Monday, January 19, 2015

Winter activities

The farm show has been my winter highlight.  Yup, that's how bad winter is for me :)
We've been going regularly since Clay was born and as the boys get older, there's more for them to learn.  I love the mix of fun and education that is provides for us.  And it's a great break from the norm of our days.  We did our school work tuesday evening and went for the day Wednesday.  We were there 8 hours and still didn't get to the large or small arenas for their shows.  So much to do there.  The boys played the detective game they offer to the kids, and before we left we sat in on a maple syrup tapping demonstration.  very cool.
The past couple years we paid the $2 per person to tour the butterfly house.  So worth it.  We probably don't need to do it every year though.


This is normal and happend to all of us!
The chickens are always a hoot


Mid day milkshakes are a staple


 A lot of time was burned at the tractors and corn bins




I think Clay did this for about 1/2 hour.  

This is an example of a station geared toward kids...It was about bees and pollination.  The velcro balls only stuck on the center of the flowers where the pollen would be.  The ball was a bee.  If the ball stuck, you successfully pollinated.  A cute way to get the point across. 

Same idea with the bean bag toss

This flower was not in the mood to be pollinated

I was talked into this!
Late last week we started going over to our neighbor's pond to skate.  They were gracious and said they didn't mind at all if we came over to do that.  The boys are really taking to it.  On Saturday Rod took us to a bigger "pond hockey" pond nearby.  And he reintroduced the boys to pond hockey.  I think we tried it a couple years ago.  With them holding the stick and concentrating on the puck, it's helping them to become better skaters.  This pond gets used a lot for skating.  They have lights set up and everything.






Clay is a disaster on skates!  Just boots for him for another year or two.  He fell enough the way it was :)

We went back today and there was a thin layer of slush on top..which would cause ruts when it would refreeze so we didn't stay.  we'll try again in a few days.  for the first time ever i'm hoping the temps stay low enough so the pond freezes!  i need something to keep my caged monkeys busy!  

Thursday, January 15, 2015

recipes

I've been wanting to jot down and share these recipes for a while now.  These are both a great and filling wintertime meal.  The first one is very quick to make and has great flavor.  It's also nice to have an all-in-one dish, less clean up.  The second one, sausage and biscuits, takes longer to clean up afterwards then it does to actually eat it, but it's soooo good.  it's nice for something different, as i can get too stuck on the same meals.  if you have leftover gravy you can use it as a soup base, or have it over toast the next morning or lunch.



Chicken, Potato, & Green Bean bake:

3 boneless skinless chicken breast (i used bone-in legs and thighs, you can use whatever)
green beans (again, whatever amount you'd like.  i used a quart)
cut up red skinned potatoes
Itailian dressing seasoning packet
1 stick butter, melted

Arrange the chicken, potatoes and green beans in a large pan, and sprinkle the itailian seasoning packet over top, and drizzle melted butter.  Cover and bake 350 for 1 hour.


Sausage gravy and biscuits:
1 lb ground sausage
4T flour
2 1/4 cups whole milk
1/2 tsp onion salt
salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste

In a large skillet, cook sausage until evenly browned.  Do NOT drain.
Sprinkle with flour, and seasonings.
Stir and cook for 2-4 minutes, browning the flour keep the gravy from tasting like raw flour
Add milk and mix well
Bring to low simmer until it reaches desired thickness.

Biscuits:
2 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
4 T butter
1 cup buttermilk

preheat oven to 450.

In large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Using your fingertips, rub butter into dry ingredients until mixture looks like crumbs.
Make a well in the center and pour in the chilled buttermilk.  Stir just until the dough comes together.  The dough will be very sticky.
Turn dough onto floured surace, dust top with flour and gently fold dough over on itself 5 or 6 times.  Press into a 1" thick round.  Cut out biscuits with a 2" cutter, being sure to push straight down through the dough.  Place biscuits on baking sheet and bake until biscuits are tall and light gold on top, 15-20 minutes.

Makes 1 dozen.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Happy belated New Year

We had a nice Christmas break, it went by very fast, as if i should be surprised by that.  Some highlights were....a visit from cousins from Texas, a visit from family from MT, ice skating, hosting family in our basement, a campfire on a warm late december day, a 3 hour long dinner out with friends, memorable family get togethers, and Rod and I's "movie marathon".  (we watched 4 movies over the holidays which probably doubles how many movies we've seen...ever!)

