This blog is a record of my family, our adventures, and life as we know it. I named it after the movie "It's a Wonderful Life", because no matter what happens, good or bad, up or down, our life may not always be wonderful (or perfect), but it will always be a "Lacy Life", and that's wonderful to us!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

What a deal #2.

  We had a blast garage sale-ing last week at an all-city garage sale yearly event!  Imagine sales, sales, and more sales, in fact, so many sales than you can't even go to nearly all of them in a 2 day period!  We actually spent the better part of 2 days out there and didn't even get to nearly all of the sales, in fact, probably not even half of them.  We had a great time, packed a lunch and snacks each day, and had picnic's both days as well.  Without further ado, here is some of what I found...
  I was going to save the best for last, but I decided to show the best and most expensive thing first!  This is already being well used, as you can clearly see.  I did already have a organization system in place in the garage for the kiddos things, but not only was it overflowing and spilling all over the garage floor and making a mess, but it was also not as organized and easy as this beauty!  I paid $15, and retail they are about $90, I believe.  It's made of heavy-duty metal, heavy duty mesh, and canvas materials.  You can actually just remove those colored "bags" and close them up with the draw strings to take along with you to your sports practice, outdoor event, or whatever, if you choose to use it that way. 
  Someone had all of these crafting materials in a bag for just $2, and we will have use for most of what was in there.  Those wooden ornaments will be painted and handed out as Christmas gifts, that bag full of beautiful ribbon was totally exciting for the girls, as they will use them to decorate their tambourines.  The tape will come in handy for a particular child of mind whom I have dubbed "the tape thief".  I'll probably just give them to him, so he will leave mine alone for a while!  :)  And all those googly eyes will be lots of fun for us to use on homemade birthday cards, crafts, and, well,  just for the fun of it.  We've actually already used some of them on Mothers Day cards and birthday cards for family members.  :)
  Okay, so this might seem like a bit of a "mixed bag" of things, and it is.  I already have plans for the 3-ring binder dividers, as we need them for our homeschool curriculum, they were .25 cents each.  We also have a guitar case in the picture complete with a guitar strap inside for $2, which will come in handy for the children, all of whom play the guitar, and we have 4 guitars, and only one case.  There is laminating paper, which I paid .50 cents for the small ones, and $1.00 for the large roll.  I had recently had the idea of laminating some of my recipe cards, so that when they get messy from being near the cooking, I can just wipe them off, instead of having dirty looking recipe cards.   Currently, every time I look at some of my most often used recipe cards, I want to re-copy them because they look gross from food spills on them.  I often find myself wishing I could laminate other random things for our homeschool, so I know those will get good use.  As well, I'm pretty sure that the homeschool curriculum we use has the laminating paper on their supplies list for next year as well, so it's great to buy it for so cheap!  Those candle holders caught my eye, I really appreciate different and unique candle holders, especially at $1 each!  Then, when I am tired of them, I don't feel bad getting rid of them, because I didn't pay much for them!  I will put new candles in them and pitch those ones, but...aren't they pretty?... and they totally match my living room!

  There are some kitchen miscellaneous items, a tong, which always come in handy in the kitchen when serving food, for .50 cents, a small colander for .25 cents, which I often find myself wishing I had, a small glass Pyrex bowl, which I use almost daily for snacks for the kiddos for .25 cents, and those shakers, which I am going to use for my spices that I buy in bulk (and come in a plastic bags) and which I use often for .25 cents each, and then there are those squeeze bottles were .25 cents each and will come in handy for this homemade salad dressing I am going to start making, and for ketchup and mustard at picnics, which we participate in a lot of over the summer. 

