Sunday, October 23, 2011

Trunk or Treat

We had an absolute blast at TRUNK OR TREAT!  River Hills Community Church hosted trunk or treat followed by an amazing pig roast and bonfire and we were so thrilled to be part of it all.  COOLEST PART--our family won the prize (a $50 movie theater gift card) for the BEST DECORATED TRUNK.  I had no idea that you were even supposed to decorate your trunk until the Sunday before the event and really didn't give it any thought until Friday night when Grant told me he wanted to wear his clown costume and hand out the candy for sparked an idea....a "BIG TOP" CIRCUS theme and I started to think about all the costumes we had in the basement and figured we could probably pull it off....we had 2 gypsy/fortune teller costumes, a clown, a lion, an elephant, a "trapeze" girl outfit and a monkey (OK, I think it is really a gorilla, but Luke thinks it is a MONKEY so a monkey it is!)....I easily made a "ring master costume" by snagging a free pair of pants at a local clothing exchange and a white shirt out of Jay's closet, I made a red bow tie and we asked someone we know with sons that wrestle to borrow a wrestling singlet for our "strong man".  It cost me less than $7 to do it all ($6.31 to be exact--I bought 2 disposable table clothes, some laundry line, a 1/4 yard of fabric and a cool plate at a yard sale) and our THEME was brought to LIFE!

I will admit it, I always thought the idea of trunk or treat was LAME and a ploy by some churchs to dissuade children for going trick or treating so I only gave in to the idea because it wasn't on Halloween, but after experiencing it just once, I am HOOKED and we have already decided on a theme for next year....NOPE, NOT TELLING is a surprise!  But we already have at least 2 of the costumes in the basement and we will see how cheaply I can acquire the rest over the next year....


the whole crew minus mom!

Emily and a veiw of the trunk

the 3 ring circus

photo-op with our cutout

Hannah painted the sides of the van

Cade, the STRONG MAN

yes, I know clowns are CREEPY, be happy you can't hear him doing his clown voice!

and Yes, my STRONG MAN is so strong he can lift an ELEPHANT!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Homecoming 2011

Emily attended Milford High School's Homecoming dance with her boyfriend Josh.  Just a few pictures that she liked that I took of them before the dance!  The sun was playing havoc with the shots and I was in a hurry to get back home so that Jay and I could get to our neice's wedding. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Alive 4-H Club Halloween Dance

It's become a tradition and this year it was bigger and better than ever!  Our 4-H club hosted a halloween dance and we had a blast doing it.  We had a great time and lots of creative raffle baskets and items and some fun door prizes.  We hosted a costume contest and a pumpkin carving contest as well.  I think everyone who attended had a great time and we are already looking forward to next year!

Sara and Sopia
Luke--won the cutest costume--ssshhh! don't tell him, Tori really won, he came in second, but Tori didn't need a whole bucket full of candy!

William--the Devil--won the "scariest" costume

Cade, the tin man

Grant and Jacob

Werewolf Josh with Supergirl Emily

Harry Potter and Devil

Werewolf and Devil

2 there a full moon?

Emily with Luke

D and Hannah

best overall costume

most creative costume--Wii Remote

fairy Tori minus her wings


3rd Annual ALIVE 4-H Club Family Halloween Dance
Friday October 21, 2011
7 PM to 10 PM
4-H Hall 1000 Locust St. Owensville, OH 45160

Join us for an evening of dancing, games, contests and prizes!

Admission: 1 canned good or $1 per person.  Canned goods will be donated to a local food pantry following the dance.  Drinks and light snacks included.

Costume contest:  Prizes awarded for the best overall costume, scariest costume, cutest costume and most original/creative costume! Contest will be voted on by the ALIVE 4-H Club members but open to EVERYONE!  FREE!

Pumpkin Carving Contest:  Bring your best carved pumpkin to enter in our pumpkin carving contest.  Voted on by everyone at the dance!  FREE!

Raffle Tickets:  $1 each or 6/$5 or 15/$10.  Lots of themed prize baskets!  This year’s themes include: Movie Time, Clean and Green (2), Get Schooled, Sports of All Sorts, Pampered Pets, Cooking, Christmas and others!  Additional items from local businesses also being raffled!

QUESTIONS?  Contact our dance coordinator, Grant (contact info removed)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Invention Convention: Solar Cookers and Marshmallow Launchers!

