Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Happy Holidays 2019

This kids in front of a display at our church.

I hope you have had an amazing holiday season!  I cannot believe that we are only a few hours away from 2020!  We have been playing games, watching movies and having fun together as a family.  I'm so thankful that my Mom joined us for Christmas and New Year's this year!  Here are a few photos from our holiday season this year.

Christmas Eve Pajamas

Our empty stockings (socks) that we hung on Christmas Eve - there are 10 including Grandma's.

A made the birthday cake for Jesus this year.

 Our filled stockings!

 Our tree Christmas morning

This year I wrapped our gifts to the kids into "snowmen" - they were various sizes and had different goodies attached.  I'm so pleased with how they turned out.  The kids thought they were fun!

Happy New Year's Eve!

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

CYBA Holiday Band Concert 2019

A, B and C getting ready to leave for the band concert.

A and B with E

Last night, the oldest 3 kiddos had their holiday band concert.  Several friends were able to attend and support them - that was so special!  Everyone did great.  For those that don't know, A plays the flute in Advanced Band and Wind Ensemble, B plays the trumpet in Advanced Band and Wind Ensemble and C plays percussion in Advanced Band.  However, C ended up playing in all 3 bands.  One of the percussionist in beginning band was sick so C sightread the music and helped out - I was so impressed!  He also helped with the first piece in the Wind Ensemble.  All 3 bands did well and it was a fun concert.

 Arriving for the concert...

 I loved the program this year.

 The kids with friends!

 More friends!!

 E with the younger boys next to the tree.

Hope you are enjoying the holidays and get the opportunity to attend a holiday concert!

Monday, December 9, 2019

B and D's Craft Birthday Party Bash

One of the birthday girls!  B is now 14.

B and D had their joint birthday party over the weekend, it was craft themed.  We had stations set up to paint a mini canvas, put together your own ornament, and decorate cookies.  We also had a fun, little photo booth.  The girls had an amazing turn out and I think everyone had a blast.  Enjoy the photos!

Our fruit tray

 Cheese and crackers

Veggies and hummus

Since we had the party during dinnertime, we also had pizza delivered.  It was devoured.

 B's Cake - there are 14 different colors as she turned 14 {B's cake was a layered rainbow cake and each layer was a different flavor}

Inside the cake 😊

D's Cake - there are 10 different shades of pink and purple as she turned 10
{D's cake was strawberry through and through}

Here is a very small sampling of some of the cookies that were made!

D with her friends in the photo booth.

E posing with the snowman and snowflake.

 A sampling of some of the mini canvas paintings that were created.

This pineapple was fun.

 This was done by an artist!  He is so talented.

A sampling of some of the ornaments that were made!

 Enjoying the party!

 G with his buddy.

 Hanging with friends.

 More friends...

Some of the boys

We had such a great time celebrating the girls and it reminded me how much our family is truly loved.  I'm so thankful for all of our family and friends.  Community is so important y'all!

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Goodies For Delivery Drivers

 Goodies for our drivers!

I have been doing some online shopping!  It's that time of year when we tend to place more online orders than any other.  And that means, we have more people delivering boxes and packages to our door.  I saw this idea on Hip2Save and just knew that I should take part also.  She has an awesome free printable that I printed out and added to a basket full of goodies for anyone delivering goodies to our home.  So fun!  I love little ways to give back.

 The printable...

In other news, D got braces today!  She turned 10 on the 3rd and got top braces on the 5th.  It's been a busy week for her.  I'm looking forward to celebrating both her and B on Saturday at their joint craft birthday party!  Stay tuned.

D's new smile

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Science Mill in Johnson City Review

You might remember our post last year about the Science Mill.  We were so blessed to visit again this last weekend.  And just like last time, the Science Mill did not disappoint!

The kids in front of the Science Mill.

There are over 50 exhibits set up all around the historic 1880s mill to discover and explore.  There are exhibits inside and outside.  I love that the Science Mill is all about hands-on learning and creativity as kids (and adults) dive into the exciting world of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math).

G in front of the K'Nex Sculpture

There was a Sleigh Racer Challenge set up at the front of the mill.  Kids could design and build a sleigh using recycled materials to harness the physics of motion to fly.

C and D testing out their sleighs.

There are fun things to discover all around the mill - including sculptures and displays at various heights and levels - this one was way up high!

F looking at the Paludarium.

F playing the banana piano.

E creating an explosion.

