Monday, December 21, 2015

Top Fun Ranch

Saturday afternoon we headed out to Top Fun Ranch to check out the Christmas festivities.  I know the family that runs it from MCA and was so excited to finally get a peek at their property since I've been hearing about it for years... I mean... they have ZEBRAS! :)
 


Our first stop was Santa's workshop...


One of the sweet girls offered to take our picture and we jumped on the chance :)


When I teach probabilities to my PreAlgebra kids in April I'm going to use use "the chances of getting 5 people to smile in one picture" example.  Spoiler alert - the answer is "approaching zero" ;) hahaha


 The kids made ornaments...



... and then we hit up our first bounce house.




Mason was the only one who wanted to have his face painted and while he was being worked on, Luke wrote a letter to Santa (and how fun is it that he'll get a letter from Santa in return?!?!)



He asked for Science stuff, Minecraft legos and $300 in cash ;)


Dropping his letter into the mailbox.  SO CUTE!


Mason is done!!!  Right after I took this picture he wiped his nose all the way up to his forehead. 


I.  Can't.  Even.



We had pizza fresh from the pizza oven (Holy, yum!)...


And played with Piggles the pig before taking a hayride.


I don't have tons of experience with pigs - but Piggles was by far the sweetest pig I've ever been around. hahaha


Ready to see some animals!


They had sheets with pictures of and information about all of the animals we were about to see.  This was RIGHT up Luke's alley.


 GG reading up on the animals :)





Wildebeest..


... zebras...



... and these antelope that jump straight up in the air.  So cool! (see it jumping???)



I should have paid better attention, but the boys LOVED it when Brad got out of the jeep to get this guy to stand up... and then he pooped (the animal, not Brad. hahaha)



Several types of deer and the remnants of the pumpkin patch they hosted this Fall for a charity that sends kids to summer camp.




I could look at these piggies all day ;)


At the end of the ride Griffin got chilly and wanted to snuggle.  Anytime, sweet girl, anytime.


After the hayride we got to go in the hangar and check out their big game collection.  Neither Dave or I grew up around hunting, so it was interesting to us to hear some of the details of big game hunting.


The kids loved getting to be so close up to the animals and it was neat for them to hear about how the hunts provide so much for the villages that the family supports. 



This is kind of where the wheels fell off our little family adventure.  We told the kids they cold pick a cookie, and they had JUST come out of the oven.  The boys understood that Daddy was holding them so they could cool off, but Little Miss did NOT understand.


Exhibit A.  And yes, I took a picture.  Because as the mom of toddlers, sometimes all you can do is laugh and take photographic proof of their toddlerness to show them when they're adults :)


I thought we had it together enough to stop at this ADORABLE blue truck on our way out...


... but I thought wrong :)  


 Note to self - stop here first (and not an hour past nap time) next time we go.


hahahaha


 The funniest part of the cookie debacle is that we gave Griffin her cookie when she got in the car, but she fell asleep before she even ate it.  Poor baby girl!  

All three asleep when we pulled back in the driveway.  WINNING!


It was a fantastic afternoon at Top Fun Ranch and I just wish we'd had a chance to go earlier in the season. 

If you're local, they're open this Wednesday and Santa will actually be flying in between noon and one!  HOW COOL IS THAT?!?!?!  

For more info you can check out their Facebook Page HERE.

Also - don't forget that tomorrow is our last Show and Tell Tuesday of 2015!  We'll be sharing about the best gift we've ever received and I'll be spilling the beans on Show and Tell Tuesday for 2016!

Happy Monday, friends!!! 

51 comments:

  1. I just saw a big sign about this place on Saturday! Looks like it was a great time. That Luke is one smart kid-$300 cash-hahahaha!

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  2. Super fun!! What a neat place to take the kids!! Perfect for all this nice weather we are going to have this week!

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    1. Yes! I'm kind of sad it's not colder,but it's awesome to get outside!

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  3. How have I never heard of this place?!?! I'm totally taking my family next year! My kids would have a blast!

