Wednesday, October 22, 2014

some days off

The boys had off school Thurs and Fri of last week, and after 5 staight weeks of no off days i was glad for the break.  We took Thurs morning to catch up on school work.  I am loving the UMS model of school we're doing this year, but it's very fact paced.  I think it needs to be that way in order to fit it all in, since they don't send kids home with homework and since there's only 2-3 days of at-school teaching per week.

Thurs late morning - early afternoon we went to GAiN to volunteer.  Global Aid Network is 2 miles away and they open their warehouse 2 weeks out of the year to package clothing, seeds, food, school kits, etc that has been collected throughout the year.  They ship these items to many different countries in need.  I love to volunteer there because there's always something for us to do, and it's appropriate for the boys ages.

We then took our last Cherry Crest Farm trip for the season.  We had season tickets this year, and went 4 or so times.  I told the boys next year we're just going once, unless we win the photo contest again!

Mom took the boys thurs afternoon - Friday afternoon, as a birthday gift to me!  My birthday was Friday and it was a beautiful day.  The first several hours were spent making applesauce with Rod.  He took the day off, and we went out to lunch together after the applesauce was done.  Then mom brought the boys home and Rod and I took the boys on a bike ride to the rails/trails.  We then went out to Hoss's and Brad told them it was my birthday so they sang to me and brought me a cupcake.  I'm glad we were in the corner!

Saturday night we had the boys school friends fall party here.  Rod and i were so blessed and amazed by the fabulous families who are a part of the school.  And the connections we finding out about are so fun too.  Rod knew a family with a daughter in the twins class.  I grew up going to church with one of the fathers in the twins class, and a dad from Adam's class knows my dad.  And i went to high school with one of the moms in Adam's class.  We wouldn't have known any of this if we didn't have them over.

Sunday we had another event in the barn, one that we weren't really a part of, but the boys were outside playing with a couple other kids from 2-6:30.  I got a lot done that afternoon!  Piercing Word ministries had their volunteer appreciation luncheon.  The theme was cowboy, so the boys jumped right on board with that.

I had signed up to be the Mystery Reader in Clay's preschool on Monday.  Ben and Brad were home that day and Brad insisted that he wanted to be the mystery reader.  So i let him do it, it was so cute.  The kids were very patient, as he read 'There's a Bird on your Head' to Clay's class.

And now we're back into the routine again.  The end of the markig period is coming up and there's a few projects, quizzes, and such to have done this week.  I survived the 1st marking period, did anyone lose any bets?  :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

the beast

Meet our new-to-us piano!

Lately Ben has been teaching himself songs on Clay's little toy keyboard, and he asks to learn piano.  Just out of curiosity, i got on facebook and asked if anyone has a piano they are looking to pass along.  A friend from high school responded, saying we are welcome to have theirs.  It's a good quality, recently tuned piano.  The owners live in Mountville which was nice too, to have it be so local.  We decided to take it since it was free and the bench was so cute :)  Excited to watch the boys learn to play.  I know they offer lessons at school, during school hours.  We may wait another year to start those.  I want to learn too!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Apple overload

I've heard other people talk about their abundance of apples this year.  We really have a lot on our trees, must be a good year all around for apples.  We have never done a thing to our trees...No spraying or trimming and they still produced like crazy.  Of course they don't look like the ones you buy in the store!  But the ones I've been picking up higher on the trees are pretty nice looking and some are huge. 

I decided to get cider made this year with just a fraction of the apples.  For the cider I picked from our Yellow Delicious trees.  It is so good, I can't stop drinking the stuff!  A friend has a press and we took 8ish bushels of apples and we got 26 gallons from it.  We have lots in the freezer and I gave away 5 gallons before I even got home from picking up the cider!  The boys got to see how it was made and he let Adam help too.  I'm considering taking another load over later this fall.  I also want to make my sauce with our apples this year.  I am excited to put these apples to use.  The ones that fall are bruised and buggy, but there are still plenty of good ones still hanging.  Rod taught me how to use the man-lift, so I can get up pretty high. 
Our cider, minus the 5 gallon that disappeared as a result of running into family before getting home :)
I'm thankful for this idea.  Other years we've left the apples 'go', unsure of what to do with them and where to begin.  It's always a blessing to make full use of the things we've been given/entrusted with.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


I suppose fall is under way, now that the calendar says october.  our month will start with Rod's grandmother's funeral, happening this weekend.  she was a very neat lady who i enjoyed talking to, and hearing stories about.  she was a hard worker, very talented, and loved life.
we have 5 events here scattered throughout this month.  starting Oct. 12 through Oct. 31.  yesterday i feel like i made headway on the condition of the flower beds and garden.  i enjoy decorating for fall, even though fall isn't my favorite time of year.

Ben said something profound to me, the way Ben does.  He said "Mom, did you know some people don't like Fall just because they know Winter is after Fall?  That is so weird."  He was truly puzzled by this.
Yes Ben, who are those strange people??  haha.  I didn't tell him i might be one of them.

