SPRING BREAK 2018

Just a few quick days down at the beach…but enough for us all to have some great time together!  We were just missing Joy.  But, she had obligations at home to take care of .  Not the same without her, though!  Adam was with us for the first day and night, then he had to return to work…sure enjoyed him being here!

Lots of pics ahead…

Got to try out of new little car Don got us for the beach!  Her name is Betty!  She seats 4 (or in our case 5)…has heater, lights, fans, street legal, is electric and a ton of fun!

 

 

Went to Pier Park to try out a new, fabulous Milk Shake Bar!  OH! MY! GOODNESS!  It was divine!  Of course there was a wait of 1 hour and 35 minutes!!! Cause everybody and their brother wanted to try it!  Just look at these…

And these were the small ones!  We shared…a little.  And, we left there feeling too full but very satisfied!  Actually the reason we went was to celebrate Levi’s birthday which is on the 29th.  I just happened to find this cute Dr. Seuss Birthday Book…Happy #7, Little Man!

We had to kill some time while waiting…

Obviously, my hair is enjoying the windy weather!!!

Could you eat that ice cream after doing this?  Levi was the brave one!

Back to the house to get in a little art work with the boys…their choice!

We did a little shopping, a little playing, a little getting wet…and just chilling!  All that great beachy stuff!

Next night we went out to eat at Sisters of the Sea (formerly Runaway Bay).  Excellent food.  It is by a marina and we watched the boats being docked and afterwards took a slow walk down the pier soaking up some glorious sunshine.  The sunshine was warm and wonderful…but made for squinty eyes in pics and big shadows.  Tried to edit a little…

Pirates and mermaids for the kids…and a swimming pool to cool off as you wait for your meal…we skipped the cooling off part.

 

Can you balance a french fry on your nose?

And, all good things have to come to an end…Lori had to return to work…Levi to school…Suzanne enjoying the rest of her spring break…Tara to work…and me back home to prepare for a big project coming up in the next 2 months!

So good to spend time with our family.  So blessed we are all close and enjoy being together.  So fortunate to have two precious little boys of the next generation.  God is so good to us.  We praise Him for blessing us and loving us.

We spent our last night all together in the den watching The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.  Suzanne’s suggestion.  I hope you are familiar with this set of books by C.S. Lewis…such a prolific, Christian writer.  The series for children are told in fairy tale fashion with a direct correlation to the Bible.  Such a glorious opportunity to draw a parallel between what happened in the movie and what happens in the Bible.  Please, please read these stories to your child…or get the movies and watch them.  They are so well done!  And, actually, you will enjoy it as much as they.  It is not a cartoon.  Can not recommend it highly enough!  The one we watched was the first one and it centered on the resurrection!

…Art by Levi age 4…

 

 

THE OWENS FAMILY CHRISTMAS…2017

This year’s mantel…

 

Levi’s tree…all vehicles carrying trees on top.  We started this collection the year he was born and love adding to it every year!

 

 

A few days before Christmas, John Thomas and Levi and I had a craft day.  We decorated cookies, painted trees, made ornaments, and ate lots of decorated cookies!

 

 

 

 

As soon as the tree went up, Levi put his nativity scene in place…

 

Christmas Eve, lunch after church.

 

At Church, Christmas Eve

 

 

Making that important visit…

 

5 teeth gone…

 

Christmas Day started with a gourmet breakfast by none other than Chef Ian.  OH! MY!  So yummy!

The Owens Family…

Don and Pop…

My sweet sister…and her sweet sister…

My children and my Pop…

 

Alex and Ian…

My sweet daughter in love…

Joy and her boys…

Lori and I…

Adam, Suzanne, Levi…

 

 

My eldest, Adam…

 

A gift to all, Alex celebrated the day with us…

Pop telling Alex something important….

Alex and Pop…

Someone’s getting a little tired…

Don’t know what they are looking at, but it sure has their attention…

Lori and Joy…

Joy and Tommy…

Tommy and Don…

Lulu and Levi…

Love comes in many forms…

Taking it all in…

Lori and Ian…eating buddies!

Though unable to be with us (John Thomas had the flu)…Will and Tara celebrated, too…Sure missed them!

 

Pop, Joy and Tonja…

Don and his boys…

Closing up the Nativity…He said it was time for them to rest…

Beautiful Nativity from Europe gifted by Joy and Tommy…

Our sweet Levi…

The sweet memories we make linger in our hearts long after December 25 is past.  We are blessed in so many ways.  Even though we could not all be together on Christmas Day…we were together in heart.  I thank God for his mercy and grace and for every good gift he sends our way!

To my dear Mom, who celebrates Christmas in Heaven now, I missed you today as much as on the first Christmas without you.  Your touch resonates in our hearts and souls.  You are forever in our hearts.