  It may seem kind of weird to buy toiletries at a garage sale, but when you have a large family and you go through things such as lotion as fast as we do, it's a blessing to find stuff like that for a fraction of the cost.  As well, us ladies like to smell nice, and I am able to try out many of the "name brand" mall store and high end products for pennies on the dollar.  The brands that I found were all either "Bath and Body Works", "Victorias Secret", or "Mary Kay", except for the "Johnsons" baby powder,which always comes in handy, too.  I always check to make sure things look sealed and/or new and unused.  Pictured are 3 purse sized Bath and Body Works lotions, which just happened to be brand new and in some of my favorite fragrances, and just .25 cents each.  Also, there are 2 body sprays, one is Bath and Body Works and one is Victorias Secret, and both are in the scent of "Cucumber Melon".  These were not new, but will come in handy as a bathroom room freshener, and at just .25 cents and .50 cents each, they are cheaper than buying it at the dollar store!  Also pictured is a "Satin Hands" set from Mary Kay, which will be greatly appreciated by our designated dishwashers to get their dish-pan hands nice and soft again!  LOL!  These were a bargain at .50 cents and .75 cents.  The other 2 are a scented lotion by Mary Kay and a jar of wonderful smelling cocoa butter-body butter, oh that was a Kohls brand-oops!  These were .50 cents and .75 cents.

  Okay, so the thing under all of the lotions is a clipboard, which always seem to come in handy around our house.  Whether it's nature journaling or doing school outside or in the car sometimes, or using a clip board to keep lists on while out and about shopping or at a book sale, or coaching sports for the kiddos (my husband), it seems we find many uses for clipboards.  So I buy them when I find them cheap, I think that one was a quarter.  There is also a card game in there, which my family loves to play games, especially card games, which are portable and travel well, for when we have to go places where the kiddos might have to wait a while, I paid .50 cents for that card game.  Last but not least, there is a box of staples there that just happen to fit my stapler and I just happened to run out of staples a couple of weeks ago, and haven't have a chance to buy a new box yet, the staples were .50 cents.
  These last 2 pictures are of books and games.  Some of the games are educational, which really helps when learning, and they ranged from $2.00 for that Cadoo game, which will be great for Family Game Night at our house, and the Boggle game will be a spelling "school game" for learning, and there is a states and capitals game, which were each a dollar.  The license plate card game, for .25 cents, is our favorite game to play on road trips, and this will help us to remember which states we've found, and which we have yet to find, instead of MOM having to try and keep track for us all the time!  :)  More books include homeschool supplies, (map workbooks, critical thinking, reading practice, world history, Spanish, science) biographies, historical fiction, including a few books for me and a few books just for fun.  Those Mad Libs are great for developing English skills in the real world, where the children create their own silly stories by filling in words that are either nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, etc.  They help children learn story telling, creating stories, as well as learning working definitions of nouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, etc.  Pretty much every book was between .10-.75 cents, except for that Reading Pyramids book which was $2, and a couple others were $1 each (over half of them were just a quarter at a church sale).
  Well, that's what I found two weeks ago at our once-a-year garage sale excursion to a particular neighborhood around here, I think I am garage sale-ed out for a little while!  But rest assured, I will continue to link up, because I have many other garage sale bargains I haven't yet shared from previous weeks, and I didn't get a chance to take pictures of the clothes I bought for my family from during THIS garage sale-ing trip either, so I will still link up and have plenty to share with you even if I don't go for a couple of weeks.  :)

Happy bargain shopping!
It's a Lacy Life

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Friday, May 11, 2012

Praise the Lord with Dancing!

  "Let them praise His name with the dance; Let them sing praises to Him with the timbrel and harp." Psalms 149:3

  Today, May 1st our 2 girls had their "Evening of Worship" performance for their Praise Dance/Tambourine classes.  What a sweet time of worship this is for both the performers and the audience.  It is such a blessing for us parents to witness our children usher us into the sweet presence of the Lord with their worship dance and tambourine. 

  I am so proud of my daughters (and all of the other daughters that participated as well) for their hard work and dedication to learning these dances and the sweet spirit they have about praising the Lord in this way.  I am also very thankful for their teacher who teaches them for free, and is so patient and dedicated to teaching our daughters this form of worship.

  I have no more words, but I do have pictures to share...
Praising the Lord for His goodness!
It's a Lacy Life

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Happy Birthday to the Entertainer!!!

