I Heart Shrinky Dinks

I have been racking my brain trying to decide what my children should give their teachers on the last day of school. Luckily, I saw this post about homemade Shrinky Dinks from a fellow blogger over at mummyshymz! She is a homeschooling mom in Singapore and always has great ideas!

What I loved about the concept of this is that it allows you the freedom to create whatever you want!

As soon as I saw her post I went to Hobby Lobby and purchased this:

Plain sheets of Shrinky Dink plastic

Plain sheets of Shrinky Dink plastic

I then told the kids they could create key chains for their teachers!

I drew the shape they wanted and they colored whatever they wanted on it! After they were done I cut it out and punched a hole in it and put it in the oven. We put them in the oven at 325 degrees for 3 minutes and they were done!

It was an easy project and one that we all really enjoyed.

As you can see we have already made quite a few in the past few days!

our collection of Shrinky Dinks

our collection of Shrinky Dinks

One of Iris's key chains

One of my daughter’s key chains

Another one of my daughter's key chains

Another one of my daughter’s key chains

One of the key chains my son made

One of the key chains my son made

 

 

 

 

Memories, Like the Corners of my Mind

Memories,

Like the corners of my mind

Misty water-colored memories….

It has been brought to my attention by my mom that my memories and some of the things that I recount here on my blog aren’t always factual when it comes to my childhood.

Remember when I said that my older sister gave me a home perm when I was a kid? Well, it was actually my mom that gave me the perm. My mom has finally figured out how to comment on WordPress so now if I get some facts wrong she will kindly set the record straight. Also, my aunt pointed out the other day that my Grandma didn’t eavesdrop too much on the party line. My dad may have exaggerated a bit that it was often.

The point that I’m trying to make is that everyone’s memory of a situation is different…especially when it comes to a kid’s memory.

Someday, I want my children to read this blog and see all the wonderful and not so wonderful memories of their life and their family’s history.

So today I am writing this post for my 5 year old son Bency.

When Bency was 3 years old he tackled his then 5 year old sister, Iris, on the recliner in the living room. She immediately began screaming, “Get off of me, you’re hurting me! Get him off of me…he’s hurting me!”

I was sitting on the couch adjacent to the scene and my husband was sitting at the computer desk next to them. After we both asked Bency to get off of his sister and he made no motion to discontinue his jumping on his sister, my husband reached over and pulled Bency off of her.

We heard a pop.

Both my husband and I looked at each other with wide eyes and then Bency let out a blood curdling scream.

Bency began holding his elbow and continued to scream at the top of his lungs. We instantly knew that something was seriously wrong so without a second thought we scooped him up and we all raced to the doctor’s office 5 minutes away.

Once inside the clinic, they immediately ushered us back to the examining room and the doctor came in within minutes as Bency laid in my lap still crying softly. He briefly felt Bency’s arm and elbow and then looked at me and said, “This will only take a second but hold him tight and expect a pop and a scream.” The doctor quickly pushed and turned and within seconds we heard the pop and Bency let out a yelp. Bency cried for a few more seconds and then we asked him if his arm still hurt. He thought about it for a moment and then answered, “no” and proceeded to hop off of my lap and start jumping around.

The doctor then explained that this is a common occurrence in children between the ages of 1-3 years old and is often called nursemaid’s elbow. It happens because the ligaments in that area haven’t fully developed at that age. You have to be extremely careful not to pull a child by their elbow. There is however no permanent damage done and it just pops back into place.

We breathed a sigh of relief and after spending a mere 15 minutes at the doctor’s office we left with a happy boy.

Over the last few years we have brought the story up occasionally because it was slightly horrific at the time. Also, Iris was 5 years old and remembers it quite vividly so she has told her brother that his elbow popped out of his socket. Bency, however , obviously doesn’t remember the situation at all.

The reason I believe this is because last summer Bency said, “Mom, do you remember the time my elbow popped out of my socket and blood started spewing all over? There was blood flying everywhere and my bones were poking out and you were trying to get my bones back into my body?”

I immediately sat Bency down and told him the whole story and assured him there was no blood involved and no bones were poking out of his body. I went over it a few times to make sure he fully understood. I was certain I had set the record straight.

