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Family Foto Friday ~ Alice in Wonderland at Galvin Fine Arts Center

This week marks 4 years in a row that we have taken our kiddos to the Galvin Fine Arts Center at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa. Each year around this time, their theater group performs an amazing play, and this year was no exception.

It was a beautiful day. Past years have been so brutally cold we have not wanted to walk from the car to the theater, but we got really lucky this year and got to go without coats!

This year’s performance was Alice in

Frugal Tuesday ~ Black Friday?

I found out yesterday that Thanksgiving is NEXT week already. I thought I had another week. November’s been crazy this year. Between the election, Ben’s 7th birthday yesterday, and Sara’s hip dysplasia follow up appointment yesterday as well, I have had other things on my mind. When I realized that NEXT WEEK is Thanksgiving already, I panicked a bit. 🙂 I haven’t given THANKS any thought.

And Thanksgiving means Black Friday is right around the corner. Black Friday has traditionally been a fun shopping day for me, my mom, and my sister. My sister is rarely involved anymore since she lives in Seattle, but the three of us used to have a lot of fun heading out to the sales. My mom and I have continued the tradition, but we do it our way – hitting stores that aren’t traditionally packed and talking more than buying.

Recently, though, Black Friday really disturbs me. People being trampled to death at Walmart, the pushing and shoving, standing in line {in the cold} for hours to get in stores, none of that appeals to me. I am really disturbed to read that this year the madness is even starting on Thursday night with many stores opening at 9 pm on THANKSGIVING DAY! And really, all of it is to buy things we DON’T need, that may or may not be at rock-bottom prices. It’s really insane.

Despite all of that, I still plan to do a bit of Black Friday shopping. I will hit Walgreens and get stocking stuffers for as little out of pocket as I can. I give toiletry gift packs each year with razors, toothpaste, toothbrushes, and other useful things that my family generally appreciates. And I will hit Goodwill and Salvation Army, too. Did you know they also have sales on Black Friday?

Honestly, I’m not really convinced that Black Friday saves any money at all. And the big consumer push in this country makes my skin crawl. But I’ll be out for a little while at Walgreens – stocking up on toiletries and browsing at Goodwill and Salvation Army. Kid free. Hopefully with my mom. Drinking coffee and chatting. And while I am out, I will remember to be thankful for the many things we do have. Because even though I gripe sometimes about feeling poor, in reality, we have so much in this country.

How about you? What are your thoughts about Black Friday?

Linking up: Frugal Tuesday; Frugal Friday;

Family Fun Friday ~ At the Figge Art Museum

Earlier this week, we took a trip to the Figge Art Museum in Davenport, Iowa. We had a great time looking at the amazing art collections and creating our own art, too. It was our first time to visit that museum and I would love to go back.

Figge Art Museum

One of the reasons I enjoy homeschooling is so my kids can devote a good portion of their day to being creative. My son especially loves art. At almost 7 years old, he was about the right age for this trip. The other kiddos were a bit young and I had a hard time keeping my two year old from touching everything. I forgot my Boba and she was running free part of the time. My bad! They really discouraged touching anything though – the walls, the dividers, and of course the art work – for good reason. It took quite a bit of reminding and a bit of screaming {by the 2 year old} to make sure she didn’t touch. But we prevailed! And the art collection at the Figge is safe and intact. As it should be. 😉

We saw some really fun art. Loved this horse sculpture.

And this Picasso. Surprisingly, I was allowed to take pictures of some of the displays {without flash, of course.}

If you don’t know, Grant Wood is from Iowa. His famous house isn’t too far from us, but we haven’t been there yet. It’s on the list. I loved this quote that was painted on the wall!

My children loved the ginormous elevator most of all. I don’t know what it is about elevators. But they sure do hold a great appeal!

I love this picture of my two redheads!

After our tour of the museum, we had an art class and learned about landscapes. The kids got to create with crayons, pencils, water colors, and oil pastels.

My budding artists had a great time.The Figge art teachers were fabulous and very patient.

While I absolutely loved the museum, I highly recommend keeping young children in carriers or strollers, if you go! And I highly recommend visiting this museum if you’re in the area. It was really a lot of fun.

What fun things have you done with your children lately?

Family Fun Friday ~ Harvesting Corn

When my husband and I first made the decision to move back to his hometown in 2006, one big draw was to be able to raise farm kids. Dan’s parents are farmers, his grandparents were farmers, and his great-grandparents were farmers. We wanted our kids to be able to experience life on a farm. We currently live in town, but we are pretty close to breaking groung on our own home in the country. We won’t be farmers, per se, but we will be one step closer to the more self-sufficient lifestyle we are working toward. Dan’s parents, though, are still active farmers and our kids “help” them harvest the crops every fall.

A few weeks ago, our kids went out to the fields to help.

While we were waiting for the tractor and combine to get to us, I seized the opportunity and pretty red backdrop to take a few pictures of my kiddos! I love old barns.

My little ham. She’s 2 1/2 now and talking up a storm. This is one opinionated little pipsqueak. She has a definite idea on just about everything.

My husband’s sister drives one tractor and his mother drives the combine. His dad drives the other tractor and they run grain back and forth between the fields and the bins.

Riding in the combine is the most fun because you can see it picking the corn, watch it fill up in the big hopper on the top, and see it dump into the waiting wagon.

This is the view from inside the combine! It’s a bumpy, slow ride, but it’s still a lot of fun. Sometimes we see foxes and rabbits and other animals. The kids really enjoy riding in the combine and so do I.

And this is the corn dumping into the wagon. They dump on the fly – that means the combine is still picking and the tractor and combine keep driving. It’s a little tricky sometimes, as both machines need to move at a constant rate and on a constant path.

Harvest is always an exciting time around here. I have really conflicted feelings about commercial farming, GMOs, and Monsanto. Actually, I’m not really conflicted. I don’t like it at all. And I really wish GMOs would finally be labeled, but that’s not what this blog post is about {Although if you’re reading from California, I hope you will vote YES on Prop 37 next week}. Harvest is still an exciting time and I’m really glad my kids get to participate in it with their grandparents and extended family members. Harvest is over already for this year. Everyone is excited about doing it again next year.