Sunday, June 29, 2014

A Little Thing

We have wanted a grill for quite some time. The one we had died a long time ago and it knew it was still going to be a long time until a grill got to the top of our buying list. So on May 27, on a whim, I texted Dad that if he ever happened upon a grill we would love to have one.

Sure enough...last week he found one that was bigger and better than his own. He kept the one he found and delivered his grill to us!
Jeremy and his Dad got us a tank of propane and we had chicken, pineapple and green pepper kabobs for dinner. Yay for keeping the kitchen cool in the summer!

Friday, June 27, 2014

VBS Program

Another year of Vacation Bible School is complete. Tonight was the program. (These are videos. Click or touch the arrow in the middle of the screen to play.) Anna attended VBS, but she was not interested in standing up and singing.

Josiah's class: I was so proud of Josiah. This is the first time he got up in front of a group to perform. Every other time he has dissolved into tears at the mention of being in front of a group. As you'll see he was quite comfortable and did an awesome job! Aliza told him that she clapped as hard as she could for him and had tears in her eyes because she was so proud of him.

Aliza's class. Aliza did awesome too. She told us that the boy beside her told her she was singing too loud and Aliza told him that she was just doing what the teacher told her to do. =)

And, finally, the whole VBS sang a song. You'll see Aliza and Josiah.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Family Dinner Book Club--July

I can't remember how I came across this blog, but Growing Book by Book hosts a Family Dinner Book Club each month. They suggest a book and then half way through the month they post conversation questions, menu ideas and free printable table decorations. So none of this was my original idea, but it was super fun to tailor to my family and everyone really enjoyed it.

This month's book was Cook-A-Doodle-Doo!
Aliza, Josiah and Anna had fun preparing the table decorations. Place cards and straw toppers.

The menu was a farmhouse dinner. Pulled pork, corn on the cob, baked beans, and potato wedges (thanks, Laurie!). Of course there was a strawberry shortcake for dessert. The recipe for the strawberry shortcake was taken from the book.
Everyone is excited to find out what next month's book will be.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Garden Update

For those who are curious, here's a quick garden update.

Swimming pool #1: Carrots are growing. Broccoli was eaten by caterpillars. My Dad warned me this was going to happen. Chives aren't really doing anything. Flowers in the back are doing well.
Swimming pool #2: Cucumbers in front now have flowers are are about to put out vines. Watermelons in back are looking good.
Zucchini: Several flowers are both plants
Apple trees from seeds: looks like they are growing!
Gutters: I gave up on the lettuce and spinach. I don't think I did a good job planting the seeds. I planted petunias instead. I must add more dirt in the gutters.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A Weekend of Play

Our weekend involved lots of car time so I had the bright idea to acquire Adventure in Odyssey tapes from a consignment facebook group. We met the lady on our way to PA Friday morning and Jeremy proceeded to put a tape in our car's cassette player. He quickly found out that at least one child thought the tape player was a coin slot. There was more than a dollar worth of coins in there. Ultimately, the coins won and we ended up without tape, radio or CD player working. But, you know what? The children did great. There was plenty of chatter and lots of watching the ipad GPS counting down miles and possibly counting down my tenths of miles towards the end, but it was a great trip.

We ate lunch in the car and then met some friends of ours from Oregon at a park in Lancaster. They were here for a wedding. Josiah was just a baby when we saw them last and their children are so grown. In fact they have a daughter who is 11 and she modeled being a good friend to Aliza. She was just being herself. When they arrived she greeted Aliza and a few minutes later asked Aliza to tell her about the book Aliza was reading. Marie and Aliza went to the end of the picnic table and spent a long time talking. We spent about 2 hours with them and then we headed on to my aunt and uncles house. Aliza, Josiah and Anna took a LONG nap in the car after we left Lancaster.

I don't know how to sum up our weekend with Dan and Laurie. We just lived life together for a weekend. Saturday started cold and cloudy. My family slept in...until after 9!! We played games.
My cousins and their families spent the weekend with us too. Katelyn, Aliza, Josiah, and Anna played and played and played together. They spent all afternoon on Saturday outside together. I actually started missing my kiddos. They were just happy. There were no squabbles and they just didn't need me very much.

There was body painting.
There were 4 wheeler rides.

Anna wouldn't ride with Daddy...or Mommy...but she would ride with Katelyn! Anna LOVED Katelyn. So far we have prayed for Katelyn and her Mommy and Daddy every night--at Anna's request.
Jeremy and I should have rode the trail a couple more times. We were having a nice conversation. =)  The guys got in a round of golf. It sounded like they had a really good time together.
I got to meet my cousin's baby. He's 8 weeks and was just plain cute. Jeremy took some pictures for them. Made me ready for my baby!  Somehow I didn't manage to take any pictures of my own of Levi.

And, of course, when we visit Dan and Laurie the children expect to play in the stream. The water was pretty much freezing cold, but that didn't stop these guys.
The little waterfalls were a big hit to play in. Thankfully, Dan doesn't seem to mind icy water so he got to supervise the water play.

