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the weather drops down below 70 degrees and your children request hot cocoa even though they are running around outside in shorts.

Thanks to our kids request, I am taking this opportunity to share our Spiced Hot Cocoa Recipe with you.
Enjoy!
 
But first, a little tree climbing action...
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When we arrived we were greeted by a wonderful display.  There was a soldier's tent set up and lots more interesting items displayed on a table for the curious eyes to see.
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Including a soldier (Aubree's husband) who gave us a really great talk and some information on (but not limited to) the soldiers, their uniforms and their gear.
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He even had the kids get involved by marching them up and down the courtyard with toy rifles.
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Here, our good friend, Aubree is passing out what is called "hard tack"...it is a hard cracker that the civil war soldiers were given for sustenance because perishable food was hard to come by at times.  These "crackers" lasted a very long time.  And jokingly, they were sometimes referred to as "molar breakers".
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I wasn't kidding when I said that Hard Tack is really, really HARD.  But, don't worry, no one broke any teeth.
Devyn and Denym even got into the act by each sporting one of the coonskin hats.
And check out the money from that era.  Hello Mr. Lincoln...nice to see you!
Did I mention that Hard Tack is hard???  Devyn, still gnawing at his.
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And aren't Aubree's girls just so cute dressed in the era's clothing too!?  Their dresses were so adorable it only made me want a sewing machine even more!
There was good food to be sampled afterward, as well as a couple of activities too.  Dagyn & Denym made rag dolls and Dyxon made a silhouette of his hand while Dyson and Devyn climbed more trees.  Devyn even had a turn at holding one of our friend's new, yet temporary addition to their family.
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Thanks Aubree & family...We had a great time!

Now if you'll excuse me while I go and pack our bags for Ancient Rome...
 
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All dressed up and ready to go to Aunt Nysie's (Denise for those of you who don't know her as such).
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Here they all are hopping down the bunny trail from my sister's house down to the water retention area where the "big" kids hid the eggs for the annual Easter Egg Hunt. 

Devyn was so cute volunteering to not hunt this year so he could help his baby sister, Denym.  Which is a pretty big sacrifice being that their are several cash prizes to our egg hunts for those who find the Silver Egg, the Most Eggs and the Least Eggs (usually a small child who gets this one).
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Dyxon couldn't wait to get started...see the anticipation?  He was so excited!
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Daddy helping out during the hunt!
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Here they all are showing their wares...(take note of my sister's outfit ~ she's standing next to Chris).
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And here is Dagyn sporting the Silver Egg!  Woo Hoo, way to go, Dagyn!!!
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And what a cutie pie Denym is in sporting her piggie-tails on her officially "first" Easter Egg Hunt.
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Dyson was on a mission!  He was very busy looking for as many eggs as possible (in the foreground) and I was very busy trying to take as many pictures as possible (in the background) that it was difficult catching a good picture of him.  

Not sure if any of you noticed that my sister and I managed to dress alike...honestly, we didn't plan it.  But we both were wearing light pink tops...and to think, I could have wore my gray pants and we would have been the Bobbsey twins!
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And this could not go without mention...Denym just LOVES the stairs at my sister's.  She spent most of her time there going up & down and turning on & off the light that it was pretty easy to keep track of her.  Which was a good thing with all the kids (big & small) running around over there.
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And here I am, one content mommy...tummy full of Mexican food & a pocket full of cash.  What?  Didn't I mention that 2 of my kids won a cash prize from the Easter Egg Hunt...?  You see, it completely pays to have a BIG Family!
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And where was Dylan all this time, you may be asking...?  He was cooped up in the loft with a movie and the video games.  So typical of our Dylan.
 
Here he is...The Garden Master, in my Mother-In-Law, Carol's backyard installing her garden about a few weeks before we had ours installed.  He has an amazing story to tell.  Pop on over to his site and read all about him and the Bucket Garden System

But for now...you can read a tidbit on him here (below his pic) & learn more about our garden installation below.
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The Garden Master, himself


Serious Gardening for the Serious Gardener

Alright, alright, so we may not be that "serious gardener" that is spoken about above but we do seriously need to learn more about gardening!

