Wednesday, July 31, 2013

One Smart Cookie

Charles started showing an interest in letters near the end of last school year. So we started working with him at the end of May. He now recognizes 12 letters and their sounds (C,H,A,T,D,G,B,O,J,K,P,F). He will tell you the sounds but not the letter name of W, R, and M. Today he started handing me blocks and telling me  the name of the letter and it's sound totally on his own.

He is at the very early stages of emergent reading! He has 2 of the 11 skills mentioned going for him.
~Know some sounds and names of the letters of the alphabet. (12 down)

~Use some letter sounds (beginning / ending). (He knows 15 letter sounds)
If you would like to know more about the different stages of reading check out this site.

Monday, July 29, 2013

And So It Begins

Band camp started this past Saturday. Oh the stress and hard work to get prepared and to do band camp. I have developed a new appreciation over the years for band directors and their students. Last year the first day of band camp was like 100 degrees and Saturday it was around 72. I hope and pray this week goes well for the students and for Patrick. If you don't mind please pray for Patrick, the students, and for wonderful band camp weather.

Fun stuff they have planned for camp:
Today: A water balloon fight at the end of the day.
Tomorrow: We will all be going to the water park in town to relax and have fun after a day of hard work on the field.
Wednesday: The last day of camp. Yahoo!!! At 9pm they are having a glow in the dark rehearsal to show off to their parents what they accomplished.

P.S. 8 years ago today Patrick and I went on our first date.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

A New Place To Play

Charles has decided that it is fun to climb into our coffee table and play. We store blankets and pillows inside our table. He will throw in a toy or a few books and commence playing.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Travel Tips

Hello, I would like you to meet Kendra Thornton. She is going to share some fabulous ideas with you about traveling with children. This is a brief bio of Kendra: Travel advocate, TV spokesperson, PR businesswoman, proud wife and mama of 3. I am a long time travel expert who has been packing my bags and traveling the world since I was 3 months old! I've found my utmost desire in life is right here in my own home. I have mixed my excitement for travel by bringing the taste of authentic cuisine to my own home with some of my unique recipes and sharing some of my personal traveling tips. Enjoy!

Follow Kendra at:
Travel Smart with Your Kids this Summer

Even though is now in the swing of things, it’s never too late to plan a fun family vacation. I love to travel with my family, but it has taken quite a while to fine-tune our travel process. With a bit of preparation, you can have a hassle-free trip.

1. Be Prepared

It is always best to be prepared. Make a list of things to do and pack in the weeks leading up to your vacation. You would hate to miss something, like forgetting diapers or enough socks. You can even use an app on your smartphone like Packing Pro to help you keep a list.

2. Destination Fun

Anytime you choose a destination, look for nearby activities to keep the kids entertained. Family friendly resorts are great because they offer fun for everybody. Look for a hotel with an indoor water park or a ranch with riding lessons. You can score bonus points if you book a room with a kids club, allowing your spouse and you to have time alone. I used Gogobot to find a great Orlando hotel that was affordable and family friendly. Always look to find a hotel that has something to offer every member of the family.

3. Surprise Getaway

Try not telling the kids where you plan to go on your vacation. Just tell them to pack a suitcase and let them guess where you are going ahead of time. If you drop some clues ahead of time to entice your children, they will be excited and eager to reach the destination. The only catch is that the reveal must be surprising—there has to be a bit of a “wow” factor attached.

4. Structured Playtime

Having an all-day adventure can be tiring for the whole family. Integrate playtime into the plans, breaking up sightseeing or guided tours into chunks. Engaging the children is essential to keeping them happy. Find playgrounds and swimming pools they can enjoy. Just remember that it’s more difficult for the kids to keep up with your lengthier activities.
5. Document the Trip!

