Monday, March 28, 2011

Horse & Buggy ride

This past week was "horse week" for homeschool. Our amish neighbor was kind enough to humor us and give the boys a short horse & buggy ride today, to show them how the horse listens to instruction and obeys right away. They loved it!

Interesting tidbit: did you know amish don't turn their clocks ahead in the spring? So for over half a year they are on different time then us.

He said i could take pictures, but just in case he was "just saying that", i only took a couple.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Signs of spring....

I think we are all ready, are we not??

The weather hasn't been the grandest recently but it's more tolerable for me, knowing it's going to change soon.

I am so ready to get out in the garden! I picked up a few of the seeds i plan to plant. I want more variety this year, and better layout. Lots of square patches seems to make sense (verses all rows) to save space and cut down on weeds. Carrots, red beets, lettuce, spinach, dill, potatoes i will try this way. Doesn't hurt to experiment and see what works.
Remember that wonderful day last Friday when it hit 70 degrees! I was loving that so much, even the next morning i woke up feeling so good from being outside working and playing the day before. Here we are in the McDonalds grass, eating kiddie cones.
That evening we planted grapes! Seedless Concord, sooo good! I hope to report that in a year the vines will be climbing all over this gate!!
This week the Smoker cousins sent us a happy spring gift. A make your own gingerbread birdhouse. For some reason i agreed to do this with them while making supper and tending to Clay. Will not do that again. Rod and Meg rescued me and it turned out very cute. Thank you guys for the gift!

This morning we hit a few yard sales, indoor ones, but still they were yard sales!

Happy spring to you!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

cakes over the years...

i don't consider myself much of a baker, but i love baking cakes for the boys birthdays.

it all started over 4 years ago when i wanted to do a train cake for adam's 1st bday...

(Rod has done the detail work on almost all these cakes, he does a great job!)

Adam's 2nd birthday cake was made by aunt Pam. Mommy was busy with twins.

Adam's 3rd birthday he specified he wanted "a purple dinosaur with yellow polka-dots!"

The 4th birthday he couldn't decide wether he wanted a shark, a skunk, or a snapping turtle. He finally picked the snapping turtle, which he later said was a sea turtle. (whatever:) 5th birthday, Adam wanted a baseball field. The phillies season just wrapped up and he had baseball on the brain. It was a fun one. For Ben and Brad's 1st Birthday, i took one of their preemie sleepers into the bakery, and asked the lady to make a cake with the sleepers exact size on top. Their 2nd Birthday Rod's mom helped me make them a barn cake. I really wanted to do this one, after seeing it in a magazine. I knew it wasn't going to be easy. Rod said he wanted no parts of this one!!!

(the silo is just a corn syrup bottle, covered w/ icing!)

Rod did the entire cake for their 3rd birthday. I'm talking he baked the cake, made the icing, and designed this bad boy. I was on the couch with much back pain, about to have baby Clay.

Rod gets an ice cream cake roll every year for his birthday. It's his fav and has been a tradition for him growing up.

Looking forward to doing a cake for Clay soon. His favorite toy is the toilet, not sure if i should try for that one or not :)

I don't even like cake, so i'm ok with not getting any for my birthday!

It was fun to look back and reminise over the past 4 years of birthday celebrating. The other night before bed one of the twins, i think brad, thanked God for pictures, (meaning photos) I liked that he thought about how special it is to have pictures to look back on and relive the memories. Without pictures we'd forget so much.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Happy happy

belated birthday to Car Grandma!

Last week we worked on her birthday project. I had the boys draw a picture, sign their name and then got it ironed on an apron. I saw a similar idea online and thought it was too cute.
The boys weren't interested in getting a picture taken!
Clay looks like such a big boy sitting on the stool...
Thanks for all you do for our family, Esther! Blessings to you for another good year!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Go Ben!

Ben's picture is in the latest issue of Thriving Family magazine! I entered it a while ago, i don't even remember when i entered it or what the catagory was for, (apparently for cooking).. Check him out!

I was so much more excited then Ben!

This is a great magazine, by the way, by Focus on the Family. Gives great ideas for parents for each stage of childhood, all the way up to teens; and they also emphasize the importance of a strong marriage.

They even mailed me 5 extra copies of the magazine. They think of everything!