COLLAGE

Today Levi was with me and he asked if we could make something ‘artistic’.  I told him that would be fine and asked him if he remembered how to draw the different kinds of leaves we learned in art at school last year.  He thought he did, so I got out all the supplies.

I had told him how in my last art lesson at the preschool, I had showed the children how to paint with Kool-Aid…and of course, he wanted to do that, too.  We made a run to Winn Dixie, and a side trip to Chicken Salad Chick…and came home to start our work.

First we practiced drawing leaves.  When he got some he was pleased with we started the painting.  Luckily, I’m a smart Lulu and I had put a whole king size sheet on the floor!  To paint with Kool-Aid…first you spray your picture with spray starch.  Then lightly sprinkle different colors of the powder onto the wet starch.  Using a sponge brush, brush in a downward motion in long strokes…overlapping to mix the colors.

OK…Ours did not always show the differing colors because we were pouring out of the package and we got big globs.  At school, I transferred the powder into salt shakers and it was much more controlled.  But, I did not have any extra salt shakers…so we made do.  That’s the thing about giving kids freedom in art.  They make mistakes and use their own minds to figure out a solution.  Levi thought we needed more starch, before I could say that was probably not a great idea.  And so it got a double dose of starch which turned the dry powder into a liquid.  Therefore some of his leaves are solid and that’s ok, too.  The main thing is that he was so pleased with how they looked.

Then his mind went into overdrive.  “Lulu, I want to make a big picture  like a collage and put it in a frame, but I want it to be fall things behind the leaves.”  Get that?    So, I got out my 300 sheets of scrapbook papers and he set about going through them to find the ones he thought looked like fall.  He found these 4.  I just wait to see what would come next.  He got the tape and taped all 4 together on the backside (My suggestion to turn it over).  He missed a few spots in his taping and things got a little wonky.  But, he said he would just put some green paper there like that part wasn’t fall yet.

After getting the background ready, he was ready to glue down the leaves.  I suggested he plan it out first to see how he liked it before we glued.  He did and came to the conclusion there was not enough leaves.  I asked if he wanted to make some more…but he said that he thought he would build a tree.  And he did.  Two trees actually!  We painted and cut and I ironed them all to dry them and make them lay flat.  Then he began designing again.  We quickly discovered school glue and glue sticks would not hold, so we got out the glue dots.  These worked very well.  And here you see the finished masterpiece…

 

Now he wants it framed and hung on the wall.  I’ve got to do some thinking on that part!  (He wanted to be sure his Providence logo on his shirt was in the picture, too.)

Friends, if you are able, DO ART WITH YOUR CHILDREN OR GRANDS!  The mess is well worth it.  I like the fact that Levi gets so relaxed and calm when he is creating, that we are able to talk about so many things.  For instance, When he was so delighted with the final product, I told him it was a ‘masterpiece’!  “What’s that”, he asked.  I explained it to him and then told him there was a bible verse that used that same word.

We were able to talk about how God made him and all of us just like he wanted us to be and he was just as proud of us as Levi was of his artwork!

We talked about the colors of the leaves and why they changed colors.  How God has a plan for our world and He says it will always be this way.

We discussed if we thought leaves were prettier when they were green or if we like the changing colors.  We talked about how God used so many colors in His world.  And, that led us into talking about colors of skin and how God created people with the skin he wanted them to have…and that they are all beautiful.  We talked about how different people do different things well.  God gave us all talents.  Levi said, “Like me, I am a great artist!”  And so you are, Little Man!

 

It would be near impossible for me to sit him down and  just talk through all the things we discussed that day.  He would not sit still long enough in the first place and his mind would be on too many other things.  But, art frees the mind and nourishes the soul.  It allows you to relax and let thoughts and ideas come easily to the forefront.

I realize that many think ‘I can not do this…I’m not artistic’.  But, it really is nothing more than having some materials…a safe place to explore…and lots of towels!  It about making it available and then just sitting back and watching the magic.  Levi has his own art area.  He has markers, crayons, paints, pencils, tape, glue, old magazines, stickers, colored and white paper, scissors, colored tape, popsicle sticks, stamps, inks,etc.  And, it is there for him to use anytime he wants.  He has learned from just a toddler that we always put something on the floor and he either puts on play clothes or his painting apron.  Crayola makes wonderful art supplies and almost everything we use is washable.

Just some thoughts to share with you this morning.  Our collage of fall things turned into a collage of beautiful thoughts, as well.  Thanks for listening…and please give it a try with those little ones who you love!

 

 

FALL ART

Hooray for fall break…and 2 whole uninterrupted days with my Little Man! I’d take him the whole week, but his other grandparents would surely not agree! Yesterday was mostly spent in the outdoors doing ‘guy stuff’ with his Pa. But today was mine! We played Star Wars, and grocery shopping, raced with Finn, played a game or two with Uncle Alex…and had plenty of time left for some art!

