Sunday, July 27, 2014


We're just about half way through our first experience with a fresh air child.  Danny is a sweet boy, who loves attention, is happy, outgoing, and pretty cooperative.  He is from the Bronx, so there is that side of him too!  I believe we are fortunate though, I've heard stories of kids who are homesick the whole time or just grumpy.  Danny adjusted immediately and called us mom and dad the night we picked him up!  He can almost tell Ben and Brad apart.  He and Adam buddied up pretty quick.  And Clay is pestering him like little brothers do.  On the way home the night we picked him up, Clay sat next to him in the car and was so excited.  After a while Danny says "I just want some peace and quiet!"  Of course we all started laughing and the poor boy didn't get peace or quiet until bedtime.

The next 4 days will be interesting.  I was spoiled today with having Rod with me the whole day.  I have a couple things planned this week, to break up the days.  He goes home Friday.  As far as I can tell, we'll try to get him again next year.  It'll be interesting to hear the boys take after he leaves. 

He has never prayed before and doesn't have any concept of God.  He enjoyed church and is taking in bible stories.  The boys are teaching him the song  "He's still working on me".

He's 10 days younger than the twins but obviously quite a bit bigger.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Brownie Bowl Sundaes

  1. Follow the directions for your favorite brownie recipe to make the batter.
  2. Spray cups of a muffin tin with cooking spray, and add brownie batter to each cup until they’re about two-thirds full.
  3. Spray the second muffin tin with cooking spray and place on top of the first tin of brownies.
  4. Place in the oven and bake, following your brownie recipe’s directions.
  5. After the bowls are completely cool, add a scoop of ice cream, top with chocolate sauce and sprinkles, and enjoy!

They went over pretty good!

I saw this neat idea online and had to try them!  They were so simple, easy for the kids to help with.  I think we are on a record high of ice cream intake this summer!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

This is what our lane looked like for a couple hours tonight.....

It was so cool, first the Amish just watched the mini bikers, but then they all started interacting together and the boys got off the mini bikes and hung out together.  The boys said they talked about church, how fast mini bikes go, and other boy stuff.

Lately I've been bothered that we are so tied down at home and the shop, that we really can't plan a vacation, and any time we do get away as a family it's a spontaneous 2-nighter that we fit in when there's a slow couple days at the shop.

But God knows just how easily amused I am and He sent me 10 little Amish boys at just the right time.  If we were away we would have missed tonight.  And actually we would have missed a lot of neat things happening here lately, like our swarm or the beautiful rainbows we've been seeing or the neighbors walking back to chat.

So I'm learning to be content with our reality, and enjoying the many gifts and blessings God brings us.  Right here where we are.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Our July weather has been amazing.  Windows are open and the air conditioning hasn't run for days.

Really enjoying the boys this summer.  Especially lately, since we haven't had a lot of extra committments.  Yes they still fight like cats and dogs sometimes, but they've been split up different times which helps them get along better when they are back together.

It looks like we'll be picking up our fresh air kid on Thursday.  It's already been a journey just to get our boy Danny.  We were first lined up with a little Muslim boy.  I was a little nervous about that, as was our local rep.  But i figured you only live once, why not have a Muslim live here for a week.!?   But when i called his dad (protocol is to call a parent and introduce yourself), in his broken English told me that Mohammad doesn't want to come now. I called our lady and she confirmed that he in fact got cold feet and they won't be sending him.  1/2 hour later she called me and said we've been matched up again!  We are excited to have Danny here, 7 years old, 2nd year in the program.  Prayers are welcome, would love for our first experience to be a good one.

I've been canning green beans and tomato juice this week.  I have over 50 quart of green beans so far.  My tomatoes just started.  And today i'll do some red beets.  There nothing like looking at your counter and seeing bright red tomato juice, deep green beans, royal purple red beets, fresh brewed meadow tea, and beautiful blueberries.  So blessed to have such a variety of fresh homegrown produce.

Got the pics off my camera. Here's an array of our 2014 summer memories so far.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Just another Friday night....

We had big plans to sit around the campfire Friday night and eat, relax, watch the boys play, relax some more, etc.