I'm pretty sure this is her tired face. ;) I had decided that I wasn't going to put Anna down for naps this weekend and this spunky girl kept up with the big kids...all day long. Granted she slept in LATE every morning.
Aliza, Josiah and Anna each got to help serve an evening snack. That was a big deal! They took that job seriously and each remembered the night that was theirs to help.
Monday morning the children, especially Anna, were not ready to leave. We left with good memories and relationships reconnected. I packed lunch again and we made exactly two stops for the bathroom on our 6 hour drive home. We left a little after 10am and got home at 5pm.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Outdoor Day

When I learned that there was an outdoor discovery center only a few miles from our house, I decided that attending their Outdoor Day was a must. Considering that EVERYTHING was free, I didn't see how we could go wrong. Jeremy was playing in a golf tournament and Jeff was riding bike so Janell and I loaded up our children and headed out.

It took us a while to figure out how the event was working and at first it looked like the day was going to be a dud. There were free t-shirts for adults and children so we went to that table first hoping to find someone "in charge" who could give us directions. At that point the children did not want shirts and we didn't find a knowledgeable person. So we headed into the lodge. There were exhibits from local outdoor venues including the zoo. When Aliza saw a hawk (she was positive it was a turkey buzzard) she wanted nothing to do with the building and we still didn't find anyone who knew what was going on.

The next obvious thing to do was fishing in the pond. The boy scouts were there to help. All the children wanted to fish. Thankfully Janell and I remembered how to cast and we were pretty much able to keep the children busy fishing.
There was no catching. Josiah, though, he was determined that he was going to fish until he caught a fish! The girls were ready to eat. They had hotdogs, chips, drinks and s'mores for lunch. I finally got Josiah to give up fishing for a bag of chips and soda.
I finally found someone knowledgeable about the event and we took the hayride taxi to the first station--archery. NOW the children were having fun and Janell and I were pretty well sold on the event. There was a man to help every child. They talked about safety rules and instructed the child on how to stand and hold the bow etc.
This guy was really great with Josiah.
Next stop--BB gun shooting. The Air Rifle Club sponsored this station. There was one volunteer per 2 children. They gave brief instructions. Aliza and Josiah were almost too young to do this, but they enjoyed the experience.
Josiah actually hit the target paper on 4 out of 5 shots. He was so incredibly excited and determined. I think he's ready for some Uncle Brian coaching.
Our last stop was the farm pond. SU brought kayaks and students to help. I felt much better when one guy student (who very much reminded my children of Uncle Joel) promised to personally swim out and rescue any child if they kayak tipped over. Then he said he could actually walk out...the water was very shallow. Janell ended up taking 2 trips with children and Josiah loved it so much and wanted to go out again with me. (Getting out of a kayak being pregnant was not very flattering. lol)
By this time it was 2pm and the event was closing and we had exhausted children and Mommys! (We have told our husbands that we would very much enjoy their company next year!) Aliza and Josiah made me promise that we could go again next year.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Monumental Decision

At 34 years of age, I've decided to be forever content with the pale white skin that God gave me. We went to the beach yesterday and I thought it would be nice to get "a little color." I wasn't planning for the color to the shade of pink one would find in a sweet juicy watermelon! I am in pain and pretty much miserable and highly annoyed with myself. Because, you see, I had sunscreen in my bag. It's not as bad as the sunburn I had when I was 18 and feel asleep on the beach of the Indian Ocean in Kenya--I had blisters then. Clearly, I couldn't make such a wise decision as this when I was 18, but now, almost 18 years later, I can!! I pretty much plan on being the Queen of Sunscreen forevermore.

Friday, June 6, 2014


One of the things that I'm beginning to intentionally teach my children this summer is work ethic. This means we take on projects that take time and effort and provide little entertainment in the process. The beauty is when they don't realize it takes time and effort and they enjoy the process.

Our gardens are on of those projects. The children are eager to water the plants every day that it doesn't rain.

Picking peas was another teaching project. The same farm that we pick strawberries from has u-pick peas. We picked 6+ pounds of peas this week and another bucket of strawberries to eat. The peas were plentiful and mature so picking was pretty easy and they stuck with it without complaining.

That afternoon we sat on the porch and shelled peas. We took a break for a walk and bike ride, but all 3 of the children helped me shell peas until we finished.

There was constant conversation while we shelled. I listened. The biggest topic of conversation was Amazing Race. We've started watching a race from 2013 and Aliza and Josiah are totally hooked. Each team was analyzed. The countries they've raced in so far were discussed. (I have since acquired a World Atlas so that we can track the race course on the map.) And then Aliza decided that we should each make up a challenge and what country it would take place in.

Later the conversation changed. Aliza and Josiah gave every argument they could think of for why they should be allowed to own a tablet/ipad. They were willing to empty their savings accounts...I would be the best Mommy in the world forever....I would get 2 hugs every day from Josiah...they would ask before they bought any app or game. It went on and on. And the answer was always NO and it still is and will be for a very long time. I was kindof worn out when I was finally able to end that conversation.