What absolutely PERFECT weather!  We gathered at the park and made our solar cookers out of pizza boxes, we had numerous different types of food that families tried to cook--hotdogs, mini pizza, burittos, and even marshmallows.  The food at least got WARM this year (much better than previous attempts) but I have to agree with Grant that I much prefer ELECTRICITY, GAS or PROPANE as a heat source for my cooking needs!  Maybe if I live in a region that was consistantly HOT and I had a permanent cooker not made out of a pizza box, I would feel differently, but I don't!

The kids had a great time assembling and playing with their marshmallow launchers.  What great fun for the cost of some pvs, fittings and a bag of marshmallows.  I even discovered that Walmart's brand of marshmallows are DYE FREE!  WOOHOO!

Here is the email I sent to the group prior to the event:
The weather is supposed to be GORGEOUS on Wednesday (October 5th) so I would LOVE to do something is the plan.....
When: Wednesday October 5 10 AM until people chose to leave
Where:  Alms Park let's plan to meet at the playground just past the pavilion, there are about 3 or 4 picnic tables right next to the playground that we can use to build the items at.
Who:  Homeschoolers of all ages.  Children 12 and under will be expected to have a parent/responsible adult on premises with them during activities, Teens 13 and up may be dropped off.
What to bring:  items listed below in RED and lunch for your family if you plan to stay and play (we plan to!).  Please don’t count on the solar cooker food as LUNCH!
RSVP:  Laura 
The temperature is supposed to make it to 76 so I thought we could try solar cookers (see needed items below), let’s just plan on making one per family and seeing if we can get something to cook!  While the food it attempting to cook, the kids can make and play with the MARSHMALLOW LAUNCHERS!  I will bring the marshmallows, boxes (for solar cookers), black construction paper, straws, glue and scissors.
Items needed for marshmallow launcher (let me know if you need a picture of what the pieces look like!):
5 pieces of 1/2 inch diameter PVC pipe cut into 4” pieces (anywhere from 4-5” will be fine, it isn’t an exact science!)
2 “T” shaped pieces
1 connector piece (serves as the mouth piece)
2 caps
You can bring more pieces and more connectors of any type (t’s, crosses, 90 degree connectors) so your child can get creative, but all you really need are the items listed above to make a successful launcher  (you can actually even get by with only 3 pieces of pipe, 1 t, a connector and 1 cap if you really need to get by cheaply!).  Usually you can find someone at the hardware store that will cut the pipe for you if you don’t want to do it yourself!
I will get the boxes for the solar ovens (PLEASE RSVP so I know how many I need to find!!!)
For the solar ovens, each family needs to bring for themselves:
1)Aluminum foil
2)Clear plastic (heavy plastic laminate works best but kitchen plastic wrap is fine too)
3) tape
4)Whatever food you’ll be cooking (example - S’mores, hot dogs, English muffin pizzas, burittos, etc.)
5) If you want to add an optional feature (listed below) bring those items as well
How to Make Your Pizza Box Oven
The simplest pizza box solar oven design, as given below, can get up to two hundred degrees Fahrenheit on a warm sunny day. Several optional features will enable the oven to get even hotter, which may be desirable in cooler weather.
1)Assemble the pizza box, and open it up.
2)Glue aluminum foil to all inside surfaces of the sides except the top of the box, with the shiny surface facing in. This will create a "radiation trap" that will trap, by reflection, invisible
(low-frequency) radiation that is radiated by the food and air inside the box.
3)On the top flap of the pizza box draw a square with a marker with edges spaced 1" from the four sides of the box. Cut along three of the lines, on the sides and on the front edge of
the box, leaving the fourth line along the box's hinge uncut. Then fold open the flap, making a crease on the fourth line.
4) Glue aluminum foil to the inside surface of the top flap, with shiny side visible! This will form reflector, to reflect sunlight into the oven. Be careful to make as few wrinkles as possible, and smooth out whatever wrinkles occur.
5) Tape the black construction paper to the bottom of the box. This will help to absorb the incoming sunlight.
6) Carefully stretch the plastic wrap over the opening of the box, sealing the edges with tape to seal the air in.
7) Cover any air leaks around the box edges with tape, except while making sure that the box can still be opened, so you can place food inside the box and remove it later.
8) Go outside in the sunlight and place oven on a flat, level surface.
9) Place food on some foil and place inside the oven.
10) Prop open the flap of the box with a straw you have cut to fit until the aluminum reflects the maximum sunlight through the window into the oven interior.
11) Let food cook, and check reflector angle now and then to make sure sunlight is getting inside the oven.
12)  Eat your food!
Can you improve your oven? Optional Features
Add addition flaps to reflect sunlight into the oven. This can
substantially increase the gain of the oven. This will require some
extra cardboard (from some old boxes for example), and some extra
foil, glue, and string to adjust the flaps.
Crumple up some sheets of newspaper and stuff them around the inside
of the box, to provide extra insulation.
Add an additional layer of saran wrap across the box opening, but
attached to the inside surface of the top flap, such that an air space
is created between the layers of wrap (the plastic is bound to stick
together in some places: don't worry about this too much).
Place a thermometer inside the oven as well, to measure the temperature.
The principles demonstrated are:
Solar Gain - arranging for sunlight to enter a device as a source of
energy. In this case, the gain is accomplished both by reflection and
direct gain. This principle also includes using dark colored surfaces
to absorb the solar energy that enters a device.
Insulation - containing heat by trapping air inside and around a
device to contain heat, and reflecting thermal radiation back into a
The third principle of passive solar design - thermal mass, can also
be experimented with the solar oven. If you are interested in this
option, see the project "Build a Passive Solar Design Laboratory"
for ideas. Large amounts of food will provide some thermal mass,
causing the oven to heat up more slowly.
Some interesting Solar Oven information:
Cooking food takes a lot of energy! By using solar energy, we can save on fuel.
Solar ovens have been used for a long time. In the 1830s, the British
astronomer John Herschel used a solar collector box to cook food
during an expedition to Africa. Nowadays, one can buy commercial solar
ovens, ranging from small single dish units, to large units that can
feed many people at once and that have to be hauled around on a
Without the reflector flap, the solar oven becomes what is called a
"flat plate collector". Flat plate collectors are used for many
applications, such a heating water (the reason for not using a
reflector is that it is not really needed for these applications- and
thus alignment difficulties associated with reflectors can be
avoided). One of the first known uses of solar hot boxes was by the
cooks of  the Roman Emperor Tiberius who wanted to eat cucumbers all
year round. The cooks satisfied his regal appetite by using a solar
hot box, a kind of flat plate collector,  to grow the cucumbers all
winter long! Nowadays, many people also use flat plate collectors to
heat water for their pools and houses

