Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Last post

I'll make this my official last post on this blog.  I've been posting projects, pictures, thoughts, and recipes since 2008.  I'm glad to have this to look back on and show the kids some day.  It served a nice purpose for me, especially when the kids were little to do this when they were sleeping.  Doing something for me, even though I usually wrote about them!  But now i'm too busy keeping after their schedules to write about it :)  Maybe i'll pick this back up another time, but for this season i'm done with blogging.  Mom, check shutterfly for pictures. 
We're anticipating the end of the school year.  Summer will be full with normal summer fun- camping: basketball camp, Camp Hebron, church camping, beach:  Myrtle beach, Ocean city, NJ.  we have baseball games to attend:  Uncle Michael's team, our church team, Barnstormers and phillies (tomorrow night).  On the home front we're raising lots of birds right now, which keeps us busy.  We have new chickens for laying, plus 25 meat chicks, 4 turkeys, 3 ducks, and a couple guineas.  The goats are great, baby is really growing, and another mamma is pregnant.  The garden is growing nicely and continues to be my therapy work.  I was in there a couple hours last night as the boys played, popping in on me and pulling a weed here and there.  The greenhouse is really producing right now as well.  Cucs, lettuce, basil, and tomatoes on the way.  Our local country store has been selling our extras for us. 
The boys are growing up at ages 10, 9, 9, and 6.  I'm enjoying this season but waiting (im)patiently for them to get along better.  They are all taking music lessons, enjoying their mini bikes, nerf guns, water fights, campfires, and basketball.  They are very active, sometimes I can keep up, sometimes I don't even try.  We've been enjoying family kickball or wiffle ball games in the evenings...3 v 3.   The twins will be getting a reading tutor this summer, and we'll designate Wednesdays for homeschool and music lessons.  As a family we hope to memorize Psalm 1 this summer. 
Thanks for following us.  I'll end with some pictures of our last couple months...

The baby goatlet

The duck trio
Mother's day with my babies
First guitar lesson
Sight & Sound for Daddy's birthday
Mother's day at school
Cousins at grandma's
Ramsey's first swim
 Adam's first lesson
Have a blessed summer !  Signing off from Lancaster, PA.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016


3 kids birthdays in 4 days, makes our lives exciting!  We had a joined family party and a joined friends party this year.  Ben was very sick on his actual birthday, with a high fever and nausea.  But the festivities weren't on his birthday so he wasn't ripped off too bad.  He did start to get sick at the end of the family party. 

B & B picked the basketball theme.  Age 9 for the twins...Clay - 6.
Grandpa bought a huge Easter bunny, and wanted to do a 'piñata' of sorts at the party.  It was so funny.  The kids each had a chance to pound away a chunk of chocolate for themselves. 

Sunday after church they had friends over.  The guitar cake is in honor of Clay, who is just a hair obsessed with electric guitars.
We had a big crew, but were able to play a group game for a little while!

My favorite picture!  This was totally not staged.  I was walking behind them at the park, and suddenly they look at each other and do the arm thing.  Admit it, this is the sweetest thing you've ever seen.
Clay woke up to some snow on his birthday, pretty sure that was a first. 
Lego Fest came to Harrisburg Farm Show complex.  Back in October I bought tickets for it, since it was on Clay's birthday.  But let's be honest, I would have gotten tickets anyway.  The boys love their legos.
It was pretty full with kids, mostly boys, and I was wondering how I'd survive 4.5 hours but it was well run, organized and spaced out nicely, making it tolerable for parents!  They had a great time. 
Bridge building contest.  How much weight can the bridge hold?
With Daddy's help, they made the record for the weekend with 70 pounds!
McQueen, all Lego-fied
Making a shield
Laying down in a pile of legos is very satisfying...
I know I can't freeze time, but if I could pick an age to freeze, it would be right now.  I love their ages.  They are independent, but also still need and want me.  I know time will just continue to fly!  Which is ok, as long as i'm enjoying and taking in the 'now'.  I'm challenged with that at times, as it's easy to look forward to the next thing and missing out on what's there right now.   

