Marshmallow Devotions

If you are a regular on our blog you know we do family devotions each evening.  We try to find ways to keep it interesting and tonight was hilarious.  While reciting Proverbs 15:2 we were all getting caught in a tongue twister.  “The tongue of the wise used knowledge rightly, but the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness.” Try saying “pours forth foolishness” several times quickly.  As we were laughing, Jill had the great idea to add a challenge to our speaking…marshmallows!!  So each of us stuffed our mouths with marshmallows and took turns reciting the verse.  We all remember Proverbs 15:2 better now than we did before, and we had a great time laughing together and making memories.  Here are some pictures so that you can laugh with us.

P.S. Nauna, if you are reading this, you need to tell your friends about the “fluffy bunny”

New York City!!!

So it’s been a month…. but we finally got these pictures posted.


It all started with our cousin Lisa.  She lives in Chicago, and she was coming to visit us for the first time.  She had never been to much of the east coast, so we started thinking—where could we take her?  We had an “Adoption Picnic” (a reunion of sorts for our agency) already scheduled at Central Park,NYC for that weekend.  So we thought..what about Providence, RI?  Lots of great historical stuff, beautiful coast, not as many people as NYC.  Perfect.

We were excited to find out that it was “the end of the season” for the coast, so we got an amazing deal on a boat ride around Rhode Island.  It was a tour of all the light houses.  In addition, we got to see many historical buildings, famous mansions, and even pass by some really interesting ships.  The kid favorite was a replica of the Mayflower.  It was out taking people on a tour also.  On this day to RI, we were blessed to take our friends the Carrolls with us and their cute twins, Timothy and Silas.  You’ll see them in the pictures- usually by our little Sarah. That day we also went to Battleship Cove- and got to go inside of real battleships.  For older kids there are great museum features, but we skipped most of that as we only had three “readers” in the bunch.  Plus the Big Guns are WAY more fun! Mom’s favorite- the sleeping quarters-  40+ people packed in there per room—hey, never complain about your room again! oh- and check out their dough mixer!!!

We divided the trips into different days.  We went to NYC for the picnic.  The picnic turned out to be rather lack-luster, so we voted, on a crazy spontaneous whim—LET’S DO IT!!!! Let’s go to the Empire State Building.  It was actually September 11th.  We figured it might help us out, there may be less people there!!  So off we went, Aunt Lisa, our favorite baby sitter Miss Brittany, and the Martin Tribe!!Nothing was really wheelchair accessible—not the battle ship, not NYC, but that didn’t stop us- throw a baby on the hip and Jamie got the stroller- lucky duck.

As we were driving down the streets of NYC trying to figure out where in the world to park our huge van, Dad and Mom looked at each other—“Are we really doing this?” “This is crazy- OUR kids to the top of the Empire State building??” Mom said a quiet prayer to herself—keep me sane and patient!

Hey- when in Rome!!!

So here’s our pix of the two days. What we learned.  Be brave, be spontaneous, try new things even if they are crazy, plan on having fun, take advantage of each moment—ENJOY YOUR FAMILY!

Picture help—for those of you who don’t know… you can click on the first picture, and then watch them like a slide show in larger view.  Once the first one pops up, you can click “next” in the top right corner.

Aunt Lisa & the kidsBattleship Cove on top of the shipwow- those are BIG GUNSa helicopter that lands on the ship-  COOLclimbing the bunk beds in the Battleshiptop bunk for the girls!!!never complain about your bedroom again!!!In the "mess hall" the ships dough mixer- NOW THAT'S A MIXERWe just loved that== we thought OUR recipes were bigJacob on the shipRI Boat tour- Sam enjoying the viewRI Boat tour- Mrs Carroll and Silasok- so the BIG engine and WAVES off the back was a little more interesting than the light houses.JoelRI Boat tourThe "mayflower"LOOK UP  it's the Empire State Buildingart work in the LObbyThe boys with their first lookJamie- "OH MY! That's high!!!"Look at the little people down thereSophie enjoying the viewProof we all made it to the topthe Statue of LIbertyproof Miss Brittany did it with us- even though she is afriad of hights!!