  My sweet little boy, my youngest child has turned 9 on the 28th of April.  Most days it doesn't even seem possible that my "baby" of all my "babies" has grown up so much already!  It seems like just the other day that my oldest son was begging us and praying to God for a little brother.  The Entertainer is such a friendly and happy child, and can make anyone smile with his presence and his contagious smile.

  The Entertainer had a few requests for his birthday.  You see, around here, we have a tradition of making the day special for the birthday child by taking the birthday child out alone, with the parent of their choice, to a special dinner date, and then out and about to wherever they want to go, as well as letting that child pick the meals for the day.  For his birthday he wanted daddy to make him apple pancakes (dad is the pancake maker around here), he wanted to go to the Rainforest Cafe in the Mall of America, he wanted to go to the Lego Store in Mall of America, and he also wanted to have a play date at the park with some of his friends.  So, we indulged him.  :) 

  Here he is enjoying his apple pancakes, complete with candle and a Happy Birthday song, sung by his family...
And here he is at the Rainforest Cafe...
  And here he is at the park play date with some of his friends (the ones that were able to come), complete with the "shoe toss" game that he requested to play...
 Rest assured, although I didn't get a picture of it, he also got to go to the Lego Store, as requested!  :)

  What a great day and what a blessing and an answer to prayer this sweet little boy is to this grateful family!  :)

Blessings to you as you celebrate your family,
It's a Lacy Life

P.S.  Sorry I was a little low on pictures, I kept forgetting to take them at the park, it was actually pretty cold that day, and all the people who weren't running around (read adults) were freezing and trying to stay warm!  :)

Spending Time with my Husband...ALONE!!!! (MACHE-A Yearly Event.)

  Once a year, my husband and I get to spend a couple of days together...alone!!!  You see, we are a very close-knit family, and we really, genuinely enjoy being in the company of each other.  YES-all of us- even the children!  Don't get me wrong, our life is not perfect (obviously), and of course we can work on each others nerves now and again, but really, for the most part, we just enjoy being together.  But once a year I get my husband all to myself and he gets me!  Now this may seem like a really "lame" husband/wife getaway to some, but it works for us, and for me it is wonderful!  This exciting yearly event we go to is our states homeschool conference.  Yep, that's right, a homeschooling conference!  Not a romantic get-away, not an exciting adventure, but a homeschool conference!  LOL! It may not be your idea of a fun time, but for us, it is time well spent, and time to re-focus on the important things in life. 

  Okay, so I just have to clarify, here.  What I mean by spending time alone, is that we were without our 4 precious children.   In all actuality we were far from alone, being that the homeschooling conference we were at had about 6,000 people there.  So that's what I mean by alone.  :)
  I think what makes this time so special to me, is that I spend every day, all day dealing with the ins and outs of home life, the major area of which is homeschooling our 4 children.  I homeschool by myself without help, much input (for the most part), or much direction from my dear husband, but not without his encouragement and blessing, of course.  So this is the ONE time of year when he enters "my world", and I get to talk all about homeschooling with him and get his opinion on things, and TRY and get his input on things, as much as he is willing.  We get to go to sessions about family, homeschooling, parenting, Christian worldview, and on and on.  It really is an important opportunity for us to re-focus us on the most important things in our life like the Lord, family, etc.

  You see, we chose this path as husband and wife, the decision to homeschool, and I guess in the beginning I was a little naive about it, and I thought that everyday was going to just be wonderful!  Well, anyone who has homeschooled for...say...10 minutes knows that that is a fairy-tale view of homeschooling, and in reality homeschooling is GREAT, but it is also very tough, too.  So to get my husband in my major "arena"of focus for 2-3 whole days, and for him to take an interest in the most important part of my day is wonderful!