I scanned over my december posts and had to laugh...those snowflakes i wanted to make with the boys turned into gun and sword creations.  And our 2014 praises and blessings jar, that i wanted to make sentimental and meaningful at the close of last year turned out disastrous as Clay was disruptive, and ended up pooping his pants (moments like those i wish i'd make him wear underwear), and the others were more interested in wrestling then reading and reminiscing.  but i am not giving up! we're doing a 2015 jar, and it can only go better next new year's eve, right?!  I do love the boys ages right now, but they are hard to keep on track sometimes.  Meal time is a circus most days.  Last night we started a rule, they may not talk until their food is gone.  I know in a few years it will be reversed.  All they will want to do is eat and we'll have to beg them to talk.  Well right now it's the opposite and i don't want to disapprove of them talking because like i said, the table is bound to turn, but my lands there's a time and a place!  

We don't have many things going on this month, which is typical for this season.  I like to clean things in here that only get cleaned in January.  Some of it is a little scary.  And I'm still trying to get out and run when i want to.  I do not like to run when it's windy.  But if it's calm and 30 degrees or above, you will probably find me out on my route.  I am hoping to do a 1/2 marathon in July, but won't offically train (or commit) until closer to the time.  Not sure why such a self torturing event is on my bucket list, but might as well go for it.

Other then that, Adam started basektball today for a couple months, just on Saturdays, and we plan to go to the farm show a day this week.  Nothing too blogworthy neccessarily at the moment, but things on the homefront are going so good, so many blessings, so much to be thankful for.  I'm not sure who reads my blog anymore, but i hope you all are having a good start to 2015!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas 2014

Merry Christmas!  This sweet time is shared all over the world, i emailed a friend from Ethiopia, and his country celebrates Christmas 10 days after we do.  Even if people don't know or believe in Jesus, just hearing the songs is all that's needed for the seed to be planted.

Even though the commercialsm part of Christmas gets long and old for me, we have plenty of good memories to tuck away.  For some reason the boys were more excited then ever this year.  They don't believe in Santa, but i think they want to.....they put cookies and notes out for him.  Clay's preschool sent home round peppermint candy, that you are supposed to "plant" outside and on christmas morning, they will sprout into candy canes (a.k.a. someone sneaks out and replaces the seeds with candy canes).  Clay planted them last week and the older boys and i planted the candy canes on Christmas eve, for Clay to discover Christmas morning.  Their fun and innocence won't be around forever, so i want to enjoy these opportunities.

I only had my camera for a couple of our gatherings but that's better than nothing!

The boys loved the Christmas Eve service, the pastor reads the scripture as the characters act out what he reads.  It's all spontaneous, no rehersal or planning ahead.  When you walk in to the church you can pick who you want to be and dress the part.  It's mostly funny but also great for the kids to participate and maybe learn something new.  Several times throughout the reading we'd stop the acting and sing a song pertaining to the place we were at in the text.  We brought our Shofar from home and Brad chose to be Gabriel, blowing the horn several times throughout his parts for entertainment purposes!
Gabriel approaching Mary
Gabriel startled Joseph!  
Calming down poor Joseph

Clay in the barn
Kings come in all sizes :)


Christmas Morning...

This drum set is a hand-me-down that we used for their big gift.  They are having a lot of noisy fun with it

Boxing gloves

Homemade punching bag.  It's strung from the upstairs railing.  A sleeping bag with (2)-15lb weights!

Clay enjoys his weedwacker.  He also has a chain saw with very realistic sounds!  (there was a leaf blower and push mower in the set too, that we'll give him for his birthday)

Some intense BINGO playing happening at the Smoker gathering.  A benefit to having your dinner at an old people's home :)  

Grandma with her 24 great-grand kids.  It's very rare for them all to be together.  We missed Grandpa.
We have this week off of school, a couple get together's, and next week back to a school routine and a new year!  looking forward to 2015.  It's been a blessed year for sure.  New Years eve we will open our "2014 praises and blessings" jar and read all that God has done for us over the past year.  May we never become too busy to stop and reflect on God's goodness to us.  Have a blessed new year.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

eventful weekend

This momma will never forget this past weekend.  The boys did their lip sing quartet performance Friday night, and since it was held at a resort and we happened to have a gift certificate for the place, we stayed Friday afternoon-Saturday noon at the resort.  It worked out so nice to get ready in the motel and come downstairs for the event.  We could even see the banquet area from our room, so we watched as they set up the tables and as people arrived.  I think it helped the boys feel more comfortable being there.
There were 400 guests.  Talk about nerve wracking (for me!)

