted a Mistmantle party John Paul began brainstorming a few games.  "Shoot the Raven" was his first idea.


We made this together using a black garbage bag, crumpled paper bags, poster board, and twine.  We were kind of proud of how it turned out!

Raaar.


Urchin attacks the raven.


The kids each got several way too many shots at the raven.  Eventually we had to bring the swords out to bring the raven to his final demise and release the candy within.  
(Ha!  Look at Luke trying to make a break for it...) 

 Ouch.  You should've seen him when we were done.

The next game was Ring Urchin with the Circlet

Beer bottles perform many functions in this house.

And finally, John Paul hid the Heartstone and Baby Catkin before the party for a game of Find the Heartstone and Find the Heir of Mistmantle.  The kids got to go search and find them.


We used the Heartstone painted and sent to us by my nieces.  The whole time we kept saying how much we wished they could have been here to play!  John Paul sewed that Catkin baby by himself.  It's just a head (the body is rolled up fleece), but still!  I was impressed.

A few gifts (and Grandpa and Grandma didn't even know we had started reading Lord of the Rings!)

A real foam target!  He also got several books, that chainmail, and a gift card that will be spent on "probably a baseball bat and some arrows."

The day before on John Paul's actual birthday we had given him a few of our gifts.  This picture is horrible (someone please teach me how to take indoor pictures.) but I had to include it because just look at Michael's face.  He was so proud that he had bought two arrows for his brother with his own money.

Today John Paul is coming down from his birthday high.  He roped in a woman before Mass this morning and told her all about his celebrations.  The best part was that he included today in his narration ("and now we get to go to Mass!").  That kid really is something else.  And I get to be his mom.



Friday, June 28, 2013

Seven Quick Takes

Will she or will she not actually get the Quick Takes up when she has tried and failed the past two Fridays?  Only time will tell...

1.

John Paul turns nine today!  He has been counting down for a few weeks.  We're celebrating with grandparents and Godparents tomorrow.  John Paul asked for a Mistmantle party which we've been having fun planning.  Today is being marked with Mass, cereal for breakfast (I know.  Right down CRAZY people we are.), party preparations, tuna cheesies for dinner, then (provided it's not rained out) John Paul's last regular season game after which he will give his team the cupcakes that he has been planning from the moment he realized he had a game on his birthday.  (See?  Homeschool kids get to do that stuff, too!).  All of this reminds me that someday I really do  need to sit down and write what I remember of my firstborn's birth story.  It's really been nine years?



2.


This verse has been on my mind this week.  Fitting for current events, I think.  But also fitting because I think it exemplifies John Paul perfectly.  The kid is awesome.

3.

I am in absolute awe over how much has been raised for the Borobia laundry makeover.  Just...wow.  When Cari started it I was hopeful we'd be able to raise a few hundred dollars to pay for a plumber to come fix things so she wouldn't be risking electrocution in order to do laundry.  Or diseases from the drowned mice.  But...man oh man, looks like an entire brand new laundry room, dryer, and maybe bathroom to boot.  People are so generous.  If you can and haven't yet, hop on over to Cari's to give.  And more importantly, keep praying for that little Borobia baby!  And wish Dwija a happy birthday, too, cuz today is the day the coolest people are born.


4.


A semi-obligatory pic collage from the trip we took to the local historical village a few weeks ago.  It was pretty cool that this fit in perfectly with our reading of the Little House series over the past few months.  But weird that we were like the only people there.  There were two other families we saw so the volunteers and staff were a bit overly eager to talk to us.  This place is only like a mile from our house!

5.
I made the formal decision to stop making my own laundry detergent out of powdered unicorn horns, rainbow dust, and a grated bar of fairy poop in the interest of actually getting clothes clean.  I may be developing an unnatural relationship with the following items:

 


It's not super eco-friendly but...our clothes are actually getting clean.  Like CLEAN, clean.  As in stains coming OUT clean.  Which is sort of the point of laundry after all.  I use the spray just on known hard stains and on the necks of my husband's work shirts.  And it WORKS on those weird neck stains which is important.  (More important: WHY are man necks so dirty?)  A half scoop of the powder right in the tub and normal amount of detergent.  This detergent may sort of kind of redeem the ole Wegman's for me.  I know, I know.  Around here admitting that you don't like Wegman's is a bit like admitting you torture baby gerbils in your spare time but...I just don't get the love.  However, I will credit them with some great (albeit unicorn-free) detergent.
5 1/2.
TRADER JOE'S IS COMING!  Last I heard, it will be at least October if not after the holidays.  But still.  TRADER JOE'S.  COMING.

6.

(Psst...I also don't get Tim Horton's.  Way way waaaay overrated.)

7.
Next week we're going to be throwing a party here on the blog for a special lady!  And there will be several rockin' giveaways!!  Stay tuned!


Phew!  Made it.
Joining with Jen!  Happy Friday!




Thursday, June 27, 2013

There. That's Better.

In light of last week's expression of disappointment whining about the weather we'd been given, I feel obligated to photo dump all over the place evidence of this past glorious week with which we were blessed.  

{pretty}




How bout one in black and white for Cari?

{happy}

See?  No more water!  And the grass was long enough that we got lots of hay for the garden :)



Each tree in our yard is gradually succumbing to such little boy contraptions.



We have a tiny raspberry vine growing near Our Lady.  Here's hoping one or two survive long enough to be eaten!

The boys are so good about sharing.  Most of the time.


We got that salvaged screen door painted and up!  We had to do some unorthodox things to make it work (see those weird hinges?) but it was worth it to have a screen door in the back.  That mudroom/laundry room gets smelly, y'all.  



Maggie thinks she's a tiger sometimes.  She's caught a couple of voles this week.  I sort of wish she would just stay an outdoor cat because, you know, litter box and furniture.  

{funny}


It's okay.  He watered it down.  Boy knows his limits.

When your husband is an insurance agent but dreams of being a farmer, you get scenes like this every morning.  It's even better when he's got those big ole boots on with his normal dress shirt and tie.

{real}

I was permitted a picture of the boys after Mass on Sunday.  (Look!  They're all looking!  And smiling!)  I fully intended to get a self shot for WIWS but kept putting it off and then I gave up.  I think this has happened three times now.

Adorable romper by Chaps Ralph Lauren.  Only the best six years ago garage sale finds for my little one.  Don't mind our desperately in need of a paint job porch.

The front bed that still hasn't been weeded.  Can you breed chickens that only eat weeds?  They should work on that.






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