Sunday, November 23, 2014

birthday weekend

hi everyone!  i had my first cold of the season this week, which left me kinda out of it for a few days but i am so glad noone else has gotten it!  it was a strange mix of a very sore throat, cough, and headache.  i was praying Adam wouldn't get it on his birthday!  He had a great weekend, a cousin sleepover, eating out, and a surprise banner.  Even though we can't figure him out sometimes, there is so much we appreciate about this guy and it's really not the same without him around!  He's very inventive and comes up with all the good (and not so good) ideas.  It's been special training w/ him for his 5K.  Tonight we ran to grandma's house to get his birthday present.  (some incentive there)  He only walked twice, there are some big hills over that 2+ mile stretch.  Proud of him!

Earlier in the week i made these cupcakes for his class at school, and for the cousins on saturday.

Saturday night at a special buffet!  Clay likes kiwi, don't mind him.
Banner signed by many of his favorites..

Happy 9th to Adam!  So thankful for you!

Thursday, November 13, 2014


Yesterday mid-morning we were doing school, Adam and a church friend were out in the kitchen doing math.  The twins and I in the toy room doing another subject.  Clay was....somewhere, who knows.  Then, we hear Adam "An Eagle!"  and then Brad "I see it!!"  Us adults were still like "are you sure?"  We went outside and Yes an Eagle, flying above and heading to our orchard.  We watched for awhile and marveled at how that never happened before!

After lunch we saw him again, in the field behind our house, just sitting there.  i zoomed in and grabbed a picture.  The boys used our binoculars.  

I told the boys if he's still up there after we get our schoolwork done, we'll go on a walk and try to sneak up on him, and get more pictures.

3 excited boys can't sneak up on anything, i found out.  But we did get closer and got some pictures and found out there were 2 eagles!!  They flew above us for awhile and seemed to just want to be where they were, not flying far away.

Then we walked over to where the eagle had been sitting earlier and found a dead deer.  Apparently that brought him in.  This was such a treat from the Lord, to allow us to see these amazing birds, right from our own home on a day when the boys were here.  So thankful we could experience it together and they could witness first hand God's work of art.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Home today!?

Today was the first day I've been home ALL DAY in, like, Forever! (saturday) It was nice to have nowhere to go!

Early this morning our missionary friends came back to the states for a month long furlough.  They are staying down in our apartment.  It's a family of 5 so we had to get creative!  i was a little concerned about the setup being 'cheesy' but they seem very appreciative of the space, so praise God for that!

Adam and I are training for his first 5K in a couple weeks!  The race is on Thanksgiving morning.  I am enjoying the time running with him.  We add a little more distance each time we run.  We are up to 2.5 miles and the boy doesn't get out of breath.  I'm a little bit speechless about that.

The boys are also practicing for a "gig" they have coming up.  They are participating in an annual Christmas musical with the New Holland Band, held at Willow Valley.  They've been asked to do the "surprise music" where they will be a barber shop quartet, lip singing "santa clause is coming to town".  I''m a little speechless about this too.  It's a fast moving song with a lot of motions and words.  400 people attend this event so there's some motivation to make sure Clay knows a little about what he should be doing.  He's going to be the Bass singer, of course.

Another new thing the boys are doing is Tae Kwon Do, they started a couple weeks ago and have class 2 times a week.  They really like it.  Their coach Mr Luie is really good.  Rod and i get a little desperate in the colder months to find them places to put their energy into!  We agreed on trying this and it's been fun for them.

A highlight for us this week was taking our homeschool day on Wednesday and heading down to mom's to rake leaves.  It was a warm day (for November).  half of the boys got big truck and tractor rides too.  We worked on their school work the night before, on the way to moms, and the next day.  I like having the flexibility in my days.

And it looks like the rest of this year will be like this....lots going on, but all things we look forward to and enjoy.  We have 2 events here in November, smaller then the norm, and one inside.  And Adam has a birthday in 2 weeks!  Then December is filling up with a school program, field trip, family gatherings, the quartet singing, our Anniversary, etc.

I will leave you with a recipe for my favorite way to use pumpkin......cookies!  try these...and don't skimp on the caramel icing.

Pumpkin cookies:
Beat:  1 cup butter & 1 cup sugar
Add:  1 egg, 1 cup pumpkin, 1 tsp vanilla, 2 cups flour
          1 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1/2 tsp           salt, 1 tsp. cinnamon

Bake 350 for 15 minutes

Caramel Frosting: (enough for a double batch)
1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
2 cups 10x sugar

melt butter and br. sugar on low heat stirring constantly, boil 2 minutes
add milk and heat just to boiling again
remove from heat and stir in 10x.  ice cookies.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Pretty walk

Tuesday after school i took the boys down the road to Lake Grubb.  It was so beautiful, at it's peak right now with the changing leaves.  The leaves were steadily falling down from the tall trees, and if the boys were quiet enough you could hear that it sounded like rain.   I feel like i'm noticing the beauty of fall so much more this year.  I bet it's because i spend much more time driving the boys around!  The beauty is everywhere.

My favorite leaf

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.