The creating an explosion exhibit is a favorite for many.  Simply push the button on the left to start the electrical current flowing in electrodes inside the tube of water.  The current will split the water into hydrogen and oxygen.  After the hydrogen gas has been collected and loaded into the launch chamber, push the button on the right and the orange ball will fly up the tube accompanied by a loud bang.  The kids like to see who can get their ball the highest.

A's ball is flying up the tube

It's a little tricky to see so I circled it in red.

G making his sailboat race.

In this exhibit you can control both the wind and the sail positions to see how your boat moves.  My kids like to race them.

A and C having fun with windmills.

You can change the size and shape of turbine blades to see how it impacts the generation of electricity.

Me in the Fractalarium!

Another huge favorite for my younger kiddos is the Dig In exhibit.  They love feeling the sand and watching this interactive exhibit change and morph.  You get to create virtual topography in real time.

When you cast a shadow with your hand, virtual rain will begin to fall.

A look at the sand map

We headed to the 3D theater to watch the 20 minute video of Incredible Predators 3D.

Each featured film is available for a limited time.

C and D enjoying the magnetic ball wall.

On the opposite side of the ball wall, you will find the gear wall.

You can combine gears in different ways to see if you can turn the windmill.

E in front of the colorful mural.

And C

I was so excited to see the Aquaponics Greenhouse.  This was a coming soon attraction the last time we visited and it is in full operation now and it is pretty amazing!  This 1,000 square foot greenhouse shows you how tilapia, prawns, koi and turtles provide the food to grow fruit, vegetables and tropical plants in floating rafts, giant living walls, and vertical growing tubes.

I love the poster explaining the concept.

Aquaponics is the intersection of raising fish and growing plants in the water without soil.  Fish eat fish food, they provide food for the plants with their waste (microbes convert waste to nutrients), and the plants filter the water.

F checking out one of the living walls.

Underneath are several fish including glass catfish.

Above are these amazing pitcher plants.

They are carnivores!  I peeked inside one and saw an insect.

Another living wall...

Some of the greens...


The Science Mill has several African Spurred Tortoises that live outside in an underground burrow.  Last March one of the females laid a clutch of eggs.  Six eggs hatched in early July and now there are baby tortoises in the greenhouse.

The baby tortoises get to eat a lot of what is produced in the Aquaponics Greenhouse.  They were so fun to watch.

E completed her Greenhouse Bingo card.

We had to visit the axolotls in the BioLab.

A closer view

As I mentioned earlier, there are exhibits both inside and outside.  The Colossal Robotic Hand is located in the back of the mill and it is an all-time favorite for us.

The Colossal Robotic Hand

This hand is 30-feet-tall and made of stainless steel.  It's actually made from more than 500 individual, custom designed, stainless steel triangles.  Using a remote joysticks, you can operate the hand by making each of its giant fingers move.

Using the joystick

One of my favorite!

In the Fossil Dig, you grab some tools and see how many fossils you can find.

F and G digging

Found one

G pulling the Giant Lever.

The Wave Pendulum is really fun to watch.

View after launch

And another view

The boys really enjoyed the Incredible Ball Machine.  You have pedals, wheels and pulleys to try that all affect the trajectory of the ball.

Checking out the Incredible Ball Machine

Top view

And a side view

Another new exhibit to us was The Scrambler.  It is a giant 12-piece puzzle with 48 sides.  There are three different worlds to unscramble in this puzzle - coral reef, prehistoric times, and out space.

The Scrambler sign

Above you can see the giant puzzle.  Each piece has 4 different sides to choose from.

Another view

A back view of this historic 1880s mill.

I've only showed you a portion of what the Science Mill has to offer.  It promotes creative thinking and has kids questioning and learning as they go around the mill exploring exhibits and concepts.  All of my kids had a great time.  I also want to mention that they have special events like the Snow Day coming up in January, field trips, birthday parties as well as monthly Homeschool Days (love that!).

I am so glad that we visited this time of year because we were able to stay at the mill for most of the day and then enjoy Johnson's City's Lights Spectacular afterwards.

The kids enjoying the lights.

The lights are beautiful.

David with E and D.

I'm happy to offer you this coupon for $1 off admission per person (expires Jan. 5, 2020).  This way you can enjoy the Science Mill and also the Lights Spectacular.  I'd love to know what you think.

I also want to mention their military discount!  Through the generous support of Whataburger, the Sciene Mill offers half-price admission for any active or retired military service memeber and up to 3 family members with a valid ID.  Woohoo.

Disclosure:  My family and I were able to visit the Science Mill for free in exchange for my honest review.  Thanks so much to the Science Mill and US Family Guide for selecting us for this campaign.  Opinions are 100% my own.