Documenting the trip can be a great way for the family to bond, and can ensure that you capture those memories made during the trip. Bring your camera (with an extra battery and/or a charger), but also provide the youngsters with their own disposable camera to take pictures on their own! They will love being able to snap their own memories along the way, and putting together a scrap book afterword can be tremendous bonding time for the whole family!
A little bit of preparation can go a long way. Remember to have fun and to plan accordingly!

 Thanks Kendra for being All Boxed Up's first guest blogger.


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Charles going down the spiral slide

Note: This is my third post on this blog since Brooke created it four years ago.  

Charles mastered a major accomplishment last week and climbed the biggest slide at our favorite park by himself.  We made a video tonight to commemorate his awesomeness. - Patrick

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


Monday, July 15: We went to Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium. I didn't get very many pictures because Charles was more interested in his surroundings this year. He loved the animals and would try to pronounce their names and then say hello to them. We would go up to a new station and tell him what the animal was. He would say for instance hello bear. His favorite part was the aquarium.

Tuesday, July 16: We went to a friend's house and swam at their pool for about an hour. It was a lot of fun and Charles had a blast. I didn't get any pictures because I was in the pool with him.
Wednesday, July 17: Today we went to the library and checked out some new books for Charles. He is a little bookworm. His favorites are books about trucks and trains. When we got home two trucks were on our road cutting down tree limbs for the power company. Charles had to go check out the trucks. They were really nice and asked if we would like to watch them cut down some limbs. Charles was in heaven. When they went up in the basket he said, " up up truck, oh wow, oh no." Tonight we might go to the park and let Charles play if it cools off enough.
Tomorrow we go to story hour, and who knows what we will do this weekend.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Just Around the Corner

Charles' second birthday is just around the corner and I want to make him a simple cake. He really likes Mickey Mouse Clubhouse so I was thinking of doing a Toodles cake. The top two pictures show you what he looks like.
 This is what I found online:

I'm debating trying to make this on my own or getting someone else to make it. I would rather have basic smooth icing with fondant design. So should I try to be a CAKE BOSS or leave it up to the professionals?

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Book Talk

So, I just finished The Breath of Dawn by Kristen Heitzmann. I didn't realize it was the third book in the series until I had already gotten into the story. I assumed it was the first book or a stand alone book since it was the only one our library had. I need to go back and read A Rush of Wings book 1 and The Still of Night book 2. I have no doubt they will be great since I have enjoyed every book I have read by Heitzmann. I am going to request them at the library when I go in next time.

I started reading The Baxter Series Tested by Fire by Kathy Herman today. I enjoy her style. This book takes place on Heron Lake. " Tested by Fire is the compelling story of a small community confronted with a loss of innocence-- and of contemporary people trapped in the wreckage of guilt and despair. Can they somehow plumb the depths of God's mercy and grace?"(Back cover quote). My on deck book is the second book to this series titled Day of Reckoning.

Update on my summer reading challenge through the library: I finished it last night! The goal was to read 2,500 pages and I completed 2, 612. I will be turning in my paper work on Monday. Hopefully I will win one of the really cool prizes we will see. You all know I don't need incentives to read but they do make it fun.

So what are you reading?

Friday, July 12, 2013

Band Olympics 2013

No it is not some cool new sport where you play your instrument while doing gymnastics or playing beach volleyball, but is fun all the same! How does a Band Olympics go? Well this one went like this:
A one hour rehearsal in the band room.
Then to the park to play beach volleyball, water balloon toss, which led to a water balloon fight, and finally grilled burgers and hot dogs to chow down on.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Time Out

Charles distracted his daddy from yard work. He wanted to play in the water. So that is exactly what he got. He loved every minute up until we said no more.
Click here to see a video.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


This little guy could care less if it is HOT he just wants to run and play.
He will run, smile, and say tada.
Yesterday he played with his new lawn mower and went to Patrick's softball game.
He lasted at the game for about 30 minutes before not understanding why he couldn't play ball with Daddy. He really wanted to go and play on the field. The only way I could get him calmly to the car was the promise he could play in the tub.
Charles cutting grass with his new toy from Mama C and Pop. If only real lawn mowers blew bubbles as you cut grass.