I was getting supper out to the fire, around 5:00 and Rod tells me to come out back, he heard a noise.  I walked over and from the garage door we could hear our bees in the field out back!  We walked back and thousands of them were circling around and around together right around the corn field behind the hives.  Then they gravitated over to the tree and began to swarm.  Oh shucks, that's not what we want!

In short, bees are programmed to swarm (leave their current hive to find a new home), but it's a bee keepers job to make sure that it doesn't happen.  They swarm for a couple different reasons.  One being if another queen hatched within the hive, the old queen leaves and many follow, causing the swarm.  Another reason is if the hive is too crowded the queen again will leave, causing a swarm.  Their ultimate goal when they swarm is to find a new home.  They would leave this tree within a day and find another home.

Well, once you have bees you feel like they belong to you and you're not willing to let them up and leave.  Well that's my take anyway.  So we captured the swarm, and put them into another hive.  You should never put a swarm back into their original hive.

This was so fascinating!  We called a couple people, got some advice and a friend/fellow beekeeper came over for moral support and to provide us with another hive to put our swarm in.

I operated the backhoe and Rod cut down the branch with the bees on.  They were up pretty high.  They are not angry after swarming because they don't have a home and therefore have nothing to protect.  We walked  them over to their new hive, set them down right at the entrance and they eventually all went in on their own.  Rod did scoop some of them in to get them started.

We looked for the queen, and couldn't find her.

And then I walked over to the tree where they were, and saw the remaining bees that were left behind swarmed again.  This time it was a much smaller ball.  Thinking the queen might still be in that ball of bees, we had to go up and cut the new limb down with the bees on.  This time i went up and got them.

After these bees went in, we felt like we had almost all of them into their new home.  And so far, they are happy in there.  The old hive, hopefully has a new queen in it already, or the workers may be "making" a new one.  If they don't, the bees will all eventually leave that hive.  Every hive needs one queen and they know if she's not there.  To make a queen, the worker bees need to feed a female larva a substance they make called royal jelly, this makes the larva bigger and she hatches out as a queen, vs. a worker.

Such a learning experience with this.  Apparently this is a big year for swarming.  Hoping the other hive doesn't do the same thing.  It's very full of bees!

So our chilling out by the campfire started later then expected :)  the boys camped out in the barn overnight and Rod and i hung out at the campfire from 10:00 on.  better late then never.

Monday, July 7, 2014

You'll never believe this but we had another packed weekend!  interesting thing is we only had one thing planned in advance, but you know how that goes.....

Wednesday a friend of ours from church, 46 years old, died unexpectedly and it effected our church family tremendously.  He was an active part of our church and there will be a noticeable hole now.  He and his wife have 5 children, all still at home.  Rod and I personally enjoyed talking farming and gardening with him, and working together on many pig roasts over the years.  He will be missed by many.  Since they were missionaries at different points in their life, there were people traveling here from all over the country.  We are hosting some folks now from OH and IL.   Most of them have been camping outside, which they are having a blast with.  They leave sometime tomorrow.

Today we sent Adam off to camp for the first time!  It was weird to leave him, but he mentioned several times he's excited for a break from his brothers :)  He always has enjoyed playing with kids older then him.  His bros are younger.  So we'll meet in the middle and put him in with kids his own age for a few days!  I think he will do fine.  I was proud of him for jumping right in, he has never been to this camp before.  I'm praying this will impact him in numerous positive ways!  We've been struggling with his behavior and tendencies for a while now and we're really unsure sometimes how to parent him.  The camp has been posting vidoes on facebook, so we get to see him and what he's doing.  His counselor is fabulous.

We certainly broke the 'anti swimming' mode I was in one of the last times I wrote.  We swam three times last week.  It's fun watching the boys swim and now having to drag them out of the pool verses forcing them in.  It's still not Ben's favorite pasttime, but he never did like water.  Some of you remember his screaming fits during bath time, up until 2.5 years old. 

I don't think we are hosting anything big again until October!  At least nothing is planned at the moment.  So I'm hoping a little family vaca will take place soon.  Probably not until next month though, as July seemed to fill up a little.   But for now, I'm enjoying the moments with the boys, and the garden, canning, get togethers, late nights, and sleeping in!  We also signed up to get a fresh air child this month, so if selected that will happen toward the end of the month.  The boys are very excited about that.  Rod says they act like we're going to be borrowing a puppy or something :)  hopefully it's that sweet of an experience!