Saturday, December 28, 2013

pretty day.....

.....to shew the kids outside so I can be creative in the kitchen!  actually they did help a little.  aren't these the cutest?   they are upside down gingerbread men.  whoever came up w/ this brilliant idea is a genius!   I saw it online and knew I wanted to give it a try.  We'll take them to our Christmas dinner tomorrow.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry Christmas

2 funny videos from Christmas, mom posted the first one from her camera. thank you.  I didn't know Ben knew how to hula hoop.  He has his own style! 
 
video

video

Saturday, December 21, 2013

interesting things of late...

when we left the house this morning our hill was still snow covered.  came home tonight and it's bare, snow is gone!  we sure did a lot of sledding the past couple weeks.  Rod got the toboggan from his old home growing up and we all fit on it and went rather fast!  We found bigger hills nearby to toboggan on.


we are excited to see our greenhouse finally being put together!  It was a long and complicated mess but rod found a source to install it.  it's not done yet, but coming together nicely so far.


never too cold for weeds to grow


Me and Clay visited my grandparents earlier this week.  Clay behaved himself pretty good!  I felt like that was noteworthy.  Grandma and Grandpa are both 92.  (and mom, wasn't it about 92 degrees in there?!)



We had our 2nd annual Christmas carol sing/campfire last night.  The weather was so mild.  The kids went sledding on the hill for hours afterwards.  We had significantly less people this year, think we'll make it earlier in the season next year. 

Today was our first family Christmas gathering, it was a great time.  But the boys are exhausted due to lack of sleep from all the activities.  Add excess sugar and playing outside without enough clothing on, and it'll be a Christmas miracle if they don't get sick!  I do pray that they don't, but I love the memories being made.  Have a blessed Christmas everyone. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

white stuff

I'm thankful I was only sick for one day last Thurs.  I was on the couch the entire day.  and Clay napped for 2.5 hours!  which he hasn't done in over 2 years so I thank God for that unexpected blessing!  In the evening we watched Carrie Underwood Sound of Music.  Friday morning I felt much better.

Our backyard has been sledding city the past few days.  It's not long or real steep but it works for them, and they customize it with jumps and ramps to keep themselves entertained.  Now that it turned icy it moves pretty fast. 



 
 




My way of holding onto summer.  Spinach, lettuce, and onions still thriving under the cold frame. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

sick day

Today, and hopefully only today, is a sick day for mommy.  I cancelled plans and sent myself to the couch.  if not for Clay's clever antics, I might almost enjoy this time of pausing and giving myself a break amongst the busy-ness. 
I won't give details, but it's the stomach kind of sick!  So glad it's something I don't deal with too often. 

Monday, December 2, 2013

Trail Cam & hunting

Rod and the boys have been fox hunting in the evenings, he downloaded chicken squawks on his phone to lure them in and everything.  no luck yet though. 

He decided to put up a trail cam on our property, it's pretty fun to see what all is out there at night when we are sleeping!  We only had this out for a few days and already have some action.  No fox sightings, but some other critters came out. 
Possum:
showing off the tail:

Skunk:

A big guy, i'd like to stay out of his way:

And during the day we have blue jays:


Also tons and tons of cats!  We set food out, so of course they make their appearance quite often. 

It even captured Ben riding bike!

I'm impressed by the quality of pictures it takes.  And you can see at the bottom the date and time the picture was taken.  It's some good entertainment for us who are easily amused. 

Tonight Clay tells me to come to the door out back.  Here's what he saw!
Well we can't have him eating all our cat food, so the whole family goes out and hunts the critter.  It's tough to get him to move away from the house when he's playing dead!  I've never been so up close and personal with a possum before.  What a circus that was, but we got him. 

Brad:
dead possum:
The boys loved this, I think I know what they will be writing about in their journals at school tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

In a nutshell

we had a filled weekend, with many highlights.  Adam's birthday fell on a Friday this year and that was nice.  Friday eve the boys had their last practice/dress rehearsal for a Thanksgiving musical they were involved in.  During the snack time, Rod's aunt handed out birthday cupcakes and they sang to him....  Saturday Rod and I hosted the men/boys from church for breakfast in our barn, followed by a clay pigeon shoot on the runway.  We had 50+ men and boys here from 7:30-2.  It was cold but they had a great time, and my boys each had their turn shooting  (except Clay, of course). 



 
So many guns....all pointing at me.


Adam then had a buddy from school over for a few hours in the afternoon.  I've been trying to get to know this boy and his family, Adam is very attached to him and talks about him constantly.  And while I confess I have concerns about his upbringing, he did clean up after himself, after the birthday snack.  Even put his fork in the dishwasher, on his own!  I was impressed. 


 
an eagles cake was the request this year
 
Sunday was the musical at Landisville church.  "An Attitude of Gratitude".  I appreciated the theme of the musical, sometimes Thanksgiving gets overlooked due to Christmas being right behind it.  They had a lot of fun with the other kids, and were actually sad when it was over.  No more Friday night practices. (or social hour)  Ben and Brad did a little solo in the beginning of the play. 
 The words to their verse:  "We worship you God, of our Father we bless you.  Through life's storm and tempest our Guide you have been.  When troubles 'ore take us, you will not forsake us.  We bless your holy name, to Him praise belongs".  (or something like that!)
 