Last Friday i called mom and asked what she's doing this weekend.  She responds, Why, are we going to the beach?  I love it, she knew exactly why i was calling!
I had the urge to get it another beach trip before our busy month starts, and with the weather forcast for the weekend, i couldn't resist.  The boys and i had a blast with mom, enjoying the beach, pool, and boardwalk.  The ocean water was so cold, but our pool was heated.  We snagged a motel right along the boardwalk, such a fun experience.  We just went for one night but what a great memory.  Couldn't talk Rod into coming but he enjoyed the quiet and worked on some projects around home. 

just driving their trucks over a buried brad

view from our room

The tide was way out, leaving little ponds for them.

Funny story on the way there.  Clay asks if he can go to the beach when he is 25.  I said 'yes will you take me with you?'  He said No.  I said 'someone needs to take me with them to the beach when they are 25'.  Right away Brad says "ME ME ME!  I call dibs!'  haha, I'm glad he is still innocent enough to think he needs to call dibs on taking me away when he's 25!  I'm writing that one down in the Quotes book :) 

Monday, September 22, 2014

The boys have been working hard in school.  Right now we are trying to improve their reading, memorizing math facts (adam-multiplication b&b- addition), bible memory, etc.  There are plenty of "funny" things that happen along the way.  Adam nailed a Science quiz today after lots of studying definitions of 20+ hard words like Sublimation, condensation, state of matter, mass, etc.  Turns out the whole time he was studying and even after the test he thought it was Social Studies!  And Brad spells his last name wrong  BUT I can already tell the one-on-one they are getting from me is helpful for them.  And like everything else around here, if I can stay on top on things (their assignments, test prep, communication with teachers and so on), it can go smoothly.  They do have to work very hard to get things, which is hard for me to understand sometimes.  Elementary school was easy for me, from what I remember.  God has been very kind, giving me the strength I need for each day.  We start our school days with their Bible assignment which we use as our devotions as well.  We are reading through Genesis. 

Last week on a non school day, Clay and I took his cousin and grandma on a bike ride.  We hit my favorite rails to trails.  It's a new and beautiful trail, overlooking the river.  Many picnic tables and benches along the way.  The boys were very entertaining, they had a great time outriding mom and I. 

Rode to the 3 mile marker, then turned around.  

We saw an eagle fly in on the way back.  So cool!

And Saturday was another 5K, this time benefiting a very local ministry GAiN (global aid network)  The boys said i should have ran to my run, it was only 2 miles from our house!  The conditions were great, cool and dry.  I didn't love the hills but i liked the run.  I ran right past Rod's uncle's farm and chatted with him briefly while going by.  And Rod flew around me the whole time which is why i didn't walk up that one hill.
But the highlight for me was the boys 1 mile fun run.  Adam crushed it.  Granted there weren't many kids in it, maybe 20.  but he was well ahead of the next guy (which happened to be Brad).  I was so happy for him, i think he thought he wouldn't be able to run a whole mile.  This gave him confidence.  I'd like to run a 5K with him next year.
He said "i'm wearing jeans mom"  you go right ahead
Clay beat a 12 year old boy and didn't break a sweat
I didn't catch his official time, but it was 6 minutes and something.  

The boys got to run with their church friends.  Ben just missed placing in the boys catagory.  He was so disappointed.  Run faster next time buddy! 

I got first in my division, female age 30-39.  Yup, i'm hooked on small races now  
church friends
The money raised from the races went toward buying seeds to send to other countries. 
My next run isn't until Thanksgiving Day, the Turkey Bowl benefiting a Christian Camp.  

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Pumpkin field

Sunday after church we took advantage of the pumpkin field in our front yard.  Rod knew our Amish neighbor was going to be picking them the next day, so he decided to do a photo shoot with the boys before they took them away.

The pics don't do this justice.  The pumpkins are so huge, some reaching 200 pounds.  

I like Rod's style of picture taking.  He used walkie talkies to tell the boys where to go, since he was far away in some of the pics.  (the boys are all in this picture)

The Amish even rented bees to help pollinate.  He might not have needed to because our bees are very close to this field, but i'd say it worked!  There were so many.

And Monday they did come and got a couple wagon loads full.  It's still full of pumpkins!  So far he let us pick 4 pumpkins to keep for ourselves.  Hoping he tells us to "glean" soon :)  

Thursday, September 11, 2014

honey harvest

I am glad to say our first year of extracting honey is behind us!  Monday night we took out the frames that we planned on extracting, leaving 2 full boxes for the bees to chow on over the winter.  The bees were very angry with us.  fortunately my full body bee suit did the job and I didn't get stung.  Rod had stingers all over his gloves, 6 of them made their way through the gloves. 

We set those frames in the garage, covered, to be extracted on Tuesday night.  By Tuesday, the bees got the memo that the frames were in the garage and by the time we started the process outside of the garage, thousands of bees were joining us.  It was such a rookie mistake.  I have first year beekeeper written all over me.  But Clay had fun running through the bees declaring he won't ever get stung, and somehow he didn't.  

We decided to do it at night, after the bees go home:
Cleaning out the extra

We did get 2.5 gallons of honey, which for a first year is pretty good.  we would have gotten more if our hive didn't swarm.  But I'm happy with that and I think that'll last us a year, or at least through the winter.  I hope the bees make it through the winter.  The one hive appears healthier then the other so we'll see what happens. 

Happy with our harvest.  Bees are so facsinating, there is much to learn.  I am grateful to have this experience.