This system is perfect for us.  It will make for a great home school project initially with the gardening and will later provide lessons in cooking and canning...and perhaps some entrepreneurial experiences with selling our over-stock of goods.

Enough about us...more about the garden.

First in learning about this system, we found that The Garden Master has set up a wonderful plan with incorporating "the law of consecration", which allows everyone to help everyone in the process.  One requirement is that you must first volunteer your time in helping to install 2 gardens before you can obtain (purchase) one of your own.   

This has a benefit all of its own...you learn as you earn your spot.  It works out great...since the whole idea is to teach others what you have learned...when you are done.  A "pay it forward" sorta thing.


Installation of Our Garden

Once you are done with your volunteer work, you pick your garden selection and sign up for your installation.

We chose the smallest size available with the intent to add on later when we become more experienced.

We then picked out our spot in our yard and got to shoveling rocks out of the way.  The "team" of volunteers accompanied with The Garden Master & a few of his Gardening Crew (we shall call them) came with sand and equipment ready to install.

First, a foundation of sand was laid upon the ground to level the area.
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Foundation of Sand
Second, the tarp was laid out over the sand.
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Then the process of installing the containers (bags) were put into motion.  Our garden was a 4x8 (4 rows of 8 bags each).
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I liked how our 2 oldest boys got into the action by helping to shovel sand into the buckets.
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Here, Chris is helping pour sand into the last remaining container (bag).
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Because of the fall I took earlier that day into our empty pool, I was only able to help at this point...prepping and installing the water lines for the sprinklers that would eventually go into each container (bag).
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After we had all the little sprinkler lines attached to the main line we were ready to install them.
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Here is the finished product...however, we still need to run our waterline right up to the computer that is sitting on top of the upside-down buckets in front.  Another day perhaps.
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The Gardening Class

Now what comes next, you may be asking yourself? 

That would be The Garden Class.  Yes, The Garden Master doesn't leave anyone hanging...nope!

He not only provides the information and updates to tending to your garden but also educates the newbie.  How wonderful is that to a would-be browned thumbed gal...?

My extremities shall be spring green after this gardening class on Saturday, April 24th.

I'll have pictures to prove it too...stay tuned!
 
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Based upon the lack of posting one might think that we've fallin off the edge of the earth.  Not so.  Although, that doesn't mean that there hasn't been any falling going on around here.

This past weekend, I fell into this (except it was completely empty):
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You see, early in the morning a couple Saturdays ago, Chris (with the help of Devyn) had set out to finish draining the pool and fill it with fresh sparkling clean water while I was in hopes to catch a few extra zzz's and sleep in. 

Denym was quick to interrupt that idea for me. 

Since she woke up earlier than expected, I managed to dress her in a 1/2 dazed slumber and brought her outside for the 2 guys to watch her while I re-entered the house to make a quick breakfast of a toasted frozen waffle and a sippy-cup filled with milk. 

Upon my return...(I was wearing flip-its, mind you) I took 1, then 2 steps into the then empty pool and slipped, bouncing off of my tail-bone from the second step, then falling onto both knees at the bottom of the pool and 'not so softly' landing on my right shoulder.  Granted, I was very bruised up and became stiff and sore for the entire week (Still dealing with sore knees ~ so much for kneeling at prayer) but all is well with me and baby.

Oh, and I would be short to not include that with the fall my immune system became compromised and my allergies flared up!  Now all week I have been toting around my little apothecary basket filled with benadryl, chili pepper nasal spray, allergy eye drops, tissues, an albuterol inhaler & lip medex for the 5 (yes, 5!) cold sores I have developed.

Although such a thing might have brought me down, I have managed to survive yet another trial.  Even though I would much rather be outside right now playing at the park with the kids!

More to be posted later about our New Garden we had set up that afternoon on the day of the fall....or not!?