  Another really fun thing about the conference, is that we have been attending it for so long that we have come to know several of the vendors, and when we go there and we see them, it's like re-connecting with old friends.  Some of the vendors are families that homseschool and work together-side by side- with their children at a family business to help other homeschool families by providing curriculum, books, services, or many other things.  Most of the vendors their also have the conviction to homeschool, and therefore there is this inner web of connectedness to this convention of people...a common string that ties all of us together, and it's really quite an encouraging and uplifting experience.  Also, over the years we have met and connected with so many other homeschoolers on a casual basis that live all over the state of Minnesota, and inevitably we end up running into these people.  It's always fun to get updates on what their families are up to and see how things are going for them.  Speaking of re-connecting, every time we attend the MACHE conference, the Lord works it out so that we get to connect or re-connect with our friends in our everyday life, too.  This year we got to re-connect with some good friends of ours whom we love dearly, but because of schedules and the distance between us, it's not always possible for us connect on a regular basis.  It was really special to re-connect with these people, hang out with them, and have dinner with them -YOU know who you are!!!  :)  

  I didn't take any pictures of the conference, which I should have, but I do have a picture to share of all of the things I found at one of my favorite parts of the conference, which is the used curriculum sale.  This is where you can purchase curriculum from other homeschoolers, at at reduced price.  It really is a great opportunity for us homeschoolers to buy things at a cheaper price as well as talk with other homeschoolers about curriculum, books, why a curriculum worked or did not work for a child, etc.  Here is a picture of some of the fun books I found this year at the used curriculum sale.
  So my favorite thing to find at used curriculum sales is chapter books.  My kids pretty much devour books, and I want them to read things that are going to enrich their lives in some way.  I love finding books about heroes of the faith, missionaries, character building stories, or biographies of historical figures, etc.  Most of these types of books will not be found at your local library.  I didn't find much in the way of actual "curriculum" at this sale, I got there shortly after the sales began (about an hour), and all of the things I was looking for, curriculum wise, either wasn't there or had already been snatched up.  Oh well, that's the risk you run when buying used (but at about half the price, mind you) is that either no one has what you want, or someone already bought it.  But, that's okay, because I have several other used curriculum sales that I am planning on going to this spring/summer to find what I need.  As well, this homeschool conference has a vendor hall that is AMAZING, and you can find just about anything you could ever want for homeschooling, spiritual growth, character training, bible study, and much, much more.

  Well, there you have it, maybe not the most exciting blog post, but it's what's on my heart, and it's how we like to spend our time!  LOL!  I'm feeling very blessed to be able to have this time with my husband, for the opportunity to be able to homeschool, and for the opportunity to re-focus my attention on the Lord, family, and homeschooling.  :)  Also, I'm thankful for my mom, who takes time off of work ever year just so my husband and I can have this time together.  Thanks, mom!  :) 

Happy Homeschooling!
It's a Lacy Life

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

What a Deal!

  I am linking up with my good friend Mrs. Taffy over at My Life on a Taffy Pull blog.  This is a way to share those great garage sale and/or thrift store treasures we find for a bargain price with others.  I find it really interesting to see what other people are buying for their families and even more exciting is how other moms are able to S-T-R-E-T-C-H those dollars to provide the necessities for their families, and of course some fun things, too.  :)

  I don't ever remember going thrift store shopping while I was growing up, but I do remember going to the occasional garage sale with both my mom and my dad.  And although we were far from well off, we did buy mostly everything new while I was growing up.  But as an adult, I have become quite a seasoned garage saler and thrift store shopper. 

  I've been shopping this way for many years, especially since becoming a mother and stay-at-home-wife/mother, and as our family has grown there has been more of a need to save money in this way.  I am a thrift store shopper partly out of necessity but mostly out of wanting to be a good steward of the finances that God has entrusted to us.  For the most part, we would have the means to go out and buy things new, but to me, why buy it new if you can find something in perfectly good working order used for less than half of the price.  Again, it's really all about being a good steward of our finances, just as I would choose to shop at a discount department store as opposed to a designer department store.  Also, I am able to afford things at garage sales that I wouldn't normally be able to afford, or rather, I wouldn't "waste" our money on otherwise.  For example, both of my boys enjoy playing hockey.  Now, we aren't die-hard hockey players by any means, we are more casual hockey players.  Therefore, all of their hockey equipment has either come from garage sales or second-hand hockey stores, including their ice-skates.  Now, if it weren't for being able to purchase these items at such a deep discount, neither of them would be able to play hockey, for the simple reason of the equipment is just plain TOO expensive for our budget.

