Tuesday, September 21, 2010

My Robin Hood

I don't know if you can see it very clearly but the other night Dave had a Robin Hood moment. He was sighting in his bow for the upcoming deer season and sent one arrow through the first arrow. I know he was a ways away from it, I just don't know how far. I will up date the post when I know, he is unavailable to comment at the moment (out of cellphone range).

*** 20 yards***
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Monday, September 20, 2010

A little competition

I don't know if you have heard of Foodbuzz or not, but I am a featured publisher with their site.  Actually, it is not this blog, but my baking/cooking blog, Gracie B's Bakehouse.  If you haven't visited Foodbuzz before, you should take some time and check it out!  Right now they are having a little competition, Project Food Blog, they are looking for the next food blog star and as a featured publisher I was eligible to enter, which I did.  I needed a little challenge because I have not been consistent lately in keeping up my blogs.  I am actually not expecting too much, because I have a little blog with a few followers but I would love to make it to the next round of competition.  So, if you wouldn't mind, hop on over to Gracie B's and click on the box that says "Project Food Blog" Official Contestant and vote for my entry.  Thanks so much and wouldn't be fun if I was one of the 400 contestants that moved on to the next round?  Thank you again and feel free to share this with your friends.  Oh, and if you are curious. . . my most popular post on Gracie B's is the one on my grandma's caramel rolls.  YUM!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Take me back to the Black Hills . . .

Call me a geek, but I love the movie Calamity Jane with Doris Day and whenever I go to the Black Hills of South Dakota I must sing "Take me back to the Black Hills, the Black Hills of Dakota.  To the beautiful Indian country that I love . . ."

And I do love the Black Hills.  I have so many happy memories of that place and I am very glad that I finally got to share this place with my family.  A few weekends ago we ended up in the Black Hills for a mini vacation.  Hammy has always wanted to see "the Faces" and of course visit Reptile Gardens.  We were also able to throw in some go-carts, bumper boats, miniature golf and Homecoming dress shopping.  And for good measure we threw in a flat tire.  I am not sure what my favorite part of the trip was, but I loved spending the long weekend with our family, even though it had to have been the hottest weekend of the summer. I also forgot, the kids were able to kayak and paddle-boat at the camp we stayed at.  We packed a whole lot into three days and had a ball.

We started out with a tour of the Badlands of South Dakota, which were amazing, but I am still partial to the Badlands of North Dakota for whatever reason.

If you know me, you know what this sign did to my heart-rate.  I am not sure if I saw much of the view after I saw this sign, my eyes were on the ground determined to not have another run in with a rattler!

This is Tank, the Tortoise.  He was the 'young' one at Reptile Gardens at the youthful age of 70.

The reason we went.  Gators, Crocs, & Snakes! Oh, my!!!!

I know they are hard to view, but I think if you click on it you should be able to see better.  We finished our trip with a stop in Deadwood, which by the way, is not so much history and mostly casino, casino, casino.  They did have a place with go-karts and that was all the kids needed.  We also visited Mt. Rushmore and had a great trek on their walking path.  I learned quite a bit, that I did not know about this historic site.  Great memories were had by all, if you haven't visited the Black Hills before, you should.

Oh, and if you can't see it very well, take a closer look at the purple flowers . . . that is a hummingbird moth.  What an amazing creature, I had never seen one before.  Amazing!!! God is so creative!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Pure bliss . . . turning 7

Someone I know loves his birthday . . . .
I bet you can't guess who that could be . . .
Hammy turned seven the end of July. He was a very happy boy. He is a happy boy. He spent his summer catching dragonflies, butterflies, frogs, toads, crayfish, minnows, tadpoles . . . you know the typical boy things. He loves life, just not showers!!!! Happy belated Birthday, big boy.
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A sister for Grace

It has been way too long since I sat down to write just about anything, for that I apologize. Much has gone on in our lives since my last post. I may just end up giving you snippets of what we have been up to periodically while I try and keep up to date from now on.

The biggest change in our lives is a sister for Grace. She has been pleading with me for the last three to four years of her nine-year-old life for a sister, she is so tired of being the only girl around. Well, her wish has been granted in the form of our foreign exchange student, Leandra. She is from Switzerland.

We picked her up at the airport two weeks ago and since that time, she has become a vital part of our family. We have enjoyed getting to know her and her sense of humor fits right in with this family. We have had many laughs and lots of fun in this time before school starts. It will be interesting to see what school is like with a teenager in the home. Our lives are going to change, of that I am sure, and I know that we wouldn't change anything about our decision to host this year.

To be honest, we were not planning to host this year due to the size of our home and the age of the kids but in looking for applications to show future host families I fell in love with Leandra's application. Dave agreed to give it a try and we have not regretted our decision. She has been a joy to get to know via email since March and now that she has joined us in the middle of nowhere we know that she will forever be a part of our family, even when she goes home.

I am sure I will be sharing many of our adventures with Leandra this next year. Have you ever considered hosting an exchange student? I encourage you to at least consider it. Please contact me if you have any questions about hosting.
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Thursday, April 8, 2010

My Favorite People

They are growing up so fast.
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Friday, April 2, 2010

A Full House

I love that my house is full. Granted, it is not a large house, so it does not take much to feel full. That is part of its charm, the smallness, the coziness, so much of why I am content with my home. The kids have had several random days off lately and we seem to have multiple friends over on those days. I am so thankful that our home is one that children feel comfortable in. It doesn't matter what they do: LEGOs, Barbies, forts, movies, games, pretend, or maybe even getting to play outside, they are happy here. Maybe I will feed them mac and cheese (homemade) or maybe it will just be a snack of snickerdoodles or crackers, they are content to be in our home. And for that I am thankful.