A month ago at the dinner table Bency said, “Remember the time my elbow came out of my arm and all of my skin started melting off of me and all of my fingernails fell off? It was so terrible. The skin was literally just peeling off of me. And bones just started falling out of my body and blood was just dripping everywhere.”

I let out an exasperated sigh and once again found myself telling Bency the whole story all over again. Step by step. Every detail. I once again reiterated that there was no blood involved. No skin peeling or melting off. No bones protruding or falling out. Not one fingernail fell off.

So Bency, this one is for you. This is the real story. Please don’t tell people “your version”!!

Can you believe my bones were falling out and blood was everywhere and my skin was melting off??

Can you believe my bones were falling out and blood was everywhere and my skin was melting off??

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Engrave a Ray of Sunshine on my Soul

Is compassion something learned or is it born into us?

I watch the daily interactions between my children. Sometimes I see moments that engrave a ray of sunshine on my soul. Other times I witness acts that make me wonder if solitary confinement is the only way to successfully achieve peace in a house with three small children.

One of those sweet moments of Bency reading to Cesar when he was a baby

One of those sweet moments of Bency reading to Cesar when he was a baby

We have a basket of blankets in the living room that are for any ones use should they get cold. For some reason my 2 year old, Cesar has formed a strong attachment to the red fleece blanket in the basket. Even though there is an exact matching blue one and my 5 year old son, Bency, doesn’t prefer one over the other he will grab the red one if he sees Cesar entering the room just to start a battle. It’s moments like these that make having more than one child difficult.

But then there’s instances that occur like the one last week. It was my daughter, Iris’s 8th birthday. In the past I have taken Bency to the store to let him pick out a small gift for his sister. However, this year things got busy and I found no time for this outing but I did pick up two ceramic unicorn statues for each boy to give to their sister on her birthday.

As Bency gave Iris her gift I heard him whisper something to her. I saw her give him a smile and a nod. I couldn’t help but to ask what was said. Bency looked at me and in the sweetest voice said, “I told her that I had really wanted to buy her a unicorn swimsuit. Maybe someday I can get that for her.”

Those words melted my heart.

Iris does love unicorns and a honestly, she really does need a swimsuit for this summer. It would have been the perfect gift and this sweet, little 5 year old boy knew that because he loves her and knows his sister so well.

Two days ago another touching moment occurred.

Normally I help Cesar brush his teeth in the morning. When he requested my help Saturday morning I told him I was busy and to hold on a minute. Bency immediately piped in with, “I can help Cesar brush his teeth.” I was a bit taken back by his offer because Bency has not really shown any nurturing qualities in the past but I agreed that he could help.

I noticed that the boys had been in the bathroom quite awhile so I decided to go check in.

When I peeked in, I saw Cesar sitting on the stool and Bency sitting there lightly brushing Cesar’s hair. Bency looked up and said, “I already brushed his teeth but I’m just trying to get his hair looking good too.”

As I stood there speechless just taking in that moment, Bency also asked if he could help Cesar get dressed for they day. I proceeded to witness Bency remove Cesar’s pajamas and help him into his shorts and button-down plaid shirt.

Bency wasn't always a hands on kind of brother. Sometimes he would ask, "What's wrong little guy?"

Bency wasn’t always a hands on kind of brother. Sometimes he would ask, “What’s wrong little guy?”

Later that day, my two older children and I went to the grocery store. As I pulled in, I noticed an old lady struggling to push her shopping cart across the parking lot. By the time I got parked and got the children out of the van, she had made her way to her car. I immediately went over to her and asked if she would like help putting her bags in her car. She said she did.

I helped her and we talked for a few minutes before the kids and I headed into the store. I did not discuss this with my children and they did not bring it up.

Should I have explained why I did this or do my children already know.

To lend a hand when you can. To lend a smile or a nice word. To buy a unicorn swimsuit…or at least tell someone you would if you could!

You're never too small to lend a helping hand

You’re never too small to lend a helping hand

 

A Glimpse Into An 8 Year Olds Birthday Party

I once had a fleeting thought that I would like to start my own business doing children’s birthday parties. After I had planned and thrown a few I thought they were the cutest things in the world! Fast forward to present day; I still absolutely love planning them and hosting them but I am completely over the notion that I would love doing this as a career. With 3 children of my own, I will have plenty of parties to keep me fulfilled!