I found these little burlap drawstring bags at Hobby Lobby in a pack of 4 for around $3.

We had a few ideas of what to do with them…but decided on making a stuffed scarecrow face for Levi’s fall tree.  I sectioned off a portion for the hat, then Levi drew a face on the bag with chalk…following a picture of a scarecrow in a book. Chalk is good for an initial outline, as it wipes off easily. He then drew right over his chalk lines with his Crayola Markers. Grabbed the fiberfill and filled the bag…then tied it off with a tight knot. It looks great on his tree!

You could get darker colors with Sharpies…but they bleed through burlap…and I really don’t like using Sharpies with children.  They stain their fingers and everything else they touch.  And, they stink!  Now, I use them all the time…but with Levi…not so much.  You could even use craft paint and get a better coverage…but, we wanted a quick and easy project and paint is more tedious.  And, there are days when tedious is NOT a good thing!

I also found these great raw wood pieces with an easel back…Hobby Lobby, $4, differing sizes.

I bought them without a project in mind…knowing they could be painted all sorts of ways. Levi decided on a pumpkin. Again, we used white chalk to draw first…erasing with a wadded up paper towel. Took him a while to be satisfied, but once he was, we used a chip brush and acrylic craft paint.  I showed him how you use red and orange and yellow to get variations on the color.   After it dried, I showed him how to take off a little of the paint by sanding lightly with sandpaper.  This helps the wood to show through in spots and gives a nice look…not so shiny!   I think he did a great job with his design and his painting.

Well, the title got a little wonky…but it only adds character.  Right?

Another Lulu/Levi project.

 

BANANA BREAD

I am beyond happy to be a Lulu to my sweet Levi!  We have such fun together and I love to make his wishes come true….within reason, of course.

He had stayed with me one Friday while he was sick and had to be out of school.  We rested and did a few fun things and watched some cartoons and just had a sweet day.  So, it was in this frame of mind, that I heard his latest request.

Levi, “Lulu, can you make banana bread?

Lulu…..”Yes, I have made banana bread before.  Would you like me to make you some?

Levi……”Well, yes, I would.  But, I would like you to make enough so I can take it to share with my friends at school, too.  And, the other first grade teachers too!”

Lulu…..”Well, that’s a lot of banana bread, Levi!

Levi…..”But, you can do, can’t you, Lulu?”

Lulu….”Yes, Little Man, I will do that for you.”

Levi…..”Can we make it right now?”

Lulu…..Well, first I’ll have to buy some bananas and let them get really ripe.  Then we can make it.”

And, that’s what I did.  I bought bananas and set them on the cabinet to ripen.  Every morning when he came to the house before school, he would ask if they were ready yet.  Then Suzanne bought me a big bag of bananas from school.  So we had plenty of very ripe bananas now!

Yesterday, I gathered all the supplies and made 4 loaves of banana bread!  UMMM!  It smelled so good!  I called Levi and told him I had it ready.  Since Suzanne was taking him to school today, she came by to pick it up to take to school when she went.  By the time they got here, I had cut into one loaf to make sure it was edible!  Oh!  And it was!  Suzanne loved it, Don loved it and I loved it.  Levi took a bite.  He didn’t say anything.  He put it down and went on about his business.  Strange, I thought.

Well, I wrapped it all up and got it ready for Suzanne to take.

Levi….”Thank you, Lulu.  I am going to share it with my friends tomorrow.  And the other teachers in first grade.”

When I went back inside, I saw the piece I had cut for him…uneaten.  Hmmmm.

I may or may not have eaten it…since it was already cut and all.

Later on that evening, Suzanne called me and she told me again how good the bread was.  Then she said, “But, Levi was not too fond of it.”

Lulu…..”Well, I thought he liked banana nut bread…isn’t that why he asked me to make him some?”

She asked him if he liked it and he said he liked it just a little bit.

Lulu…”Levi, why did you ask me to make it if you did not even know if you liked it?”

Levi….”Well, see…I was watching Mickey Mouse Club and Mickey and his friends were going somewhere.  So they asked Clarabelle the Cow to make them some banana bread to take with them to share with their friends!  And, I thought that was a good idea!”

Lulu…”Let me get this straight…you never tasted banana nut bread before…but since Clarabelle made some for Mickey and his friends to share…you thought I should make some for you to share.”

Levi…”Right!” ” I just thought it sounded like a nice thing to do.”

(Oh, my, does he think of his Lulu when he sees Clarabelle the Cow?   No.  Surely not!)

 

UPDATE…Today…

This morning when Levi came I asked him about the banana bread.