  So, with all of that being said, and without further delay, here are my treasures I found on a garage sale/thrift store excursion a couple of weeks ago with my mom. 

  Okay, so I have to come clean, here, because during these posts, you will probably see A LOT of books that I find at a great deal.  The truth is, is that I am a "sucker" for a good book (in a good way, of course).  As a homeschooling mom, I feel that part of my job is to supply my children with good educational books, good wholesome books, and good quality literature books to read.  And as a "bookie" myself, I love to find good, inexpensive books for myself to read as well.  So in the 2 pictures above, I got all of those books at a thrift store, where they were having a sale on some of those books, which were .10 cents each, and the others were either .50 cents or $1.00 each.  All totaled I think I spent about $10.-12. on all of these books, which if you have ever bought a book at retail price, you know you could only buy maybe 1 book for that price, and the great thing is, is that after I am done with them I can re-sell them at a booksale or garage sale myself, and the words never wear out, so the next person will read the same things we read!  What a great thing!  :)

  Okay, the next 2 pictures are from garage sales.  The top picture is a bunch of books, one video, and a brand new sea adventures craft set.  I wasn't even set on buying all of this stuff in the top picture, but I set it on the table where you pay to look through it, and ask for the prices, because the books weren't priced, and the lady said you can have all of it for $2.00, and that craft set was marked $1.00 and the video was marked .50 cents, so I basically got all 6 of the other books for .50 cents, so I took it all.  One of those books is actually required reading for a curriculum we use, and one of my daughters is all about old-fashioned things, so that Pioneer cookbook should be really fun for her!  The shoes in the next picture are for Amish girl, whose feet just seem to keep growing and growing, so she is always needing new shoes, and these were both brand new (one had tags on them) at $2.00 for both pairs.  The great thing is, is that she loves them and wears them all the time!  Woo-hoo!  Score!  Not pictured, but also bought at this garage sale was a brand new bead set that was .50 cents. 

  The brand new things I often buy either for Christmas or birthday gifts.  Why not, it's the same stuff you would buy at the store for a fraction of the price?  After all, isn't it all about the thought of the gift, the fellowship, and building relationships, and not the price of the gift or the location that the gift was bought?  My kiddos know that they sometimes get gifts that are from garage sales or thrift stores, and they are perfectly fine with it, and they know that we love them no matter where their gift came from, or what the cost.

  Well, hopefully you enjoyed my post about the treasures I found a couple of weeks ago.  I already have garage sales scheduled on the calender for the end of this week, for the biggest garage sale event the kiddos and I go to all summer, so the next "What a Deal!" post should be a biggie!  :)  I can't wait!  Oh, BTW, my children are all about garage sales, too!  They absolutely love to find garage sale and thrift store deals just like their mommy!  :)

Happy shopping,
It's a Lacy Life

Monday, May 7, 2012

Florida or Bust!

  I just have to begin this post by saying that I think I could have written this post about three times over for as much time as I've spent trying to get this thing posted!  No really... I'm serious!  Truth be told, I am NOT a very computer savvy person, to say the least!  The very fact that I have even managed to create and post as many posts as I have thus far, feels like nothing short of a miracle, a very small miracle, but a miracle none-the-less!  For whatever reason, every time I worked on this post, I kept having pictures and text disappear on me and show up in some other odd ball place on the page, or sometimes not show up at all, and on and on.  The quirkiness of this program, or perhaps that of the operator, has caused me to completely scrap the whole post, and attempt to re-create it on another, new post, because I am convinced that I must have pushed some button or did something weird to mess that other post up completely beyond repair!  So here I am, attempting to re-do this post, after first transferring it to a hand-written form.  HOPEFULLY it all works out this time!