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


What:  Family Halloween Dance
When: Friday, October 21, 2011 7 PM to 10 PM
Where:  Clermont County Fairgrounds 4-H Hall 1000 Locust St. Owensville, OH 45160
Who:  You, your family, your friends
Hosted by:  ALIVE 4H Club

Admission:  1 canned good (to be donated to a local food pantry following the dance) or $1 per person

Snacks:  Light snacks(chips, pretzels, popcorn) and beverages will be provided by ALIVE 4-H club.

Raffle Tickets:  $1 each or 6/$5 or 15/$10.  Raffle items include but are not limited to theme baskets (pets,sports, green cleaning (2), cooking, get "schooled", movie basket) and items from and gift certificate to local businesses . We will also be drawing door prizes throughout the night.


Pumpkin Carving Contest: Bring a carved pumpkin with you and you could be named “Pumpkin Carver Supreme” and win a prize! FREE!

Costume Contest: Open to EVERYONE! We will award prizes for the cutest, scariest, most creative and best costume overall! FREE! Please keep costumes tasteful!

GLO BRACELETS for sale the night of the dance!

Need more info?  Leave a comment here on the blog and we will get back to you!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

It's PARTY time!

Can you believe that it has been a year already?  Join us to celebrate Tori’s first birthday!

What: Tori’s first birthday party
Where:  last minute location change to Tori's Grandma's house!
When: Sunday October 2nd 12 PM to 3 PM 
RSVP:  Laura

Join us for fun, food, friends, and games!  We will be serving chili (Texas style) and also hotdogs around 12:30 PM.  Cake to be served around 1:30 PM.  Join us for all or some of the fun.  Bring a dish to share (if you like) and don’t feel obligated to bring a gift!  This is a celebration of just how far we have come!
What a fun day and what great friends!  Even with the venue change at the last minute due to cool weather, we were so happy that so many of our friends could join us!  Like my typical distracted self, I completely FORGOT to take pictures of the other guests as they arrived, but I did get some family shots and lots of pictures of Tori devouring her "smash" cake!  Trying out a couple of Picasa's photo options, so pardon the photo overload!