July 17!!! Oh my! How exactly did that happen? The last few weeks have been full here. As I gathered pictures for this post, I am reminded of God's goodness and faithfulness in my life.
Here's a whirlwind review for you!
At the end of June, our oldest son Nate was able to come home from Ft. Drum, NY where he is stationed with the Army for a 9 day visit!
I think one of the best things about large families is the awesome group hugs!
While Nate was here, we were able to celebrate his 19th birthday. It was an early celebration, as he won't be home at the end of July, so we took the opportunity to rejoice with him~ plus we all love to have an excuse to have Black Forest Cheesecake! Yummm! I'll post the recipe here one of these days.
I had fun decorating for the Fourth of July, using some huge buntings that I found for super-cheap on Amazon. Don't they look classic on our old farmhouse porch?
Do you see the chalkboard to the left of our front door? This was so fun to make. I discovered chalkboard paint recently... and, even cooler, chalkboard markers! They come in the most awesome vibrant colors, and best of all, they're not chalk! Anyone else not like the feel of chalk? (Michaels carries these. I used my Jo-Ann's coupons to purchase them at 40%
off) Click here to go to Amazon and see what they look like. The sets I purchased were smaller and significantly cheaper, but the same brand of markers.
Here's a close-up of my (decidely non-professional) 4th of July welcome message that I created. It's really fun to change the message when I am anticipating guests or a family birthday or even for a new season or holiday!
Here's a menu chalkboard that I painted on the wall in our kitchen. It's pretty fun as well, and has the added benefit of keeping me accountable at pre-planning my menus!
After some yummy BBQ'd chicken, we had traditional s'mores made over the grill burner (too hot for a bonfire)...
and went to watch fireworks that night.
The next week when it heated up, Tom had the fabulous idea of creating our own water slide! All it took was two tarps and a sprinkler mounted on a post. The children had so much fun~ I wish I had a way to take video of them so you could see! They really went fast!
In addition, for the past two weeks I have been learning so much working my way through Jessica Sprague's free photo editing class.
Here's a photo that I started with of Nate playing guitar... one of the things I really miss hearing now that he is gone in NY.
I transformed the original photo to this:
Here's one of Tim that I had fun with as well:
Sprinkled liberally through the past weeks has been some great gardening and enjoying flowers, herbs and produce (sharing with the bumblebees!)
Tim helping me cut some flowers~ we love having cut flowers in the house...
Sunflowers are so happy, don't you think?
Had a blast putting the cool scruffy edge on this pic...
Plus we have done some fun creating... Here's Abbie making some awesome cloth napkins. I really like using cloth napkins at meals~ so elegant, even when the meal is somewhat plain!
We've had fun creating some cards as well!
Praying that you are having a full and blessed summer as we are.