The thing I think other parents will appreciate about the parties I throw is the fact that I keep things simple and affordable. Last year, the party I threw my daughter cost a total of $18.00 and that included lunch for 13 children. I didn’t keep track this year but I am sure it was right around the same amount.

Today I present to you my daughter Iris’s 8th birthday party:

Iris all ready for the party to begin!

Iris all ready for the party to begin!

The Theme Requested: Rainbows

The Cake: Rainbow

Rainbow Birthday Cake

Rainbow Birthday Cake

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is a 4 layer cake made out of 2 box mixes. One was lemon cake and the other was strawberry. I made lemon curd for in between the layers. This is not necessary. Frosting or jam works just as easy. I knew I would be eating the cake as well and I thought lemon curd would taste heavenly….it did!

Decorations: I save my decorations from year after year so we have quite an assortment. I also usually make one new decoration each year.

This is pictures of Iris birth to present day except I somehow managed to forget age 4!!!

This is pictures of Iris birth to present day except I somehow managed to forget age 4!!!

Tableware:

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I made new labels for the soda bottles that said “Freshly Squeezed Rainbow Juice.” I thought I was so clever. Unfortunately, 8 year olds are so sophisticated nowadays and didn’t believe it for a minute!

Loot Bags: This is always a great topic of conversation between my friends and I. To loot bag or not to loot bag? This can be very costly even if you are shopping at the Dollar Store. However, I have chosen to go non-traditional routes. I stockpile little things whenever I see them on clearance. Think after holiday super blowouts! This year after Valentine’s Day I found huge packs of little heart boxes that had cute sayings on them like “Forever Friends.”

Games:

Pictionary: I wrote different objects on pieces of paper and each girl had to pick one and let the other girls guess what they were drawing.

playing Pictionary

playing Pictionary

All About You Memory Game: Girls this age love to talk about themselves (okay, no matter the age, girls love to talk). I asked the girls 6 different questions and they each got to answer the question. After we were done each girl got a piece of paper and had to write down how much they remembered about each person.

The questions I asked were:

Favorite food, Favorite tv show, Favorite color, Favorite place to go, Favorite hobby, Favorite school subject

playing the All About You Memory Game

playing the All About You Memory Game

Telephone: I came up with sentences and would whisper them in one of the girl’s ears. They would then have to pass it down the line and would we see how different it ended up being compared to the original sentence!

playing Telephone

playing Telephone

Snatch: I gathered several objects from around the house (spoon, box of jello, pencil, plastic ring etc.). I spilled the contents onto the floor. Each girl took turns taking one object away while the other girls closed their eyes. They then had to guess which item was missing.

playing Snatch

playing Snatch

Ha! Ha!: Form a circle. One girl has to say, “Ha!” the next girl has to say, “Ha-Ha.” Repeat this around the circle. The catch is that no one can laugh. If someone laughs that have to get out of the circle and make silly faces or dance around trying to get the other girls still in the circle to laugh!

playing Ha-Ha

playing Ha-Ha

After all of the games we had cake:

Singing Happy Birthday!

Singing Happy Birthday!

eating cake

eating cake

After cake we opened presents:

opening presents

opening presents

It was a wonderful party and I think all of the girls had fun! Iris said she had an excellent time!

Iris and her brother Bency! This picture cracks me up!

Iris and her brother Bency!

I look like I'm ready for a nap!

I look like I’m ready for a nap!

Iris trying to steal a Skittle off of her cake!

Iris trying to steal a Skittle off of her cake!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday the 13th Was One of the Luckiest Days of My Life

She entered our lives on Friday the 13th.

1 day old

1 day old

We gave her the name of Iris after the Greek Goddess of Rainbows. Her middle name, Hope, was her Great Grandma’s middle name.

I never took my eyes off of her. Her beauty captivated me.

1 month old

1 month old

Her personality started to shine through and she filled us all with laughs and happiness.

2 months old

2 months old

I couldn’t get enough of dressing her up and still do to this day!

3 months old

3 months old

She was so darn cute and I just wanted to eat her up. She was so chubby at 5 months that I think I could have taken a few nibbles out of her!