Monday, March 29, 2010

A Birthday and an experiment

This past February, was a busy month around here. Lots of birthdays and a science fair were just a few of the things going on. Chewey turned 11. We had a great time with family and friends. I didn't take a picture of the cake because it, well, it melted. At least, the middle layer did and it was very funny looking. After everyone got a piece I put the rest in a trifle bowl and I learned a valuable lesson. Martha Stewart, I am not!!!
He also had to work on a science fair project. He chose to do one on the subject of 'can you tell what something is just by touching it.' He discovered that he was wrong and people CAN tell what something is just by touching it. Some people can even tell you the color because they are so familiar with certain things. His guinea pigs were from various age groups, as young as six to older than 50.
He earned a superior on his efforts. We are so proud of him!
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Last night as I was tucking Grace into bed, Matt popped in the door and informed me that they needed nicknames. Okay. So without further ado, please meet Chewey. He was given that name many moons ago by his uncle. Short for Matt-chew, I guess!!
This is Songbird. She loves to sing . . . all the time . . . loudly. She even writes her own songs. It won't be too long and she and Dad will be creating songs together.
Hammy is his name. He picked it out some time ago, named after his favorite character in Over the Hedge. It fits him though. He is a ham! He could also be named Romeo, as one of his teachers calls him, he has at least two girls on each arm daily as they go to class. He is a charmer. He takes after his father!

Now that my children have been given nicknames, I will use them from now on (if I remember, I was never good at the nickname thing) as I write about the adventures they have.
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Thursday, March 11, 2010

A great opportunity

WASABI!!!! A few months ago, I applied to be a representative for EF Foundation for Foreign Study. I began this new adventure the first weekend of January. I am thoroughly excited to be a part of this company. At the same time I began working for them we took in an exchange student for the month of January while his host mom was overseas. He is from Thailand. He quickly became a part of our family and we were sad when the month was up and he returned to his host home. Thankfully, he does come and hang out with us occasionally. The kids loved the chance to have a big brother for a short time. Dave and Matt took him pheasant hunting one of the first weekends with us. I should clarify, he went along for the experience but did not actually carry a gun or hunt.
The family also went ice fishing. It was the first time Prem walked on 'water.' Another great experience for everyone. It was also the first time our kids were ice fishing. Dave has been meaning to do this for quite some time, but Prem provided the extra incentive to make it happen. Everyone had a ball and we had perch for supper that night!!

We have learned so much from having him in our home and I believe he has learned a few things from us, maybe...

Dave did teach him a little bit about playing guitar. We showed him how to make mashed potatoes, his favorite American food. He taught Gracie Chinese and some Thai. Matt & Aaron loved to play the Wii with Prem. They also enjoyed sledding. He shared with us about his life and we shared our lives with him. We are better people for knowing Prem. Recently he and another exchange student spent the day cooking Thai with me and we served several couples that they had invited over. I am posting about this event on my cooking/baking blog, so check it out. He also shared with us the mind-numbing taste of wasabi! One of the first weeks he was with us, he asked us if we had ever tried wasabi, which of course we hadn't. Prem shared with us the ability wasabi has to numb your brain for 30 seconds, kinda like brain freeze. I found some powdered green stuff at our local grocery store and proceeded to make it for him for our next meal. I must not have made it potent enough for him, but the next time I made it very strong. I must tell you, I didn't plan it that way. Prem scared us half to death when he took a spoonful of it thinking it was weak like the last batch. He could barely get out the word wasabi for us to understand that he was not choking like we thought. When he could speak again, he had us all laughing ... "Now, that's wasabi!!"

If you love to have people in your home or if you have a desire to travel the world, please consider hosting a foreign exchange student. EF Foundation works with over 30 countries, including Thailand, Italy, Spain, Germany, Australia, Japan, Norway, Chile, just to name a few. Also, a bonus in my eyes is that the company has been around since 1979. What a great opportunity to impact a young person's life, as well as, your family, your school, and your community!

***Please note that I am a representative for the company, EF Foundation for Foreign Study, but I do not receive monetary compensation for referring families.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Grace's Room

As you can see, Grace's room is still a work in progress as well. We need to find some wall sconces that will work above her bed. These are not easy to come by.
Grace loves to organize and clean her room. She has created a space for everything. Her dresser set was mine when I was a girl and my mom's as well. Grace loves color. This room reflects her love for life! We will post again when it is complete. She couldn't wait for me to share it with you!
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The Boys' Room

Matt's bed. He painted the bottom picture.
Aaron's bed. He loves his stuffed animals and putting everything he owns on top of his dresser.
As you can tell from several of these pictures, we are not done yet. We need to finish up the trim, the people who started finishing off the attic did not take the sheet rock all the way down to the floor. So, you can tell where Dave worked and what was done before we moved in.
There was/is no space for overhead lighting so we have made do with plenty of Dollar General lights and some hanging lights a friend made for us. I painted a hand-me-down table red and the boys have a stool my grandpa made many years ago. They use the table for puzzles and Legos. Since I took these pictures they asked their dad to finish their closet area so they can move all of the storage containers out of their room. Most days they take quite a bit of pride in their space and have been bugging me to share it with you. so, here it is. I hope to post again when it is actually finished!!
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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Lost in Translation

Something was lost in translation during kindergarten this past week. Martin Luther King, Jr. was discussed at some point as was Rosa Parks, at least that is what I gathered after I put some thought into a conversation with my youngest the other morning. I warn you it is humorous, but also an unpleasant thought, so please proceed with caution and understand that this is according to a six year old who may need to get his hearing checked. The following is his explanation of what he heard.

"Mom, we learned about a black man in the park, we weren't allowed to go outside. And then there was this woman who took off her clothes on the bus and had to go to jail."

Should we be concerned?