Tuesday, November 22, 2011


So - how does a mom of 7 on a crazy strict budget afford to get pumpkins for all her kids??
Wait till November 1! The kids kept begging... I kept waiting. Just at our local WalMart they went from $4 each to $1 a piece over night!

They don't even really care about the carving - they just all want the seeds. :)

Ooooh - and while they carved I made these pumpkin cookies with salted caramel butter cream icing! SO YUMMY!
I just love fall - and Thanksgiving - and the slowing down of life. Learning SO much about thankfulness all the time. It is vital to the joyful Christian life. Hoping life is slowing down for all of you too - and that you might bask in thankfulness - no matter what your situation is.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Reformation Celebration!!

Reformation Celebration probably plays 2nd only to Christmas with my kids. I mean, they count down the days, are crazy excited as the 31st approaches and they start discussing next year's costumes on the way home.
I really love celebrating the Reformation each year. But don't get me wrong - I ain't be hatin'. I don't judge the celebrating of Halloween. Nope. Well..., ok, if you turn your lawn into a grave yard and hang things to look like bodies from the trees - I may pass just a little judgement. But mostly, I love the yearly opportunity to revisit God's provision for His church and presenting the kids with the lives of some remarkable people who were devoted to the Word of God like Luther, Calvin, Tyndale and Zwingli. They were devoted to getting the Word of God into the hands of the common man and to returning to the teachings found in it - the were devoted to this in life, and most in death. It is truly challenging. And yet, these men were so far from being perfect. How glad I am that God uses messed up people to advance the Kingdom.

Yeah, yeah, yeah - enough, Woodard - on to the cute costumes...

We had been planning for quite some time to dress as the Winnie the Pooh gang. Days prior to our grand celebration, however, we learning that our sinking rotten friends, the Kents, were dressing as Winnie the Pooh. The nerve! (haha - wait till you see them - A-DORABLE!). My kids were terribly upset about this new development. I mean, there may or may not have been tears (do you get it now that my crew takes this really seriously?). Once we were a little settled (and I made sure I had receipts for everything crafty thing I bought to create the Hundred Acre Wood gang- which I did!!) we had a family meeting around the table to discuss a new plan. We tossed out multiple ideas but if an idea did not have 100% support we moved on. Finally, they were all pretty excited to settle on "Children of the Word." 7 kids - 7 continents - you get the picture, right? I am actually so glad we switched to this. I was stumped on a few aspects of our Pooh garb Here they are (and I truly apologize for all the blatant stereotyping!!)...

Africa (or course my missionary Madison was Africa)....

 $2 sandals from Goodwill
 Dollar store beads hot glued to a paper plate and for the bracelets a cut up water bottle painted with nail polish...
 Gold pipe cleaner and the leftover dollar store beads for the crown...

 Owned or borrowed everything except the hat - which they gave us for free at Goodwill. Free - now that's a Gooday mate!

South America - what a beautiful senorita...
 Again - we owned everything except the green fabric around her waist which we purchased for 40 cents and I bought the lace around the bottom of the skirt for $1.50.
The skirt was important because one of my vivid memories from second grade. The second graders in that particular school (I had many) participated in a "world" party where I was assigned Mexico. We had to bring a food from our country and dress accordingly. I remember my dress so clearly and I remember how I twirled and twirled in it - because it was a twirly skirt. (Did everyone else call skirts like that twirly too?)
Representing our fine continent is this handsome OSU sports fan...

 A completely borrowed/owned outfit is in my book a .... SCORE!!!

Doing Europe right (or at least adorably) is this cute cute little Italian chef...

 He is such a ham and he loved his costume so much. We owned everything except the mustache which I bought at a party store for $4. All I could think of when I first saw him was Lady and the Tramp "He's-a talkin' to me!"

Tyson had first settled on being the European chef but after thinking Wilson's choice of Asian ninja was so cool he wanted to be the ninja. Will was fine with switching. 

Now, I know you don't want to meet this tough guy in a dark alley...

I had no intention of buying anything for this outfit but when I saw these little ninja swords at WalMart for $7, I justified the expense knowing my 4 boys would get lots of use out of them. And I was right.

And finally, Antarctica. Poor lonely Antarctica - and poor little Pips who gets the continent no one else wanted. But she didn't care. She kept saying "I'm going to be the Antarctica princess! (and crazily enough she kept pronouncing Antarctica correctly). What a snuggly snow princess...

Here they are - children of the world holding hands - get it?

Here are those AWFUL-ly cue Kents. Seriously, they are adorable!!

Now I know why Pooh loved honey so much. Who could keep away from this little honey pot??

The Quaker Oats man and Rice Crispies Crew (brilliant!)

The sweet Tracy's (what? people actually let their kids be anything they want - not in a group??)

And oh. my. word. Just having twins (#6and #7) pretty much means you don't have to have amazing costumes but then again, It's Rachel we are talking about - the same girl who laid out a ridiculous luncheon spread for us when the babies were just weeks old.
Having 7 girls, you wouldn't think there would be much Star Wars activity going on in the Castor home - but think again friends - these girls have become quite obsessed - and good thing... look at how cute they are!!!
And teeny Alice and Bess are the cutest Ewoks ever!

I know that my chickens love to be seen at the celebration but they also LOVE to see their friends. All the way home they talked about each of their friends and how they liked their costumes.  It makes my heart smile to see my kids with these friends - how they play and talk and interact. No fighting, no ugly words, no competing with one another - man, it's kinda like Mayberry! They're not perfect but the Lord has definitely knit together the hearts of these children - young and old - they have beautiful fellowship. Yeah, yeah, yeah - enough already, Woodard.

 Before we got started the kids gathered around to Skype with one of their missing family buddies, the Lees.
 The food is always fabulous and sometimes even fitting the theme - like Amy's Diet of Worms cake. Hilarious! The best part of this for me was my son that very much dislikes school and claims he doesn't learn anything in history said "Mommy! Look! Mrs. Kent's cake said the Diet of Worms!!!" Ha. I knew he was listening.

This camera shy little Yoda  - cracking up me she is.
(Ha. That's no type-o it must be read in Yoda's voice)


 Pippa did not like  mouth full of whipped cream from the "find the Hershey kiss in the whipped cream" game.

As usual, it was a funtastic night with funtastic friends that have really become more like family to us.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Give A Kid A Camera

 A few weeks ago, after looking at doggies needing adoption at PetsMart, where I had to say "No" 68 times (whose idea was that???), we were hanging out in this beautiful little courtyard in town located between a few restaurants.  The weather was beautiful. Super beautiful. I fell asleep on Jason's shoulder while we sat on a bench watching the kids - that beautiful.

And so the kids were allowed to take pictures with Mommy's camera. I thought it was fun to see the pictures they took...