5 months old

5 months old

Iris has continued to delight and amaze us everyday. She is extremely thoughtful and generous. When she celebrated her 6th birthday in Kindergarten she was allowed to bring in 3 extra treats to hand out to favorite teachers. When she got home I asked which teachers she gave her extra cookies to. She listed about 12 different names. I asked her how this was possible and she said she just broke the cookies up into little pieces so she could give to more people.

Last year, Iris’s birthday fell on Mother’s Day for the first time.  Her spirit and love has been one of the most precious Mother Day gifts I have ever received.

It’s hard to believe she is finally at the age where she can start dating. Actually, it’s just dates with her Dad.

Iris and her Dad April 2013. All ready for a Father/Daughter dance

Iris and her Dad April 2013. All ready for a Father/Daughter dance

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In just a bit our house will be filled with lots of little girls to help us celebrate Iris’s 8th birthday. The party theme this year is rainbows. Iris loves them. She is after all our Goddess of Rainbows.

Friday the 13th has proven to be one of the luckiest days of my life.

It brought me this sweet little girl named Iris.

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Reading Can Be Hazardous to Your Health

My soon to be 8 year old daughter, Iris came home complaining last week that she couldn’t see the board at school. They recently got one of those new fan dangled Smart Boards in her classroom that is basically a huge computer hanging on the wall. I’m sure it’s wonderful but I am a little sad that my children will never experience the daily chore of clapping erasers at the end of the day and being lost in a cloud of dust as they sputter and choke to get the erasers ready for another day of learning.

I made Iris an eye appointment for the next day that was scheduled directly after school.

I picked Iris and my 5 year old son, Bency, up from school and along with my 2 year old, Cesar, we headed off to the optometrist. As soon as we arrived I could already smell trouble. For one thing, there is not really a waiting area. There were only two chairs in the corner amidst all the racks and racks of sample eyewear. There was one little basket of magazines and nothing else for two little boys to occupy themselves with.

I encouraged each boy to pick out a magazine and plop themselves on the chairs while Iris and I strolled around looking at the various options for glasses. Cesar chose an issue of Birds and Blooms while Bency began perusing the latest copy of Good Housekeeping.

I obviously should have brought books from home!

I obviously should have brought books from home!

Problems started to arise as the wait went on forever. The boys tired of reading about the newest bird feeders on the market and cleaning tips on how to remove lime scale from your bathtub. They started in on impromptu games of leap frog and seeing who could conceal themselves in the tiny basket of magazines. I tried my best to keep them under control but even when they were still they would make silly faces at each other and erupt into fits of laughter.

I soon glanced over my shoulder and noticed the lady doctor drinking in this chaos with a disapproving look on her face. She beckoned for us to come back to the room but did so with an eye roll and a huff. I asked Iris if she wanted to go in by herself but she adamantly shook her head “no” and really I couldn’t blame her for not wanting to be left alone in a room with a lady with such a sour look on her face. As we entered the room the doctor flippantly told Iris to sit in the examining chair and said, “I guess the rest of you can find somewhere to sit over there” as she motioned to the one chair against the wall and spoke in a tone that was laden with rudeness.

Bency and I made our way over to the one chair while Cesar made a beeline for the doctor’s swivel chair. I immediately began to tell Cesar that he had to come by me but the doctor interrupted with shouting at my poor 2 year old exclaiming, “This is my chair! No one sits on here but me!” At this point I wanted to get up and leave because there is nothing that gets my goat more than someone yelling at my child when I am already trying to remedy a situation. Somehow I managed to hold my tongue and the eye exam proceeded.

The doctor asked Iris a few questions and then asked her to read the eye chart on the wall ahead. Before Iris could get a letter out my 2 year old, Cesar began reciting the letters in a sing-song voice, “E-R-V-B-S-U-W-A-T.”

Needless to say, this sent the doctor into dramatic sighs, huffs and under the breath muttering as she made it clear that Cesar had ruined everything and she would need to push a button to change to a different chart.

After what I am sure was a streamlined short exam the doctor made the diagnosis that Iris has weakened her eyes by too much reading. She has perfect eyesight but apparently since her nose is always in a book it causes her eyes not to be able to focus on things faraway.

She sent us away with a prescription that Iris has to wear glasses while reading and after a sigh of relief she said, “Good bye you monkeys!”

I made a silly face and the boys and I burst into fits of laughter as we leap-frogged our way out of there!