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    1. This is the first year - but mark your calendar for next December! ;)

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  4. How lucky are you to have such an amazing place nearby. You got some scrapbook worthy photos for sure. :)

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  5. That hunting room is so sad. What could anyone possibly gain from killing a giraffe or elephant? Unless people eat the meat, it's devastation of precious animal life.

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  6. From what I understand, they pay a generous fee to do the hunt and then all of the meat stays with the village. I was told it would feed them for over a year. The thought is that this will incentivize the tribes to keep the population up and will limit the illegal poaching that happens when the animals are killed for food and/or money. Again - neither dave or I grew up around this - so I'm going off of what I was told. If you want more info, I'm sure that they would be happy to talk to you about it. Thanks!

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    1. I grew up in hunting country and I am skeptical of any claims villagers eat that kind of meat. Not to rain on your entire post but I think we need to think twice about big game hunting. I doubt the hunters kill to feed the villagers but for their own ( selfish in my opinion) reasons. Their saying it's allowed in this manner because it's better than illegal poaching is like the argument parents should let their kids drink or use drugs in the parents' home because they're going to do it anyway.
      I usually like your blog and realize the hunting may or may not reflect your views. However I think it's important light be shed on these types of practices

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  7. What an AWESOME! place! Loving all of the photos. And have you seen the post on pinterest (I think) where there's a whole page on why their toddlers are crying for the most random reasons? It's hilarious!

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    1. Yes! The "why my kid is crying" page? Hahaha My mom talks about a time when I cried at the grocery store because she wouldn't let me eat while coffee beans off the ground - so finally she said, "sure! Give them a try" and so I did and then I cried because she let me eat them. Hahahaha

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  8. You are exactly right Andrea! Not to mention, most hunters hunt to put meat on the table. Hunting is the purest form of organic eating! Have a wonderful Christmas :)

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    1. You eat elephant, giraffe and lions, Elizabeth?

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    2. I personally am a vegan. That being said, the animals on display in that room are dwindling in populations and some are endangered. I don't see how hunting them could be considered ok, even if it is to feed an entire village. Frankly, it seems implausible that one animal could feed an entire village for a year, even one of this size. As an earlier commenter wrote, these hunters aren't killing big game to feed villages. Much, if not all of the meat ends up discarded, and most of the fees these hunters pay go to local governments, not villages. I'm surprised being a teacher you wouldn't know a little more about this or have at least researched it.

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  9. The ranch looked so fun and and a great place to spend family time together that wasn't too commercial. Until the trophy room pics. Oh my goodness that made my heart hurt for those animals. And I'm not even against hunting (my husband and his family hunt ducks and deer and donate the meat, etc). It's something about those big game animals that pulls my heartstrings.

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    1. It was definitely a unique experience, for sure! It was interesting to get to hear about their experiences and see the animals that close up. Hunting isn't something that we participate in - and honestly, I don't really know enough about big game hunting to feel like I can provide any kind of opinion on it. Hope you have a fantastic day!

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    2. I, too, am conflicted about big game hunting. But we have to remember that one animal is not more important than another. Over in Africa it is these animals that are eaten as food for families, while here in the US it may be deer or moose that are hunted to put food on the table.

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  10. So Mason cries during family photos and you spank him and Griffin cries here and you think it's adorable? You're the worst.

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    1. I'm assuming you're referring to the post I did almost three years ago where I talked about spanking Mason during a family photo session? If you are, then you should already know that I didn't spank him because he wouldn't smile - I spanked him because he was being defiant to adults (not about smiling, but about standing still, not running off, etc.). I have NEVER cared if kids cry during pictures - they're toddlers - it is what it is. Sometimes they're in a mood and that's fine. But I do take issue when kids are disrespectful to adults. Was it my proudest parenting moment, no. But it happened and I'm honest about that.

      Griffin throwing a fit about wanting to hold a super hot cookie is a completely different situation. There was no defiance or disrespect - just a toddler meltdown.

      I'm going to assume that you're not a parent, because I think any parent who has been through the toddler phase would understand that different settings, scenarios and kids call for different parenting action. The SHAMING surrounding the fact that I swatted my kids bottom for being defiant to an adult is ridiculous and uncalled for.

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    2. Good job on the reply Andrea....some people..shake my head.

