Monday, March 25, 2013

Great Wolf Lodge - A Christmas Present

For Christmas we gave the kids a trip to Great Wolf Lodge, a fun, kid-friendly hotel with a water park, themed rooms, and a fun interactive magic wand game called MagiQuest. (These kind of gifts take up no space in our home! Who-hoo!) We've been there once before for Eben's 8th birthday, but Opal had never been and the kids were excited to go back and visit again. We left Berg and Pella with the Schocks on Monday, February 11th, and headed on our way. We stopped for lunch at McMenamins. Peter had said that they have a really great old movie theater inside where you can eat your lunch while watching a movie. It was amazing! We had the whole theater to ourselves. The girls claimed a comfy couch and the boys chose to stand up and eat their burgers while they watched the movie before reclining on their own couch. They even put on Wreck It Ralph for us, a kid movie we'd never seen before. Lunch was a great beginning for our fun little weekend. (The girls really loved the bathroom sink too. All of the 10+ faucets worked!)

The first thing the kids wanted to do was head to our room and check out their cool Wolf Den! Then they changed into bathing suits so we could head over to the water park.

The big kids loved the water slides while Opal was a bit timid at first. She mainly walked around the little kid land, but the second time we went, she was a champ and loved the tube rides. Eben and Kivi took off by themselves and went on as many rides as they could. 

 They all loved the wave pool!

Since Eben, Kivi and Jasper did the MagiQuest before they totally knew what to do this time with our borrowed wands - yeah! They even did some of it on their own while I waited in the lobby for them and Dada got to take a nap. Opal and I rested too at one point while the big three went with Dada back to the water park. The next day we had pizza in the lobby (since we were already checked out) and then they were ready to battle the dragon! We beat the first dragon, but we could not beat that silver one. Opal watched some movies with Dada while they finished up the last part of their quest. Then Eben and Kivi were ready to go back to the water park with Dada for a third time while Mama stayed with the middles in the lobby. They had pictures for the kids to color, fun dance music, and balloon animals and hula hoops. I knitted and watched the Duggars. Ahh. A perfect afternoon.

After a while, Jasper, Opal and I were ready to join them in the water park again, so we put our suits back on and joined the big kids and Dada for some more water fun before we headed back to pick up Berg and Pella. It ended up being a late night. We got the most out of our 1 night accommodations and park passes. A very fun time - and we get to do it again! The day before we left, we were at church and we found out we won a contest that our church was having to encourage families to pray more. The grand prize was a trip to the GWL! Stomp, stomp, clap, clap, HOWWWLLLL! See you soon Great Wolf Lodge!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Opal's Happy Heart Tea Birthday!

Our little Opal has been working so hard on having a happy heart, so when she chose a happy heart birthday party it was such a sweet idea we had to make it work. We decided to have a tea party and invite a few friends and their mamas. She asked her brothers if they would help serve as waiters and after some prompting they were good with the idea. Opal painted her own invitations, a tea cup with a pull out tea bag.

The one thing she was very specific on was what the cake should look like. It had to have heart lollipops around the top. Here's her design:

We had many delicious "tea foods". Some were even heart shaped like the scones, sandwiches and cookies.

The two birthday girls. We celebrated Opal's birthday on Dodie's real birthday.

One of the decorations I really wanted to have was a big heart. But I couldn't decide what it should look like. I finally decided on using the coffee filter technique we had done before with markers and water and gluing them to a cardboard heart. It turned out so perfect!

Our 6th "kissing picture" with our sweet Opal girl on her 5th birthday.

The mamas, daughters, and waiters who all came to love a happy heart Opal.

Our waiters did a wonderful job serving all the girls. I decided a couple nights before that I would make bow ties and rose boutonnieres so they would match the party. I made the bow ties with fabric and wax paper and it worked! We just ties them around their neck with a ribbon.

Dada was the head waiter and announced all of our courses and what the waiters would be passing around. He also followed Berg around and helped him not drop the plate.

 We played a game that Opal made up where we passed one of the happy hearts we made for the party around the table and when the music stopped that person had to tell everyone something that made them happy and a verse. Everyone had a chance to go. Kivi was very excited for this game because it gave her another chance to say the Love Chapter from the Bible. Then we sang to Opal and she blew out her candles.

We made the heart garland above the mantle, for the game and for this craft a couple weeks before by sewing hearts out of an XL sweater. Then we let the girls decorate their own happy heart with flowers and ribbon.

One of the presents she opened was a picture Grandpa drew of Opal! We usually eat the cake at this point, but we had so much sweet food during the tea even the kids didn't eat the cake.

Our family and our Opal.

Sweet, happy-hearted Opal, you are becoming a little girl with such a precious attitude, pleasant soul and willing spirit. You give up your struggles with anger so much quicker, repent sooner and are asking how you can help others more and more. It is such a joy to see you becoming the girl I know you want to be - beautiful on the inside and out. You love Jesus and we love the happy heart He's given you. Happy 5th Birthday Happy Heart Girl! We love you!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Fun With Color

India is full of color. We had some fun making colorful hearts, for Opal's birthday, Cubbies crafts and as Valentine's,  - they came in very handy! We cut hearts out of coffee filters, drew on them with marker, sprayed water on them and let them dry before hanging them all over the house.

I experimented with food coloring in pancake batter.

They turned out beautifully! Pancakes aren't a traditional Indian dish but we had fun eating them anyway.

Our fun, colorful snack lunch.