Levi…..It was great, Lulu.  I got to be the waiter and give it to my friends.  Then I got to take Mrs. Mann and Mrs. Mayes some…and Mrs. Jones.”

Lulu…..”What about Mrs. Brown?  

Levi…..”Well, she got her own piece!”

Lulu….”Did your friends like it?”

Levi…..Well, Cal and Winston sure did!  They wanted another piece!  But, Grayson said he did not like it.  I whispered to him, ‘That’s OK…I don’t like it either!”

And, so the banana bread story ends.  Isn’t it funny how we think we are doing things for one reason and it turns out that we did it for something entirely different?  

You never know where and when inspiration will strike.  Levi had a great idea…even if it did come from a cartoon.  He seized on that thought and applied it to his little world.  That makes me very happy.  How thoughtful it was for him to carry that idea on to the next step.  I pray his heart is always attuned to making others happy and finding ways to bless his friends. I wonder if we are as in touch when God whispers in our ear a way in which we can be a blessing!

However…before I bake anything for him again…I’ll make sure he knows what it is I’m making!

 

 

WHAT CAN YOU DO IN 45 HOURS?

v99

Beaches are for sunshine and warm breezes and cool drinks and playing in the water…and sunshine.  But, when God sees fit to water his creation, there’s still lots of fun to be had.

First thing…sit in the only spot of sun on the porch and watch as the clouds roll in…

45p

Ask your Mom to go get doughnuts for breakfast…cause doughnuts can make any disappointment so much easier to bear!

While you wait for your Mom and your Lulu to get ready…why not rearrange the toy shelf?  Everything out…and everything back in again.  But better suited to my liking!  Good job, Levi!

45o

Mom… Where would you like to go?

Levi...Wal Mart!  Wal Mart!

Mom…But we are not buying any toys…

Levi…I just want to look and see all the things they have in there!

Mom…OK…here we go!

Lulu...Oh, My!  Wal Mart?  Really?

Thank goodness for umbrellas!

45n

First we look at all the toys…ALL the toys.   Then we find a cooler for our lemonade stand (Coming soon).

Lulu...I need some keys!

And, so we get an up close and personal lesson in key making!

45l

5 keys later..we set off to find something else interesting…Look at this!  A bicycle just for Lulu!

45m

Here and there we go…all over the store.  Suzanne found a great way to keep Levi under control!

45k

Levi and I decide we need some white cheddar popcorn and chocolate chip cookies…you know…rainy day food!

So, we check out and head to the car…popcorn, cookies, m&m’s, and cooler in tow!

Levi...Look!  It’s not raining now!

Suzanne…I think it’s time for a smoothie!

Levi...I think it’s time for McDonald’s.

And, so we go to both.  Suze and I have a smoothie and Levi has a Happy Meal!

We stopped at the paint store and Suzanne did a little touch up painting in the house!  Thanks, Suze!

Back to the Sandcastle to wait for Pa and Uncle Ian…they are dropping in to spend the night on the way to Las Vegas.  Pa likes to fly out of PCB.

And, once we visit a few minutes…it’s off to Boondocks for a great meal!  Levi managed to get Pa’s hat from him and proceeded to wear it all night!  Levi and Uncle Ian having too much fun!

45e

45a

45d

45c

Levi and Pa and Uncle Ian decide to stop at Pier Park and let Levi ride some of the fun rides there…but Suze and Lulu sit it out in the car.  We’ve had a busy day.  We get tired…but Levi never does!

To tie up the night, we stop for ice cream and sno cones!  YUMMY!

Up the next morning, we wash sheets and towels, tidy up,  and hurry home for an important meeting .

BACK UP A DAY…

A few pics from our first day.   First we went to the Frank Brown Water Park and soaked up lots of sun and fun!  The day was perfect!  Not too hot…cool breeze…a little cloudy.  Just like we ordered.

v66

v88

After a quick shower back at the Sandcastle, we set out on a search for supper.  Every place was crowded.  Somehow…and I’m still not sure how…we ended up at a little local place.  There was live music, folks dancing and having a ball!  There was even a pool the kids could swim in during dinner!  We sat outside…and laughed and laughed and laughed!  We decided that even though the place was not crowded…and we had to wait over an hour for our food…we’d make the best of it and enjoy being together!  And, we did!  When we finally got out food…it was delicious!

v44

v33

v11

v77

 

45s

45u

45t

45r

45v

And, since no one likes to go to bed on time at the beach…Suze and Levi took a few spins on the go-carts.  Me?  I was safer just watching from the sidelines!

Sweet fun on a quick 45 hours at the beach!  A huge amount of fun in a short amount of time!  Hey…you just gotta cram that fun in  in the time you have!  And, we did!

v00

See you soon, Sancastle!