Monday, March 28, 2016

Hello again

I've gone so long without posting, that I wasn't sure i'd even bother again!  But I do like to look back on this and the grandmas don't have facebook, so......  :)

The boys had a nice 10-day Easter break.  I wasn't thrilled with it being that long, knowing that it means they get out later in the summer.  But it went by very fast and we enjoyed the break from school - and it gave us a chance to catch up on some school projects that we were getting behind on.  I was glad for this time with them with less structure then usual.  Tomorrow they all go back to school and i'm ok with that too! 

On break we went to the Baltimore Aquarium.  I've been curious about the place, heard great things, and it didn't disappoint!  Ocean life is amazing.  It was cheaper for us to buy the year pass then day passes, so we'll be going again.

Sharks were a hit

I guess our big highlight around here is the birth of our baby goatie (kid, to be technical, but goatie is more fun).  She was born on Easter Sunday, yesterday.  What a little sweetie.  Pinky, momma, is doing so well.  She's not even a year old yet herself.  We missed the birth, but are so thankful for a safe delivery and our Billy left the baby alone.  He was in the cage with them during the birth. 
She's 2 lb. 4 oz....so little, yet everything is there.  I think her toenails even need clipped.
So far more people have visited this baby, then any of my babies that I've birthed :)  and I totally understand!  There's something about a 2 lb goatie.
Now I wait 2 weeks until I can start milking her. 
The boys and I did some special Easter activities each day during Holy Week, such as making an Easter Tree, foot washing, scripture reading, other 'visuals', and attended our church's Good Friday service.  I love seeing the growth in their knowledge and understanding of what his death/resurrection means. 

March is almost over - and that brings on our birthday month!  4 of the 6 of us have birthdays in April.  I don't get too caught up in "where does the time go?" and  "my babies are growing up", but it's hard to believe my baby will be 6 in a couple weeks!

The boys start basketball this week at our rec center.  A perk of having the boys so close in age...they can all do the same sport, at the same time!   The boys are so active and boy-ish right now.  I know that's a good thing!  I just can't believe them some days.  It's like they never get tired. To me that's quite a phenomenon. 

Speaking of...I'm tired and still have a few things to do.  Thanks for reading.  Feel free to check in, I do plan to keep writing. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Some projects

Greetings on this snowy day! 
I woke up this morning, looked out the window and couldn't even see our barn, with the snow and fog.  So I went back to bed.  The boys and I slept in and took our time in the morning, assuming no school.  Around 8:30 I decided I better check just to make sure they were closed.  But no, everything was on time!  Oh, boys!  let's eat breakfast, you have school today :)  It's called the Gingrich 2-hour delay.   Now that i'm home I discover I need to pick them up at 12:30 for their early dismissal.  Oh well, the day counts.  All 3 hours of it. 

Instead of moping around this winter, wishing for spring like I normally do, I decided to work on a few fun projects indoors.  It's hard for me to get motivated this time of year, but it feels good to have things going. 

I haven't crocheted for a couple years, I am starting a blanket.  It's super soft.  And will take forever to finish, if I do happen to finish it!  It might end up being a scarf. 

Growing mushrooms in the bedroom....on purpose!  Our room is cool and dark, perfect for growing these puppies.  So exciting to watch the progress.  I bought a 5 lb. bag of sawdust spawn and mixed it in with straw.  3 weeks later, this is what it looks like.  This is an Oyster mushroom.

Our beef roasts aren't the greatest, very tough meat.  So I either can the meat or make jerky out of it.  This is a batch of homemade beef jerky.  I know it look like a pile of poo, but it's so good.  Seasoned with soy sauce, Worcestershire, red pepper flakes, onion powder, etc.  It makes for a great snack.  I do it in our dehydrator, but the oven works well too.  The key is to slice the meat very thin, to give it that crispiness.  It works best to cut it when it's still mostly frozen.