They made me so proud.  They worked on the song since October, and they made a big effort when their time came.  Clay looked a little lost, but that's because he always goofed off when we practiced at home, i don't think he even knew what he was supposed to do when it came down to it!  But i was so pleased with it and they had fun which was an answer to prayer.  They each got $20 too, which was unnecessary!  but they told us up front they would be getting paid.  Ben said "i'd do that for free".  He's too much.

Eating dessert after their performance



This pic was more for Rod and I's entertainment, a pic of the boys with the MC for the evening, Dick Hoxworth.

Something i wasn't even aware of, was the incredible indoor pool playground they had!  The water temp was perfect and they had the place to themselves parts of the time.





The whole experience was such a blessing and very unique! a wonderful memory for everyone.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

December

I know, the T-giving post is getting old, time to update!

The month started out with my grandfather doing very poorly.  He continued to go downhill and died on Saturday, the 6th.  All of his children (4) were in the room when he died.  Today was his funeral.  He was such a caring man.  Never met anyone kinder then my Grandpa.  But he was 93 and more then ready to be with Jesus.  I now have 2 grandmothers left here, without their husbands.   My aunt took this picture of Grandma holding Grandpa's hand during his last moments.  They were married for 72 years.

This is a picture of me and my brother with Grandpa at his grocery store in Spring Garden, right before he sold the business.  i was somewhere around 9 or 10 i think.  (I know you like my penguin shirt.)

I've been to 4 viewings and/or funerals since July!  2 were expected deaths, old age and ready to go.  2 were not.  They all represented loss and sadness for their loved ones.  It's hard enough to accept it as Christians, knowing they are in a better place.  I can't imagine having to cope WITHOUT that hope and knowledge of Jesus.  I feel for people who grieve death of loved ones without that hope.  It makes me want to be more bold in sharing my faith.

And life keeps going on.  The boys are gearing up for their quartet performance on Friday.  I am just ready to have it over!  I think they are prepared as they are going to be.  I cannot control how they will respond with being up on stage with 400 sets of eyes watching them, but i pray they can somehow have a peace and confidence in what they are there to do, and can do it as well as they do it here!

Today the boys and i took groceries to the nearby food bank to donate.  This is our 6th year of doing this and it's my favorite Christmas tradition with the boys.  We give them to the same lady in charge every year and she's so sweet and makes them feel like a million bucks for this act of service.  She always sends us a follow up letter and it makes them feel so good.  And the candy cane they get in return is a highlight for them too :)  It's also a chance to patronize our local country market where we get the groceries.  They each grab a basket and fill it up with canned goods, cereals, and other staples.

The boys have been working on a Frosty puzzle this month and finished it today!  It was 550 pieces and thankfully, they were all there.  The puzzle was given to us used, so i wasn't sure if all the pieces would be there.  Rod helped with the border, other then that, it was their project.

We'd like to try making these snowflakes...just need to get some popcicle sticks.  They can paint them once finished, i thought they looked cute and i *think* they can pull it off.  

Mommy had some fun with Christmas lights this year.  By 'fun' i mean my fingers froze multiple times and i had to go inside to thaw them out.  I do like the finished product though. 

I tell people with me homeschooing part-time AND sending them to school part-time i have the busyness of both worlds.  Obviously homeschooling is busy but so is carpooling, field trips, meetings, etc that an at-campus school brings.  This time of year is proving to be full.  But it's also a priveledge to have my guys home more, and to also enjoy the Christmas functions that their school offers.  Friday, we get to see the Nutcracker at the Fulton Opera house for a field trip.  I am looking forward to that.

We will certainly miss this family!  They've been staying with us for the past 5ish weeks and are heading back to Guatemela where they serve as directors at an orphanage with over 50 kids.  They are making a big difference in each of their lives.  Really love what they are doing down there. 



A blessed Christmas season to you!!