Saturday, January 31, 2009

Walked Like An the Dallas MOMA

A couple weeks ago the boys & I went on a field trip with our friends from NICHE to the Dallas MOMA to see King Tut. Well, really to see a few of King Tut's items. The actual mummy & coffins do not leave Cairo. The artifacts were amazing from other Tut family members & just knowing that these things are over 3500 years old is amazing! A few things to consider if you are thinking of taking your kiddos:

1. The gift shop does a very good job of marketing King Tut - sheesh!

2. The audio tour is worth EVERY penny. Ian & Trevor & I got the most use out of them, but Myles was less interested.

3. A 6 year old may get tired of walking thru the exhibit room & feel a little overwhelmed with all these taller people jostling him, but there are many benches to take a little rest while you listen to your audio tour.

4. It is pricey, but unless you plan a trip to Egypt in the near future or ever, it is a once in a lifteime viewing.

5. The 3D movie is well worth the $5/person fee, but there were only a few 3D images actually in the show. It was very informative & all 3 boys were pretty much glued to the screen - even Myles. What was super cool was that they feature the mummy of Ramses in the film - the same Pharaoh who wouldn't let the people go....amazing!

6. If you wander around the rest of the museum carrying a King Tut gift shop bag you can view the other exhibits as well.....

7. If you budget for the occasion & know what to expect the King Tut exhibit can be very interesting. If you are expecting to be entertained, you will feel let down. You should have a little interest in the time period or at least have watched the "Mummy" movies - just kidding! :)

8. Your kids will get out of it what they see you getting out of it. At lunch we all talked about our favorite part or piece & it showed me the boys were actually paying attention - even Myles.

Here are a few shots around the museum as pics are not allowed in the exhibit.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

How Do They Come Up With These Things?!? Honest Scrap!

Well, it's a fun way to get back on the blogging wagon :) Amanda, & I think Sandi, bestowed this great "award" to me from their blogs Be sure to check out their blogs -good stuff from them always :)

I'm supposed to list 10 honest things about here goes:

- While I enjoy blogging & facebook, deep down inside I am a little nervous my comments will come back to "bite" me someday

- I totally get the idea of a "Snuggy" but don't have the nerve to order one.

- Sometimes while I am talking with someone & smiling & nodding & conversing; I am having a separate conversation in my head about what I would really like to say. But NEVER with YOU sweet friends....

- I do not like mushrooms - it seems like they squeak b/t my teeth.

- I enjoy making people laugh, but afterwards I second guess my humor & wonder if people were just being kind

- I often quote from the "Lord of the Rings" Trilogy which only Stuart seems to appreciate & understand

- If circumstances allowed I would love to tour the country in an RV

- I often wonder "what if?" when I pass by a vasectomy reversal billboard.

- I rhyme the ends of sentences with the boys & think it's hilarious that they have picked up the habit.

- I am acutely conscious that my children are picking up my habits, for better or for worse & thankful my God in heaven is full of mercy & grace. Praying the scriptures is a huge way for me to stay grounded in parenting.

There you have it, although when making these kind of lists or playing the newlywed game I always think of 10 better answers the next day...sigh...but tonite this is all I've got :) In keeping with tradition I am passing the "Honest Scrap" award on to my friend Gayle.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Waiting in Line? On a Road Trip? Some Ideas...

Okay, I know y'all are super smart & don't need these, but here are a few of the things we do with the boys when we have "ants in our pants" as the saying goes :)

- Play the ABC game. We play the ABC's of Christmas or Thanksgiving or our house or our family or history or anything really. Each letter of the alphabet has to begin a word that has to do with that particular subject. X does seem to always be eXcited or eXcellent something, but that's okay :) Try it, you'll be surprised what words your kids associate with events, holidays, etc. It also helps to remind them of the way things are properly spelled as well - but that's just a side bonus!

- Rhyming game. Just what it sounds like. Start with car & then each person has to add a word that rhymes with car. Then walk, kid, etc. Sounds simple, but I played this recently with the boys & it knocked 15 minutes off our card ride - I kid you not!

- Of course, the staple, I Spy. We put a twist on this & play "I spy something that rhymes with cheese" or "I spy something that Ian likes to read about" or whatever is particular to your location & family. Kind of gets them thinking b/c colors can get boring :)

- Spin the Utensils. At the table in a restaurant take a knife (because it's usually the heaviest & just seems to spin better) or the whole pack of utensils if still wrapped in a napkin. Choose a topic like your favorite food or place or book. Then spin the utensil. After each person has had a turn change the subject. Sometimes Mom or Dad has to inch a spin toward someone, but the boys really like this one. Of course, never mention that other popular game....unless you want to open a can of worms & confess to playing it when you were a teenager!