A Wonderful Visit with Friends

Recently, we were blessed to have good friends of ours come stay for the week.  Sarah & Rachel Cooney have been in our lives for nearly 10  years now (as well as the rest of their wonderful family), and we couldn’t imagine not knowing them!  It has been a joy to watch them grow into beautiful, Godly women, who devote so much of their time and energy to other young women & teens. Amidst their busy lives, they came to CT (braving the possibility of seeing Mr. Black Bear) just to hang with us!!!

Hours of freeze tag, capture the flag, soccer, frisbee, dress up, coloring, games of miniature golf, ice cream, Oreos, and more!  They even gave our girls adorable hair cuts (extra bonus that they are both professional hair dressers)!!! Clearly also fashion experts—just check out those fabulous glasses they are wearing in the pictures below!

Sam, Rachel & JoelSarah-- love those shades & hat!!!Jamie- found everything with sequins and put it a hippo hat of course!Sarah watching Capture the flagJoannaSarah & Rachel cutting many inches off Jamie's hairThe whole crew!

When all was said and done, at the end of a super long day of play, these great friends still weren’t done.  I had shared with them my goal of getting the ENTIRE school year planned, organized, and sorted into bins before September rolled around. So, each evening they helped me copy, print, sort, and bind up notebooks to go with each of our upcoming Wisdom Books.  There were so many papers, that we lost count night after night.  So I decided to add it all up just to see how much AMAZING hard work they did. They spiral bound 36 notebooks for our Wisdom Book Units,  as well as 18 handwriting/ABC notebooks for our younger ones to use every month of the year!  That’s a lot of spiral binding!!!  I printed out my monthly calendar plans for each, grabbed related books off the shelf, and stuffed the bins. THANK YOU RACHEL & SARAH for being such AMAZING servants and friends. Our school year is planned till the end of the year! Wow- I set the goal, but I truly didn’t think I would reach it- Thank you for helping me—what a gift!

54 notebooks in allA school year planned + sorted= a happy mommy!  

HOME SCHOOLING FAMILIES : If you are a home schooler and currently use “lap books” or something similar—might I suggest to you checking out one of my FAVORITE sites Notebooking Pages.  It takes any unit or theme you can think of to learn about (from handwriting to presidents to ancient China) and sets it into pre-formatted pages. You could put them in a 3 ring or spiral bind them. I like binding them so they take up less space and lay FLAT on their work space.  So as your kids are learning, note taking, writing, whatever- they can learn to organize all their work.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE – did I say LOVE – these pages.  They help me teach one topic to a LARGE variety of learning styles and abilities. Their site has LOTS of free down loads so you can sample.  Of course being a lover of organized things, I bought the whole set. Check it out


Day Camp Joy!!!

Day camp crossPitching tents

Any one here in  Simsbury, CT knows about “Day Camp”, but for those of you far away, let us share with you a little slice of heaven here at our church we call “Marketplace Day Camp”.

Months of preparation, prayer and persistence culminates in one week every August. This is no VBS people—this is colossal!  The property here at The Barn undergoes a metamorphosis of sorts.  Tents are pitched, costumes, adorned, Drama teams practice, Jesus acquired (yes- we have Jesus visit on site!!!)Artisan tents set up, Tribes assembled, songs rehearsed, and so much more. It is a week set back in Biblical times where the kids experience what it would be like to live with Jesus, walk the streets with those He knew, make things with “local artisans” just as they did when Jesus was there. 

Now of course there are a few “modern” amenities added in. Like, chocolate covered pretzels and popsicles for snack, a giant water slip and slide, microphones for the worship team, inflatable bouncers at a picnic, to name a few.

This beautiful week was here long before the Martins arrived. It is the vision of the church to reach the community. We are just blessed to join in the celebration! Every year it grows, more kids come, more adults serve, hundreds (yes hundreds) of Jr. & Sr. High kids volunteer a week of their lives, and kids leave transformed. In the past couple years it has grown to bring in ANY kid, with ANY disability or challenge- so,  many more volunteers come (sometimes giving up a week of work) just to work one on one with a child who needs something extra. We have sooooo many pictures, but here are the ones that I know I am able to share with permission from their families—or because I know them personally.

Day CampDay CampDay CampDay CampDay CampDad WaterslideSam and Joel WaterslideDad & SarahDay Camp GamesDay Camp JesusDay Camp PicnicDay Camp WorshipDay Camp sophie tribeDay Camp Worship 2Jamie praying 2Joel Day Camp