Iris with her new glasses!

Iris with her new glasses!

You’re as Funny as an Unflushed Toilet

 My three children are a diverse bunch. They all share some similarities but for the most part their personalities and interests are quite opposite.

My oldest, Iris, a 7 year old girl, is dead set on being an elementary teacher or music teacher when she grows up. Since she declared this a year ago, I couldn’t agree with her more. Everything about her screams education. She has a gentle nature about her and an uncanny ability to explain things in a clear and concise manner and is very self-driven.

Iris pretending to be the teacher to the boys a few weeks ago

Iris pretending to be the teacher to the boys a few weeks ago

My middle child, Bency, a 5 year old boy claimed he wanted to be a scientist earlier this year. Both his serious nature and the way his mind works does seem quite perfect for this field.

My youngest, Cesar, a 2 year old boy has yet to determine what he wants to do with the rest of his life. However, since I am with him every day, I have noticed a clear skill set that he owns.

Cesar is extremely outgoing, social and has an amazing knack for doing impersonations and voices. His ability to mimic facial expressions and contort his little body is profound. His voice inflection ranges from high and squeaky to loud and thunderous and can even do a few accents too.

My clownie, clown kid Cesar

My clownie, clown kid Cesar

I have no idea how he learned this but it cracks me up every time he does one of his performances. I made mention to my husband that I think we have the next Seth McFarlane on our hands (the creator of Family Guy).

I picked up a book this past weekend at the library called The Birth Order Book. This subject greatly intrigues me especially since I now have 3 kids. Interestingly enough, it said that last borns are often spontaneous, humorous and high on people skills. Some famous last borns are Jay Leno, Steve Carell, Jim Carrey and Steve Martin.

This past weekend, my whole family was sitting in the living room listening to music. My husband was acting as deejay while the older kids and I were sitting on the couch. Cesar resumed his usual spot on the middle of the living room floor dancing up a storm. He had his body slightly hunched over at the waist and was doing slow, methodic stomping steps and would occasionally throw his hands in the air and wave them around and then laugh hysterically, which led me to believe he was trying his best to look like a complete lunatic.

It worked because I was guffawing throughout his impromptu performance. Iris was looking on with amusement as well while Bency had an annoyed look on his face.

Finally Bency piped up in a deadpan voice, “Hey you little clownie, clown kid. You think you’re so funny. Well, you’re about as funny as an unflushed toilet. You’re about as funny as a lost kid at the circus.”

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I quickly swiveled my head towards Bency with my mouth wide open and asked, “Where did you learn that?” He looked at me strangely and said, “What do you mean? I just made it up.”

I sat there speechless for a moment because I had to fully take it in and then I started laughing uncontrollably. It was one of the funniest things I had ever heard.

No matter the personalities or talents; kids are going to keep you in a mountain of laughter. Sometimes you have to look harder for it and sometimes it is just blinding you in the face like “an unflushed toilet”!

Weekend at Grandma’s

As indicated by the title I am sure you have surmised that my children spent the weekend at Grandma’s. This is in fact true. You may have also felt your mind wandering to the movie Weekend at Bernie’s and are imagining that my kids had one heck of party while they propped “dead Grandma” up in a corner.

Weekend at Bernie's...image courtesy of Google images

Weekend at Bernie’s…image courtesy of Google images

In past overnight visits with Grandma this is not that far off base. My husband and I pick up the kids late morning only to find a once very tidy house looking like a tornado has swept through. The children are running around like lunatics still in their pajamas and uncombed hair throwing Cheerios and marshmallows in the air and Grandma sits in the recliner looking like death warmed over in a comatose state.

Even though my Mom raised three children herself, we were all spaced out quite a bit so she never had 3 little kids running around. My kids are all small yet so they all demand guidance, supervision and some level of help. I am somewhat accustom to the demands and expectations that this involves but am not immune to the knowledge of the amount of work and exhaustion this brings. Through the years I have developed a set of guidelines I expect my children to adhere to at home so that things run somewhat smoothly. However, when my kids go to Grandma’s house all of these rules and regulations go out the door.

My children convince Grandma that food should be doled out every hour, there is no such thing as bedtimes, clothing is optional, every toy in the house should be taken out and cleaning up is not necessary. It’s not that my Mom doesn’t try to enforce proper behaviors but after a few attempts she just gives up when she realizes the effort it would take and comes to the conclusion that it’s only for a short time and her most important duty is to keep the children alive and let them have fun.