Monday, March 7, 2011


We're back from a nice weekend away....
had a break from the regular routinei have lots of memories at my dad's cabin, i've been coming here since it was built in the 80's. rod is sweet to drive all the way up here, he's not a fan of the 5 hour drive. but there's just something about it up there that i love.

the boys enjoyed fighting over 2nd cousin jenna's attention. she was a hoot!
Group shot: Not proud of the fact that i almost totally cut Rose out! This group was so fun.
It rained most of the weekend and was windy, not ideal for the boys. But sunday was snowy and so beautiful. brad and i went sledding w/ the gang. that was a lot of fun.
Clay was silly as usual. a highlight on the way home, we stopped and visited w/ a friend i graduated with. haven't seen her in over 10 years! she was hardly out of the way at all. she lives in tioga county, about an hour from the cabin. So glad i got to see her. A not so highlight on the way home was driving through snow! It took 5 hours to get to the cabin, with a stop. And 8 hours to get home, with stops.
A great weekend...but relaxing? not really, maybe when the boys are 13, 15, and 18!

Thursday, March 3, 2011


We made some treats this week to take to the cabin.

Brownies and party mix, what more do we need?

Peanut Butter Cheesecake Swirl Brownies:
14 T butter
6 oz. bittersweet choc.
1 c. cocoa powder
2 c. sugar
6 oz. cream cheese, softened
6 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. flour

(For the PB swirl):
8 oz. cream cheese
2/3 c. creamy peanut butter
6 T sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly spray 9x13 baking pan. To make the brownie batter, combine the butter and chocolate in a pan and melt on low heat until it's completely smooth. Remove from heat, whisk in the cocoa powder, sugar, eggs, and cream cheese until smooth and well blended. Mix in the vanilla and salt. Add the flour to the bowl and whisk just until incorporated. Pour the brownie batter into the baking dish.

To make the PB cheesecake portion, combine the cream cheese, pb, and sugar in a bowl and mix w/ electric mixer until smooth. Blend in the egg and vanilla.

Drop spoonfuls of the peanut butter mixture over the brownie batter in the pan, creating a cobblestone appearance. Use a knife or wooden skewer to gently swirl the peanut butter mixture and brownie batter. Bake 25-30 minutes.

Keep refrigerated.

Party Mix!
1 bag bugals
1 box white cheddar cheeze-its
6 oz bag goldfish
3 c. pretzels
2 c. crispix
16 oz. cashews
3/4 c. popcorn oil
1 packette ranch salad dressing mix
1 packette ranch dip mix

Mix together and bake at 250 for 40 minutes. This is a little different then the normal party mix, but very good!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

couldn't sleep.....

i'm partially nocturnal. I can drag all day long, but come evening after the boys are in bed i get this surge of energy, a 'high' knowing that it doesn't matter what i do i'm not going to get interrupted! it's so great and i don't want it to end. so i often can't wind down, like tonight, until midnight or later. i know though, come spring i'll be too exhausted each night from outside work that getting to sleep shouldn't be a problem.

speaking of spring, it's march now! yay! clay often sits at the patio door and looks outside. it's like he's longing to be out there, to explore the yard and pull the cats tails. soon!

rod is so sweet. he knows i don't love winter, as i go through withdrawl of several of my favorite things. baseball being one of them. the morning of valentines day, i get an email from him and in it he says, "the clue to your v-day gift is My Lovely Beauty". it took me all morning but i figured it out. the M, L, and B were capitalized. Rod doesn't capitalize so i knew that was pertinent. combine the capitals and you get MLB. No way, Major League Baseball. Did Rod get me the Baseball channel!?!? Sure enough, for 1 whole month, he got me the baseball channel to get me through the rest of the winter :) Even if they are replaying a homerun derby from the year 2001, it still gets me my baseball fix when needed. They played 2 current phillies spring training games this weekend which was a treat. Rod said the morning he ordered it, he read online the top 10 things NOT to get your wife for Valentines day. Anything sports related was WAY up on the list! what do they know.

Boys are still coughing. But Adam seemed to be feeling pretty good today. He made a comment that made me laugh. This morning he opened up the craft closet door and declares "I'm back to being clever again!!" That's what i was afraid of...let the creative messes continue.

I got 3 little boys with birthdays next month, plus Rods. lots of celebrating to be had. The twins want a school bus cake this year. I found some cute ones online to try and duplicate.

Ok, i shall get to bed down. Goodnight and thanks for reading the ramblings.