- License plate game - a different way. My Mom came up with this one - unusual, but great when you need a distraction & it gets them thinking. Let's say you spy a license plate with the letters G B L. You would say "the people in that car really like turkey" or somesuch & they have to figure out the word...gobble. Or S L Y. You could say "those people are really sneaky & then explain the meaning of 'sly as a fox' or that car must be filled with clowns...silly. You will be surprised how creative you can get. Ian gets the most out of this game, but Trevor is catching on.

- License plates on a map. One year I printed out a map of the US with just the state names on them & each time they saw a new state on a car's plate they shaded it in on the map. It was amazing how many different states are represented when you're on the road. Another take would be to place a tic on each state for how many times you saw that particular plate - omitting the state you're driving in, of course.

- When getting gas or taking a pit stop while on the road, ask the station on the interstate for directions to the nearest park - it's usually not too far & the dividends are amazing when you get back in the car & everyone has gotten the wiggles out in a fun way! It's also fun to explore a part of a city that you would normally have just driven through or purchased gas or SBX from :)

That's all for now, I've already taken up too much of your time. Share your thoughts - what is something unique to your family that really helps to pass the time when waiting?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Time to Remember....Thanksgiving

Here in the Cowen household we like to cherish the months of October & November as we honor Harvest Time & Remember Thanksgiving. The house is decorated with pilgrims, turkeys, scarecrows & fall foliage. We want our children to know that Thanksgiving is a BIG deal.

A resource that we particulary enjoy is Barbara Rainey's "A Time to Remember" by Crossway or their website under "holidays/occasions." The flyleaf says it better than I can so here goes:

"A holiday for celebrating faith, family, and freedom, Thanksgiving Day is both distinctly Christian & exclusively American. Barbara Rainey has created an excellent resource for enabling you and your family to remember the past, recognize God's hand in our history, and express thankfulness to him for His goodness today."

"It was a tradition started over three centuries ago as the Pilgrims & Indians gathered together in thanksgiving & remembrance of God's many blessings. The tradition has changed as the times have. Our families still gather together, but now the focus is food, football, or simply getting a day off from work. This beautifully illustrated book refreshes our memory of the enormous sacrifices the Pilgrims made and of God's provision for them. It's a remarkable story of faith blended with spiritual reminders of God's continual care. As you share this moving account with your family, you can begin a new tradition - a tradition of remembering the past & expressing gratitude for the blessings of today."

We also purchased the audio CD which the boys really enjoy!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


This is Ms. R. She loooooves seeing the boys each week when we deliver her meals on Wednesday. She also blows a kiss & will sometimes ask the boys for a hug if they don't offer it right away....your typical Great-Grandma :) She is in & out of the hospital, but is so thankful to get back to her little home she shares with her memories. Her husband has passed & her kids are spread out, but she will see them on holidays. It is our intense pleasure to show a little kindness to her for about 2minutes each week - not long enough, but a smile & hug can go a long way when you are all alone. We are so blessed to be a part of this great program! Thank you, Jesus for our blessings, for our family, for our health, for our friends. I know you, dear friends, feel the same way about the blessings in your life :)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Creativity & Science

Grandma Sharon's house yielded a scientific discovery & creativity lab. Ian found this tomato worm....super gross! It is now cocooned on a stick in a glass jar waiting to become a stellar moth. Myles used EVERY ONE of these foamy blocks the other day to make a tower that could actually stand - he was so proud to have built this himself.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Whirlwind California Saturday

Thanks to Mom's AA benefits I was able to join Stu in CA 2 Saturday's ago while he was there on what turned out to be a 10 day business trip. We visited my Grandparents, had lunch at Duke's in Malibu - right on the beach, strolled around Balboa Island & Pier in Newport Beach, waded a little in the cooold water & then had a romantic sunset dinner on the beach at the Beach House restaurant in Laguna. Ahhh!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Boo At The Zoo Pics

We had fun! This is Ian's last year for a costume. First one to guess who he is is truly a product of the late 80's early 90's! Family doesn't count :)
Happy Halloween y'all!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Pure Logic - a child's perspective

Red light. Gotta stop.

Hey, Mom, there's a homeless guy!

I know, I don't have any cash. I roll down my window & pass the man some coins from my spare change tray.