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Another Yard Project Finished

Patrick finished another yard project. This is beside our garage. With our lack of rain the past 3 weeks or so our grass is not doing so hot.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

A Simple Meal

French Bread Pizza

1 loaf unsliced French bread (not sourdough)
2 cups of spaghetti sauce
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup grated Mozzarella cheese
3 oz pepperoni slices (half a pkg)

Place on baking sheet
Slice the loaf in half length wise.
Put sauce on open portion of bread.
Top with Mozzarella, pepperoni, and Parmesan.
Put in oven on broil and watch. You will want to take it out when cheese is melted and bread is crisp enough for you.
This meal is cheap, easy, and kid friendly. Prep and Cook Time: less than 20 minutes.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

2nd Leg of our Trip

We spent the 2nd half of our trip in the mountains with Charles' Grandpa and Nana.
 As you can see he was the center of attention. Charles also got to hang out with his Uncle James and Aunt Nell for the first time. He had a lot of fun with both of them.
 He loved taking a bath/swimming in Nana's big tub.
The end of the week we went to the Box reunion in Mississippi. Charles became buddies with his cousin.
4 generations
 Enjoying some yummy food.

Friday, July 5, 2013

4th of July

So yesterday was not my typical 4th of July. My tradition growing up was going to the small parade our community had. I always enjoy standing with family and running in to friends from childhood on to present day. Then we would always go home and eat a small lunch and take a nap. When I was younger I did not want to take a nap! I wanted to head straight to my Aunt Inez and Uncle Jack's swimming pool. After our nap we would head to the pool. Then for supper we would grill hamburgers and hot dogs. There was always a ton of food. Later we would have about 5 different types of homemade ice-cream to choose from. Followed by fireworks. Over the years this become one of my favorite traditions.
Yesterday we spent the day at home about 18 hours away from my traditions. I enjoyed spending time with our family of 3. We all decided to take a nap when Charles went down. Then yesterday afternoon we headed over to a friend's house for 4th festivities. We had a lot of fun and ate way too much. Followed by firework fun. We are very blessed to have such a great group of friends to hang out with.
I took my camera with great intentions to take lots of pictures but this is the only one I took.

Be sure to check out the photo book I created of our cruise to the Bahamas. Tomorrow I plan on posting about the 2nd leg of our trip home.

Photo Book

Click here to view this photo book larger

You'll love Shutterflys award-winning photo books. Try it today.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Wedding Weekend

Rehearsal Dinner:

Charles being entertained by his cousins:
The dinner was at the Blue Willow.
The wedding day:

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The 1st Leg of our trip

We left our house around 6 pm on June 7, and drove through the night to my parents house in Georgia. It took us 17 hours and 15 minutes! While at my parents we were able to visit with a lot of family. It was a great time.
We stayed in MC until Wednesday, June 12. On June 12 we went to visit with my sister and her family in South Carolina until Thursday night. Friday, Patrick went to get his suit for his brother's wedding and to play golf with him. We went swimming and met them all at the rehearsal dinner. Saturday we had the wedding and I had my hair chopped off. Sunday/Father's day we got to spend roughly half a day with each of our father's. Charles and I made Patrick a cute picture frame for his desk.
 Charles with his sweet little cousins. They had so much fun playing together. We find out if they are having a brother or sister in a couple of weeks!
 Charles wanted to help his daddy play the Wii. He had so much fun and we got a really cute video of him doing everything Patrick did.
 We took Charles swimming twice while at home. Charles seemed to enjoy himself.
 Mama C and Pop with all of their lovely grand-babies.
 A new family pic.
 Our whole crew.
 Pop and his little buddy.
 My sister's beautiful family.
My parents
To come: Wedding Time, 2nd leg, Bahama's Baby