Sunday lunch we had Grandma and Grandpa here, Adam picked subs as his birthday lunch.  I kissed him immediately after he told me he wanted subs :)  I didn't have to cook!
Sunday late afternoon-eve we went to a Hershey Bears game.  It was the boys first Bears game, they've seen the uncles play hockey games in a rink before so they knew how it was played.  They really got into it and didn't want to leave.  We left a little early and headed to Red Robin for supper.  The employees sang to Adam and gave him a sundae.  A great ending to an enjoyable weekend. 
Nose bleed section. 

"Red robin" was at the game.
 

The boys have off for 6 days over Thanksgiving.  And other then T-giving day at my parents, I told them we're going to do a whole lot of nothing!  Although I am currently working on what I call "mommy's staying sane list".  Where i'm jotting down ideas of things for the boys to do during these 6 days, so I can stay sane.  Since it's going to be so cold they will probably be outside only a couple hours a day and that means they are in the house being little wild men for many hours of the day.  If we don't have a little structure things get out of hand in a hurry :)

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!  Remembering to pause for this holiday, before the commercialism of Christmas sneaks in.  Christmas 'stuff' shouldn't begin until we have Thanksgiving!  Enjoy your weekend.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Birthday Boy


Happy Birthday Adam!  I love celebrating birthdays around here.  Since the other boys birthdays are all in April, I'm always ready to have another birthday boy come November. 

We have a busy weekend the way it is, but w/ birthday stuff on top of that, it's packed full.  Pics to follow, if I survive it all :) 

I love this birthday boy!  It is so fun watching him grow up.  He is a talented and energetic, fun loving, all boy, inventive, go getter.  I think he's got a good year ahead of him. 

By the way he's turning 8.  hahaha.  A friend used this 8 with her son a couple months ago.  It's on the top of the Prince Street garage!  I don't enjoy going into the city, but what I won't do for a photo op.  And there's a huge 7 too, for Ben and Brad in the spring!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

placemat redo

It was time to retire the old placemats again.  So this time, I PRINTED new ones, instead of using up a whole evening trying to draw :) 

Lego men!


With some Godly wisdom!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Freezer meals

I wanted to share how I prepare freezer meals; what works for me.  I know there's a lot out there about setting aside an entire day with friends and just cook and prepare for hours on end and end up with lots of freezer meals to share amongst each other.  While that sounds like fun for the first couple hours, I cannot set aside an entire day for that.  For me, a day like that defeats the purpose of trying to save time, which is why I do freezer meals to begin with! 

We had a full weekend, and I did not cook for 3 whole days over the weekend, but we didn't eat out once.  I went to the freezer meals (and the grandma's houses).  I always have at least 10 meals in there, ready to go.  To keep the freezer stocked I double or triple what i'm making throughout the week, and freeze the extra.  Last week I made a double batch of pasta fagoli one day, and was able to freeze 3 meals of that.  And I made 3 lasagnas another day and froze 2 of them.  So right there are 5 extra meals that I didn't go out of my way to make.  I only make and freeze extra of what I am already planning to make for that day's meal. 

I know some people do not have freezer space, and therefore can't do this method.  But if you have the space, I think you'll enjoy being able to pull meals out of the freezer, if you don't do this already.  I did not start this until after the twins were born.  Then it made good sense :)  I find out more and more how many different meal items freeze well.  This week i'll be making stuffed shells and beef bbq. 

Here's a list of things I've made for the freezer:
- chicken pot pie
- meatballs, cooked or uncooked
- tator tot casserole
- chicken etti
- chicken pie
- other chix dishes: honey mustard, chix parm, bbq chicken, etc
- taco soup
- chicken corn soup
- ham and bean soup
- pasta fagoli
- veggie soup
- enchiladas
- mac and beef cass
- tuna noodle cass
- baked spaghetti
- hamloaf
- meatloaf
- lasagna
- stuffed shells
- spag. sauce
- rice, cooked
- quiche, cooked
- granola
- cooked, cut up chicken
- fried up ground meat
- chili
- scalloped potatoes
- cheesy potatoes
- twice baked pot.
- beef stew
- homemade broth
- mac and cheese
- baked beans
- beef bbq

- ...and on and on.  Really anything other then milk based soups are good to go.  (Mashed potatoes are no good either).  I've never tried tuna or chicken salad (for sandwiches) but i'd like to try and see how that freezes.  Since mayo is not a good ingredient to freeze either, those things might not be a good one to do. 

Of course cookies, muffins, and cakes are good for freezing also.  ours never make it to the freezer!

Hope this is an encouragement to anyone who might want to try storing away meals!  Since I usually make 2 hot meals a day, and am on the go a little more w/ the boys activities and things, I find this so helpful. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

LEAVES!

Friday the boys and I went down to mom's to rake leaves.  There are a ton of oak trees, on the neighbor's property, that drop millons of lovely brown gifts for my parents every year.  The goal was to get the side yard done, but after lunch the boys really got into it and we cleared almost their whole yard and flower beds!

 
several truck beds full of leaves, plus several loads on the mower wagon, were taken way down to the fields. 







Uncle Gerald to the rescue, the spouts were full of 'em. 


What looked like a daunting task, ended up going very smoothly.  Many hands really do make light work!