Hey, man, you doing all right tonight?

Yes, Ma'am. Thank you ma'am.

Oh, wait! Here's a thing from McDonald's - it's for a free burger. Sorry I don't have any bills.

I'm grateful for anything, ma'am. Thank you very much.

[commotion in the back seat & a "wait, Mom"]

Here's my $5, he needs it more than I do.

Green light. Gotta Go. Two hearts blessed by the generous spirit of one 10 yr. old boy.

He didn't rationalize what the man might do with the money, he didn't look the other way or pretend to fool with the radio, he just gave from the bottom of his heart.

It's Cold...for Texas!

Every trip to Target the boys would ask if they could get the footie jammies - you know, like long underwear, Mom! Well, here they are on this brrrry night - surely it will get down to at least 40something?! haha :) Up north, that's Spring, right?
They are so cute & I can't wait to pull out this picture when they head out for their first date(s)!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A New Look

Trevor's old glasses do not fit well after being stepped on....duh! When we took them to Target Optical to get fixed we just couldn't get them right & we discovered that the bridge of his nose really doesn't accommodate the glasses with the little plastic pad thingies so we have switched to these radical frames - kind of like Daddy's :)

Turtle Track

Ian made this turtle race track on Monday & they made themselves dizzy going around & around while trying not to hit the pentagon-ish thingy in the middle. Too funny :)
Those riding toys are called turtles, hence....turtle track :)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Fossil Rim Fun!

Took the boys to Fossil Rim a week or so ago. We got a membership in the Spring which makes trips out there a great get away w/o having to feel like the need to spend the whole day. We had not been in a while since our old van was not really up to day trips to the country. This time we had our new to us van that has a sun-roof which provided for a much more exciting visit this time. The boys took turns peeking out of the roof & loved this new vantage point of viewing the animals :) We pretty much had the petting zoo to ourselves & we really got a kick out of the funny goats.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Great Wolf Lodge Mini Stay-cation!

Thanks to a generous benefactor we enjoyed a wonderful & much needed mini-retreat to the Great Wolf Lodge the last weekend in September. This was our 2nd visit to GWL & it was just as much fun if not more this time around. We stayed in a KidCabin suite on the 3rd floor with a patio overlooking the new outside waterpark. Ian went on all the slides this time & Trevor & Myles enjoyed the fort, wave pool & lazy river. Even though we were in Grapevine once we were inside we felt worlds away as we splashed away! Here are some fun pics we took with Uncle Dave's way cool Olympus Digital UNDERWATER camera - amazing - Ian took 2 videos while going down 2 of the slides that I will post soon. This is my first attempt at a slideshow. To see the pics better (Grandmas) hit the "view all images" button.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Mainstay Farm Pumpkin Patch Fun!

This is a great farm south of Burleson off I-35 & Bethesda Rd. Check out their website at We go each year for Christmas tree fun as well & cut our own Xmas tree out of their field. Of course, if you just want to enjoy the festivities there is no charge at Xmas time. This was the Homeschool Day for their pumpkin patch - we had a great time on a hay ride, sliding down a 120ft slide & playing in their super-duper tree house - 3 stories! They are a Christian family & always share their testimony. Very Cool!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Cub Scouts '08

Trevor has a goofy look in each picture I took so this one will have to do! He was rather giddy that night & hindered the photo op! This year Ian is a Webelos 2, Trevor is a Bear & Myles is a Tiger. We are blessed to be part of a scout troop where most, if not all are HSing families. The boys look forward to Tuesday nights each week!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Bond, James Bond?

Here you go, Grandma Ann! Can you tell we just threw these on? Look at their hair & in stocking feet! They will be so handsome for the wedding in October. Our Uncle Martin is getting married on the 19th to Shannah Gunn. Myles is looking forward to carrying the ring & the boys are just waiting to hear how exactly they are to "usher" people to their seats..... With apologies to Martin & Shannah..boys being boys...when they found out the family cub scout campout was the same weekend as the wedding they wondered if maybe Uncle Martin could change the wedding to another weekend & then added maybe the cubmaster could change the campout! I guess we will need to have a family campout of our own soon :)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Out of the mouths of babes.....and Mom's?!

I haven't recounted a child's conversation in a while so I figure we're due for another comical episode from the mind of Ian, my 10 year old. I feel the need to preserve this particular conversation for when he is older....

Ian: Have you ever put your tongue in Dad's mouth? (I am thinking, "where is this going" and "what have you been watching" or "who have you been talking to"?! - I did not say these out loud - just inner alarm bells!)