However, this past weekend was different. When we picked up the kids, the house was tidy. The children were sitting quietly playing toys in their clothes. The came and gave us hugs and began showing us the stacks of crafts and projects they did with Grandma. Grandma looked vibrant and youthful.

I think weekend at Grandma’s was a roaring success!

We arrived back at our house at noon on Saturday and unloaded the kids from the van.

The youngest had fallen asleep on the way home so I immediately brought him up for his nap.

When I came back downstairs I found a most unusual sight. My two older children who never take naps….were sleeping! All of the kids slept all afternoon and my middle son only woke up long enough to go up to his bed and go back to sleep until the next morning.

Iris asleep on the couch Saturday afternoon

Iris asleep on the couch Saturday afternoon

Bency just fell asleep on the floor

Bency just fell asleep on the floor

Apparently, even during the most successful weekend at Grandma’s there is still no such thing as bedtimes!

Melted Crayon Artwork

I came up with another project for the kids and I to do utilizing our over abundance of crayons.

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For this project I used a cookie sheet from the Dollar Store. We then put broken up crayons (wrappers removed) on the cookie sheet and put it in a preheated oven at 225 degrees. They were melted after about 10 minutes.

Next we removed the pan from the oven and started putting different objects into the melted crayon mixture that we had laying around the house (wooden hearts, stars and sequins) and then we sprinkled glitter over the entire project.

You need to act pretty quick when placing your objects because the crayon mixture cools and hardens fairly quick.

This was a very easy project and I think this is a cool piece of artwork!

For another idea to use old crayons read about another project we did here!

It Wasn’t a Nut

My 5 year old son, Bency, is a collector of things. Really he is a scavenger of sorts.

I can relate to this. I have been doing this since I was a young child as well. One of my earliest memories is trying to get the biggest toad collection in the world. I would spend all day in search of these creatures and put them in mayonnaise jars. Later I would put the sealed jar in my windowsill. I soon learned that animals needed air to breathe and would bake to a fine crisp in the hot sun.

Bency’s collections usually come from his extraordinary finds on his walk home from school. I am quite certain we have one of the biggest acorn piles in our ownership, despite the fact that we have nary an oak tree in our yard. He thinks he is nearly a millionaire with his growing “jewel” collection. In actuality, they are just sequins that have fallen off some girls dress. During the warmer months, at the height of bug season, you will find many containers and buckets located on our porch of Bency’s growing insect tribes.

The other day, Bency arrived home from school with yet another magnificent find. It was a white marble. I noticed both children were quite wet, muddy and carrying quite a stench mixed with sweat and another putrid odor that I couldn’t put my finger on. I put the white marble on the counter and questioned them about their day and walk home.

As the children walked out of the room to put their school things away, I noticed the smell didn’t leave with them. I began frantically searching their boots and coats to track down the culprit of the thing that was annihilating my nose.

I finally discovered that every time I went near the counter where the white marble was, the smell became more obnoxious. That was when I examined the white marble more closely and found that it was a moth ball.

I quickly put an axe to Bency collecting any more “white marbles.”

Yesterday, the kids and I spent the day at my parent’s house. The kids went down to the woods to play.

After a bit, the kids returned to the house excitedly! They had filled some plastic bags with wonderful treasures.

They showed me the pine cones they found, turkey feathers, pheasant feathers, a stick and then Bency pulled out a very interesting nut and asked me what kind it was.

I examined it carefully. It was unlike any nut I had ever seen so I asked my Mom if she knew what kind it was.

It wasn’t a nut at all.

It was a turkey turd.

I laughed and told him he should bring it for Show and Tell at school. He didn’t find this humorous at all. He was slightly perturbed that his scavenger hunt had produced poop.

In life, there are lessons all around us. I learned at an early age that everything needs air to breathe. Bency has learned that some things aren’t as they appear….not everything is a marble or a nut.

This was a day out in the woods last Fall! I would have included a picture of the turkey turd but we forgot it at Grandma's yesterday!

This was a day out in the woods last Fall! I would have included a picture of the turkey turd but we forgot it at Grandma’s yesterday!