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    3. First of all I LOVE your blog! I rarely comment but I have learned not only fun creative ways to be with my children but also how to parent in certain situations where I literally want to scream. Following you everyday and reading about your parenting style has taught me a lot! I admire how you parent with such grace and make so much time for your children! That spanking comment was so uncalled for and very disrespectful! You are far from the worst! I do believe in a spanking when the children are being defiant and not respectful to adults! Which by the way was obviously not the point with Griffin! You and your husband are great parents and I look forward to reading along for years to come! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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  11. You are such an amazing momma and have such a patient and heart for those who feel they can shame you for your parental choices. Obviously any parent understands toddler meltdowns are always different. I enjoy your blog daily and am so thankful for your godly grace and attitude. Keep up the good work momma! Merry Christmas to you and yours!

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  12. I actually have to hand it to you for being honest, for posting AND replying to these comments. I think trophy hunting is disgusting, for the record, and wouldn't endorse it on my blog if I had one, but I'm glad you are at least upfront and not deleting comments and pretending you're only getting positive feedback, which is the reason I actually come back to your blog. Being honest and transparent is important.

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    1. I grossly underestimated the response those pictures would bring - which I guess was naive. Im well aware of media stories about this sort of thing, but I know the family personally which I think made me think less about the backlash to the photos. Being able to hear their first hand accounts of their interactions with the local people and knowing all of the amazing work they do in Africa (not just from hunting - but building wells, housing, etc) makes my perspective on them different than what most people's opinions may be from just seeing the pictures.

      I hate that I upset anyone as that was most definitely not my intent. We were invited to come check out the ranch by my students family and I thought it was a cool place so I shared. Schools take field trips there and I really didn't give those pictures as much thought as maybe I should have.

      And I'm glad you appreciate my transparency - I try my absolute best to be open and honest and (as in this case) sometimes that brings about a lot of scrutiny (which isn't an easy pill to swallow).

      Thanks for reading and for your input! ;) andrea

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    2. As a note - I don't publish comments with profanity and I more than likely won't be publishing anymore comments about hunting in general. If anyone wants to discuss further feel free to email me.

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    3. I just have to say -- I applaud you for how respectfully and kindly you are responding to some of the questions and comments. I do not approve of trophy hunting, but I also do not pretend to know the details of how/when these animals were obtained. Overall, it looks like you guys had an amazing day spending some quality time as a family and I really admire how much of a priority you and your husband make that.

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  13. I applaud you for answering questions honestly today! Sometimes your readers love you or hate you but you always handle it with grace. It looks like a fun place to go!

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  14. I just have to add too that I LOVE your blog because you are so real and I relate to you as a parent of multiple kiddos. Thanks for sharing your life and many ideas with us!

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    1. Thanks, girl! Your kind words are MUCH appreciated :)

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  15. Keep doing what you are doing. Your blog is definitely a blessing for those of us who are reading it. There are a lot of people who are so offended by everything and can't appreciate others opinions or experiences. Anyway, I hope you and your family have a very blessed Christmas!!

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  16. I just absolutely love reading your blog everyday and often purchase some of your great finds! Ex: the denim shirt and Lucky Brand plaid shirt from Lord and Taylor. My our children are absolutely beautiful. Enjoy your week off and have a very Merry Christmas, Andrea. Love, Mary from Buffalo, NY

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  17. Love your blog, Andrea!
    I hope to use some of your ideas when I am a mom myself!
    Merry Christmas!

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  18. I read your blog almost every day but rarely comment. I just wanted to thank you for always being honest and real and although I'm not a parent yet I think you're an awesome one (and Dave too)!!

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  19. I was afraid you were going to get comments like that. Like others have said, I appreciates your honesty and your kindness. Merry Christmas to you and your sweet family.