I love doing Valentines with the boys.  They have small class sizes which is sooo nice, I get on pinterest and pick out ones that I find doable, then let them pick.  A couple of these they did last year.  The "bombs" are new, and so fun. 

My mom is the best book picker-outer.  She gave the boys these books for Christmas and we're reading through them together this winter.  We're ready to start the Ben Carson Story. 

I'm also reading a few devotionals.  The one in the middle is a study Rod and I are doing with another couple who asked us to mentor them (humbling!)  So far, really enjoying this workbook, by Joel Comisky.  A friend gave me the book on the right. 
Started up some seeds last week in soil.  Sunflowers, cabbage, swiss chard, and I can't remember what else.  

We've kept lettuce going all winter in the greenhouse, using the hydroponics.  The latest planting I added basil, tomatoes, cucumbers, kale in addition to the lettuce. 

This was a fun project.  I went back over pictures from our house over the last 10 years and put them in a photobook.  It was neat to see the changes, projects and events that has taken place here.  God has been so good and gracious to us!  It was a good reminder of his protection and faithfulness. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

snow, etc.

It was a doozy!

2+ feet of snow hit our area last weekend, along with wind and drifting.  Our church was cancelled for the first time in the 14 years I've been going there!

Saturday night Rod took the boys out snowmobiling on the roads - you couldn't go in the fields without getting stuck - they loved saying that they were on the 30 bypass on snowmobile.  Now, over a week later it's melted down to a reasonable amount and snow and they can snowmobile in fields and yards. 

It took the goats awhile to warm up to this stuff.  The dog loved it at first snowflake

Supposing it'll melt this week with upper 40's - 50's in the forecast.  sounds good to me! 

The boys were so ready to get back to school.  We had to do 4 consecutive school days at home.  Which, to a homeschool mom is nothing.  But to this part-time home school mom of 4 stir-crazy boys, it was torture.  In fact, the one day I said forget homeschool, we're going bowling!  Thankfully, this week is back to normal and we can all have that healthy space from each other. 

Over the weekend Brad was chosen as one of the Lancaster Newspaper Contest winners.  All area elementary schools can participate in either a writing or drawing contest.  Brad designed an ad for Stauffer's of Kissel Hill.  Almost 2,000 students participated in one way or another, (either writing or drawing) and Brad was one of about 30 selected!  It was exciting for him.  He got a $20 cash prize, a $20 gift card to Stauffer's, and will be in the newspaper on March 9th.  Thank you daddy for your creative input into the project!

This month, February, is a little more active then usual.  I'm hoping that means it'll go by quicker :)  A trip to MA, sleepovers for the boys, hockey game, school parties, and church things are on the agenda.  Hoping the boys stay healthy.  It's often this time of year where their bodies realize they aren't getting their vitamin D!  I don't know, does that even make them sick?  Who knows.  But we're thankful for an overall good winter.  Just some sore throats and low-grade fever here and there. 

I'll leave you with a recipe our family enjoys.  Sweet and Sour chicken, just like the Chinese restaurants serve....without the MSG!  I'm sure you can substitute honey for the sugar, but hey, we do sugar. 

Sweet & Sour chicken
3-4 boneless chicken breasts
salt & pepper
1 cup cornstarch
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup oil

sweet & sour sauce:
3/4 cup sugar
4 T ketchup
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 T soy sauce
1 tsp. garlic salt

Preheat over to 325.  Cut the chicken into cubes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Dip chicken into the cornstarch to coat, then dip into the eggs.  Heat your 1/4 cup oil in a large skillet and cook the chicken until browned but not cooked through.  Place chicken in a 9x13 greased baking dish.  Mix all of your sweet and sour sauce ingredients in a bowl with a whisk and then pour evenly over the chicken.  Bake for one hour and during the baking process turn chicken every 15 minutes.  

*I don't need to bake it that long, just keep an eye on it.
*serve with rice
*it's delicious, enjoy!