Regardless, we ended up with a nice big bowl of peas! And I had happy workers. Mission accomplished!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Doll Making

Aliza pulled out the book titled "365 Things to Do and Make" and I knew I was doomed. That book makes me twitch. Aliza has marked various projects and she set her sights on this cloth doll. I wasn't really surprised seeing as how we are reading the Little House on the Prairie series and she read another pioneer book at the end of the school year.

I would have given myself the Mom of the Day award except that I had a horrible attitude about the whole thing. Aliza begged and pleaded and hounded me until I relented and did it. I'll be the first to tell you though it was a team effort with Jeremy. I can sew and Jeremy can draw. I cannot all.

Jeremy drew the doll pattern on a tshirt. I cut it out...
...and stitched around it.
Then I stuffed it with the only thing I had for stuffing--cotton balls. As many as I could stuff in there!
(Then we made Aliza wait until the next day.) Jeremy drew the pattern for the dress. I cut it out...and sewed around it. I did not hem the neck, arms or bottom. I guess I'm just not a perfectionist like that and the material was not fraying.
I put it on the doll and tied a ribbon around the waist.
I called it perfection. Aliza wanted a face and hair. I told her she had to wait a week before she drew a face that she would regret on the doll. And I had no idea how I was going to attach yarn hair to that head. Anyway, I like it just the way it is and for 3 days now Aliza has carried that doll (named Caroline) with her everywhere.

Now I don't regret making it and hopefully Aliza won't remember that I had a bad attitude!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Joy Dare::May

My heart may have stopped for a moment this evening, but Jeremy saved me. I managed to delete my 1000 gifts app. Thankfully God saw fit to give me a computer geek husband to save me from myself.

1398. My children all comfortable in the pool. They learned so much from Uncle Jeff while I was in Texas.
1399. Shopping for gardening supplies and Chrissy to help me.
1400. Josiah so excited about a garden
1401. Buying seeds
1402. A project and the children are old enough to help and be helpful
1403. A good kind of I-used-my-muscles tired
1404. A weekend with Joel and Brandi
1405. Actually listened to a whole sermon
1406. Colton Dixon and Mandisa concert
1407. Aliza was so nervous about the concert but she ended up having a great time
1408. French toast breakfast made by my mother-in-law
1409. The children got special treatment at Chick-fil-A on our way home--free ice cream cones, paper hats and stickers
1410. Keenly aware that this place that I'm in in life is special
1411. Found the missing jazz dance shoe
1412. The children played together very well this morning, giving me some time to work alone which was much needed after a night of interrupted sleep
1413. Trusting
1414. Bible study and dance finished for the summer
1415. Started a small scrapbook for Laura's wedding
1416. When I had nothing nice to say--keeping my mouth shut
1417. Extra time with my littlest nephew
1418. Celebrating Renee's birthday. Josiah was so pleased with his blow up sword party favor
1419. Planting more seeds
1420. Mother's Day gift basket
1421. Warm days
1422. Azalea blooms
1423. Sitting with Aliza so she could watch the whole dance dress rehearsal
1424. My videos of Aliza's dances turned out well
1425. Aliza loved dancing in her dance recital
1426. Visited with my aunt and uncle
1427. Enjoyed breakfast in bed
1428. I can still scoop up my children and hold them when they get hurt
1429. Lunchables for bedtime snack were a good investment today
1430. Riding bikes all hot and sweaty
1431. School outside
1432. Daddy daughter moments
1433. Lots of happy outside play
1434. Anticipating tomorrow
1435. Graduation
1436. Eardrops
1437. Celebrating the accomplishment of a school year finished with Mom and Dad/Grandma and Grandad
1438. Easy Board of Education review
1439. Aliza with us on the Garden Tour
1440. Beautiful weather to sit outside
1441. Watching Josiah practice and practice dribbling
1442. Big potty training step for Anna
1443. My mother-in-law's thoughtfulness in celebrating me as a teacher
1444. Joel getting some adorable pictures with his new camera
1445. Made it home
1446. Gatorade
1447. Children playing so well together that I can rest
1448. Homemade get well cards
1449. Feeling better
1450. Go Fish game on a sick day
1451. Stopping the negative conversation in my mind
1452. Giving Anna my full attention
1453. Aliza and Josiah enjoying summer freedom
1454. Playing-outside-dirty-feet
1455. Peas straight from the pod
1456. Baby's heartbeat
1457. A good weekend mix of work and rest
1458. Fresh strawberries
1459. Strawberries to snack on--all day
1460. I took Anna grocery shopping with me and she told me how much she loved doing things with me
1461. Gave my Bible to Aliza so she could read along during the sermon
1462. Jam made and berries frozen
1463. Jeremy fixed Josiah's Gator
1464. Aliza recounted in detail this week's sermon for Great Gramma
1465. First beach trip of the summer
1466. Putting away all the schoolwork
1467. Recognizing that I need some space
1468. Crossing projects off my list
1469. Boxes that hold papers that children want to save are no longer overflowing
1470. Took a walk on a rainy day
1471. Smelling honeysuckle as we walk
1472. Seeing the sun come out after a couple cloudy days
1473. Staying up extra late because Josiah wants me to help him read his Lego City library book
1474. Jeremy and I make a great team
1475. A gorgeous spring day