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  20. I love you. Thank you for sharing your family. I just buzzed through this post and thought nothing of the animals or the spanking. I spanked all three of mine ( 25,24,21) boy boy girl. Just like you. I love your encouragement to women and love of the Lord. I read because you make me remember all the wonderful memories of my own babies. I just showed my daughter your blog and told her I start my day with Jesus,Andrea,shay and Erica.
    Merry Christmas sweet mamma.
    Kimberly

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  21. Andrea, as a mom and a Christian I follow your blog for entertainment, ideas and more. Your kids are just precious and parenting is so hard but also the most fulfilling job there is. I only have one child, a "threenager", and boy is he the most blessed handful ever!! You're such an inspiration to be such a dedicated mother, teacher and follower of Christ. Everyone has an opinion about everything but I just wanted to say that I'm sure many people got more from this post than whether or not you promote hunting, spanking or any other form of personal preference or belief. Thank you for being as real as you are and so inspiring. Many blessings to you and yours this Christmas!! ~Kara

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  22. I know I tell you this all the time, but I really love your blog and so wish I could take you out for some tea & cookies. Your kids are precious, you have a very sweet husband, and it is obvious that your students adore you. People will be people and unfortunately that means there will be some rude comments from time to time. The good news is that your identity is found in Christ and as long as you hold to and live into that, no one can take that from you. Keep being who you are, because who you are is awesome. Xoxo

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  23. Thank you for allowing the hunting conversation to take place (with the constructive comments). I think it's a great discussion point whichever side you are on to be more well-informed. As far as the spanking - don't you wish you had all that free time to go blog-hopping for the sole purpose of making rude comments?!?! Lol I wish I did!

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  24. I love reading your blog, Andrea, and seeing all of your beautiful family photos. Putting your daily life on the Internet opens the door for much scrutiny and you always handle it gracefully. You're a great mama - thanks for keeping it real! Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful family from a Canadian mama. :)

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  25. I began reading Shay's blog earlier this year and happened to click on your blog one day and totally got hooked! One of the most creative, happiest families I have ever read about. I told another friend of mine, I would move to Texas just to be friends with you all! Hope you and yours have the Merriest Christmas!

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  26. Oh Andrea, I feel terrible for you. I cringed when I saw the pictures of the wildlife game room because I knew there were going to be some nasty comments. Honestly, I don't like big game hunting because I do think it's more about the trophy, than about feeding any villagers. That being said, I reviewed in my mind what I find acceptable and what's not in regards to the killing of animals. I found that I am so hypocritical and if most people gave thought to it, they would also come to the same conclusion. I eat beef, turkey, chicken, pork and fish, but don't eat deer (hello, Bambi), lamb (I lived in Scotland and England in my youth and would see all the adorable lambs in the spring and a few weeks later, they would start disappearing from the landscape) and veal (the way calves are treated and kept in small contained spaces). It makes no sense why I eat chicken (who also can live in deplorable conditions depending on the facility), but won't eat veal. I wear leather products. Are cows lives not of value? I don't like to see FB posts about deer hunting with pictures of the dead prize, but don't mind eating a burger (from cows that were hung in exactly the same way, I just didn't see a picture of it). I have taken my kids to many zoos. Even though most zoos are known for their work in helping endangered species and for research, etc... I am sure if the animals could speak, they would tell you they rather spend 5 years living free than 15 years in a cage. The reality is...zoos exist for our entertainment. If it truly was about helping out the species only, it would be closed to the public. If people are against the game room that you showed in your pictures, than I hope they don't go spend their money in Bass Pro Shops, Texas Roadhouse Restaurants and many other establishments that display animal trophy's. I sure hope they haven't travelled to the Smithsonian's Natural History Museum which is full of dead animals. How do people think the animals got there? I doubt the African Elephant showcased in the middle wandered through the middle of DC and died a natural death at the steps of the museum (I researched that answer.....The male African bush elephant, Loxodonta africana, that is the centerpiece of the rotunda has long been a symbol of the museum. It was unveiled in 1959, and at that time was the world’s largest land mammal on display in a museum. The hide, weighing two tons, was donated to the Smithsonian by the Hungarian big-game hunter Josef J. Fénykövi. Fénykövi tracked the elephant in the Cuando River region of southeastern Angola in November 1955).

    Everyone has their own personal line drawn in the sand about animals in regards to them being killed for food and/or entertainment. So, unless those commenters above are totally vegan, non leather wearing, no zoo trip exploring, no Sea World vacationing, etc...they shouldn't be throwing any stones.

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