  So, now that I have everyone rolling on the floor laughing at my less-than competent computing skills, I hope you enjoy reading about our journey to Florida that took place in mid-March.  :)  And I really hope you enjoy pictures, because there will be a lot of them!

  My dear husband and I decided, after much debate, discussion, and consideration, that we needed a vacation REALLY bad!  With all of the things that Mr. Lacy Life has been going through and dealing with on his job, along with all of the long hours he's been working.  Add that to the everyday stresses of life, the busyness, and just the normal workings of a family of 6, we couldn't NOT accept our dear friends several invitations for us to come and visit them down in Florida at their new vacation home.  Our family vacations usually consist of a weekend getaway up to the North Shore of Lake Superior in our home state of Minnesota, or going "up north" elsewhere, as we call it here, or going on a fishing/cabin vacation somewhere else in our "Land of 10,000 Lakes".  We even went to South Dakota once, but NEVER have we went on an excursion quite like this one, where it would take us 3 days to drive there, and 3 days to drive back!  All totalled, We were gone for 11 whole days, and we packed a LOT of family fun and special memories into those 11 days.  It was a well-deserved, greatly appreciated, time or rest, relaxation, reprieve, rejuvenation, and re-connection as a family.  

  First and foremost, I must say that I really, really wished that I would have gotten a picture of our mini-van all packed up, and pictures of the kiddos practically "buried" in our van!  It was hilarious...a sight to behold to be sure!  Our mini-van was like one of those brain bender puzzles that fits together in one way, and one way only.  But until you figure out that specific way, it is nearly impossible to figure it out.  I am happy to report...that after packing, unpacking, and repacking at least 3 times, we finally figured out that "brain bender" of a packed mini-van, and we were on our way out of Minnesota to Florida!  Yay!  Cheers all around!
  Okay, so you think that is funny, well the real funny thing is, is that one of our children made the comment that it felt nice and warm, cozy, and safe in the van.  Truth be told, we were packed in there like sardines, and the reason it felt that way was because we literally had things packed around us on all sides!  Seriously!  Thank God we didn't have a car accident, but I am convinced that if we would have, we would have been perfectly safe and sound padded by all of our "precious" belongings that we couldn't bear to leave home without!  I think my children inherited my notorious "over packer" gene, which I inherited from both my mom and my dad!  LOL!  Love ya, mom and dad!  (You know it's the truth!)  :)

  We set out on our 11 day journey on a COLD Minnesota morning with our gloves and hats on, and our winter hats within arms reach.  Our first destination was Hebron, Kentucky where we planned to stay the night and spend the whole next day at the Creation Science Museum.  We drove through Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and arrived in Kentucky on our first day.  We arrived at our hotel kind of late, but that didn't stop us from allowing the children to spend a little time in the hotel pool burning off some serious penned-up energy, while my DH and I relaxed in the hot tub-we were on vacation, after all!  :)
A quick family photo on this beautiful staircase at the hotel before we spent the day at the Museum.

  We had a really great time at the Creation Science Museum, we spent the whole day there, from open to close.  We went through the WHOLE museum, experienced their planetarium (our children's first time), spent time outside at the petting zoo, the gardens, and on the suspension bridge and suspension docks.  We even saw a seminar on Genesis and Creation and a short play complete with special effects and vibrating seats! 
Checking out the turtles.
This chameleon kept trying to climb the glass. He was quite entertaining!
Hanging out with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.
Hanging out with our friends from the Old Testament.
Posing with a dinosaur.
A great miniature of Noah's Ark after the flood.
We couldn't believe how close this albino peacock let him get to it!  Fun!
Feeding the zedonk.
Feeding the miniature ponies.
I know you can't really see this creature in the picture, but my children were absolutely captivated by this little baby wallaby.  So much so, that they begged us to take one home!  Um, let me think on that...sorry, but NO!  :)
Here they are posing on the suspension bridge.  They made me dizzy just watching them jump on it!
A quick picture before leaving the museum.
 We spent the next two days driving towards Florida.  On the road, we had some great family times.  We spent our time talking, singing, I was reading out loud to the family, we listened to CD's of Bible radio theatre, we enjoyed the beautiful countryside that God created, as well as working on lots of school.