Mom: Why do you ask? (notice the redirect of the question :))

Ian: Well, the other day Jet (our dog) put his tongue in my mouth when I was saying "good night" to him & it was soooo gross!

Mom: (VERY relieved now) ewwwwww, that would be gross! That's why Mommy doesn't hug his face...

Ian: (laughing) Well, you should try putting your tongue in Dad's mouth & see what he does!

I just laughed with him & thought about how glad I was this conversation took an entirely different path than I was suspecting! And then I thought about finding Stuart..... :)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Henrietta Creek Apple Orchard Field Trip

Had a great time Monday at the apple orchard! We went with NICHE (North Irving Christian Home Educator's) Group from Irving Bible Church. They are a great group of families with lots of fun activities planned for this year :) Our friend, Vicente joined in on the fun - it's his first year of homeschooling & I think he had a great time on his first "field trip"! The Farmer Lady was amazing & really kept everyone's interest - we all learned a lot! We really enjoyed the beautiful fall-like weather in the AM!

"Mommy, Can I Take a Picture?"

Posted by Picasa

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Little Chef Myles-atouille

Myles really enjoys pretending & so our costume drawer is very full! He donned this the other day all ready to make lunch for Daddy! Too cute :)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

No, we don't wear feather boas!

So last week I saw Mamma Mia! & I must say I thoroughly enjoyed the movie! We could go into a deep theological discussion about why I probably shouldn't have liked it, but you will have to indulge this little guilty pleasure.....

I love the music! It is very upbeat & just fun. Stuart informed me that I am listening to "deep disco" but I couldn't really hear him over singing "Dancing Queen" :)

My Mom-in-Love, Ann let us borrow, but has since gifted us with the soundtrack (thanks, Ann!) I am embarrassed to admit that the boys actually request the Mamma Mia! music in the van! There is just something about the tambourine & trumpets...I don't really know. They don't really understand the meaning of the songs - they just like the beat!

Is there a Christian band out there who sings like ABBA?!?

Tonight we were at Northpark Mall & people were walking around with those cheapy feather boas & I told Stuart, I bet it has something to do with Mamma Mia! & sure enough a guy (old hippie, not gay) came over to where we were eating to invite us to a free showing of the movie & sing along in the AMC theatre! If the boys had not been with us I would have totally dragged Stuart to the show! Too funny :)

While we were sitting in the food court we played a game of who might be going to the sing along....lots of colorful characters!

Peace out, Friends!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Boy was I sweaty!

One word: Kickboxing....

K - kicking - hey, there are a lot of letters
I - I can't believe I actually lasted 30 minutes
C - Class was really an hour - gotta work up to it
K - Kangaroos box better than me
B - you know it, boxing
O - Oh, my goodness, I'm out of shape
X - hmmmm, xylophone? Xtra calories burned
I - I need ryhthm...kick AND box?!
N - Not what I expected, but I will go again, I'm a...
G - ...Glutton for punishment!

With a shout out to my friend, Amy, who introduced me to this new kind of pain!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Space Center with Grandma & Papa!

Saturday, the 9th was my 20th high school reunion! It will happen to all you youngun's who read/lurk here too! :) Mom & Dad graciously offered to watch the boys during the reunion festivities & decided to take the boys to Houston to the Space Center for the day! They got to the airport at 6:30AM for their flight at 7:30AM - brave/fun grandparents! (Mom works for AA) The boys had a blast! Evidently this is quite the place - I haven't been yet, but the boys have now been twice thanks to G&P! Fun memory making - we are so blessed to be close to both sets of Grandparents.

Hwy. 287 - Part Two

So from Ennis we traveled Hwy. 287 West to Waxahachie to see the beautiful courthouse. It was 5:15 when we arrived, but the doors were still open so we got to explore a tiny bit in the basement where they have pics from the past & a little history of the place - very interesting!

This is a famous courthouse featured in many movies about the west & Texas. It has a story that has survived the of the Italian artisans fell in love with a Waxahachie beauty & he fashioned her lovely face in stone above the east entrance. When she did not return his ardor he created monstrous faces on the rest of the detail. When the boys heard this they were determined to find all the faces on the bldg. We did find her face & the gargoyles, but we also found these 2 faces & now wonder what their story could be? Overall a neat, interesting experience for the boys that we might have passed up.

Check out this neat book "Off The Beaten Path" from the Insider's Guide by June Naylor - it helps make exploring our Texas fun in out of the way places!