  We arrived in Florida at our friends' house on day 4, after a long detour through the Tennessee back roads the day before because of a landslide on a mountain that covered the freeway we were planning on taking. We enjoyed our time on the road, but we were so happy to be at their house!  There is nothing quite like reaching your destination.  The rest of the night we just got settled in and decided that the ocean would have to wait until the next day.

  The next day, go to the ocean we did...
Mom...look at what I found!!!
Learning the ropes of finding good sea shells and sharks teeth.
Learning the ropes on the boogie board.
Eew...Sea weed!
Okay, mom's, your turn!  Smile for the camera!
Making sand "art".
Mom... look at me!
A family picture to commemorate the historic event of seeing the ocean together for the first time.
  The next five days were filled with going to the ocean a few more times, to 3 different beaches.  Another fun thing was that all of the men/boys were able to go to see the Minnesota Twins baseball teams training camp, and my husband and 2 boys were even blessed with the opportunity to see a Twins pre-season game.  What a blessing that was for my husband, fulfilling a life-long dream of his to go to a pre-season Minnesota Twins baseball game and take his 2 boys!  This was an extra special blessing for the males in our family and will not soon be forgotten.   They were blessed with 3 FREE tickets to the sold-out game, and the seats were right behind home plate!  How exciting for them!
A picture of the hometown hero-Minnesota Twin, Joe Mauer... the boys' favorite!
The Twins' mascot.
  The rest of our time was basically spent just hanging out at our friends' house, going to their folks' pool & whirlpool, playing mini-golf, playing games, games, and more games, and either eating, sleeping, cooking, cleaning up after eating, or shopping.  It might sound like we spent a lot of our time focused on food, and truth be told, we did!  But that's no different from my every-day life at home, really.  When you have a hungry, growing family to continuously feed, and you want to make sure they aren't eating a bunch of junk, and eating healthily on a daily basis, it actually consumes a HUGE part of your everyday life!  Between the 2 families, we had 5 adults, and 13 kids to feed every single day, 3 meals a day, and that is no small undertaking, to be sure!  We had lots of help with the cooking and the cleaning up.  But even in that mundane task, we had a great time being together and enjoying each others company.  Here's some pictures to show a snippet of the rest of our time.

   The last thing to mention, is that we stopped in Spartenburg, South Carolina at a wonderful homeschooling conference on our way home for one day.  It was the first time we've ever brought our children to a homeschool conference, and this one was so friendly towards children that they didn't even charge for them!  They even had some fun things for the kiddos to do, like talks featuring the Mally family, and our 2 oldest even got a chance to join in on a Lego Robotics class that they thoroughly enjoyed.  Thankfully for you, I didn't bring my camera in, so you are going to be spared any pictures of the event.  He, he!  The kiddos reactions to the conference?  Well, some had a great time and cannot wait until we bring them to a homeschool conference again, and others were NOT happy about having to sit there and listen to the presenters for hours at a time.  Overall, I think it was a great experience for our family, and a great wrap-up for our family vacation. 

  That's about it, we had a great time, and we are SO thankful to our friends for inviting us to come and visit them in Florida!  What a great time we had, and  we definitely bonded as a family and tied strings of fellowship together.  If you've made it this far, I thank you. I realize this is a HUGE post, with lot's of pictures, and it's probably more interesting for the people that know us in real life. 

  I have one last thing to say...WHEW...I did it!!!  And just under 2 months after our actual vacation!!!  :)  Better late than never, I think that's my new motto!

It's a Lacy Life

P.S.  This program is still doing things that are bugging me, but I am posting it as is, because I REFUSE to re-do this post again!  :)