Signs Of Spring

It has become like Spring here overnight! Of course it won’t last, but while it’s been nice I have been outside scoping out how things did over winter.

My grapes are looking good. My neighbor helped me to prune them. This is my second year with them, so no grapes until next year, but pruning is required to help train them for when the grapes come.

Some daffodils near the house are about 2 inches up out of the soil. I checked in the woods where I have several batches and they aren’t up yet. The trees are keeping the sun off of them, so they tend to grow and bloom later.

My garden boxes are looking good. I really need to get some seeds started NOW. Hopefully this weekend. I’ll have to put it into my goals, so I will look at it over and over and get it done ūüôā

One of our bee hives fell over and all of the bees died. We still have 1 hive, so all is not lost. My son T,  is 12 is planning on doing Beekeeping for 4H this year.

We have mole trails everywhere. I don’t really care except that L keeps tripping over them, falling down, and crying. She isn’t all that great at getting up from falling, but practice makes perfect.

I will need to paint some of the trim around the house, especially around the double car garage. The winter has caused this to be more noticeable.

I would like to paint the shutters on the house. They have faded terribly over the years. A nice coat of paint wouldn’t be hard and would freshen up the front of the house.

Window boxes need to be filled with flowers, but that will have to wait a couple of months until the weather is in full cooperation. I love filling them with fresh flowers!

Everything is so brown and ugly. But, the sun has been shining and things will green-up quickly.

A huge tree branch fell and hit a wooden bridge that my son J made as a trial bridge for his Eagle Scout project. That needs some work to make it functional again.

There are lots of sticks to pick up because we live in the woods.

It feels good to see the stuff that I enjoy and the jobs that need attention this year.

How about you, is it Spring where you live yet? Are there jobs that you can see needing to be done this year?


We Are On Summer Vacation!!!

Today is our first day of summer vacation.  I have been super busy over the month of May.  But as of today all of our school stresses are over.  Also, Cub scouts are done for the summer.  American Heritage Girls are done for the summer.

While there are a lot of things that I wont have to do like get up for school, quiz the kids on school work, help with school projects etc.¬† there ¬†are some things that are in full swing now.¬† We have to get our 4H projects up and running.¬† We have to have J study for the ACT, look for colleges, find a newer vehicle, apply to colleges, apply for scholarships etc.¬† That will keep him busy all summer, I’m sure.

I am planning on keeping fit.  My friends and I are working on a workout schedule for the summer.  So far we plan to workout at 7 or 8 am,  5x per week.  I am planning on doing Cross-Fit 2x per week, a spinning class 1x per week, a long run on Saturdays, a 3 mile run 1x per week, and sprints 1x per week.  That should help me achieve my goal of running the 5k without stopping by the end of the year.

I am excited to be less scheduled than I have been.¬† The kindergarten year of being at school 3x every day has worn me out!¬† The good news is that I don’t have to do that schedule for 5 years when L is in Kindergarten.¬† In the fall everyone except L will be in school all day.¬† It is good, but a little sad at the same time.¬† This is the first time in 14 years that I won’t be at school during¬†midday to pick up a preschooler, a pre-kindergartener, or a kindergartener.

I’m ready to have some fun, relax, and get some stuff done around this house.¬† I have my garden in and I will include pictures in my next post.

Here’s to a fun summer!




2012 4H Judging And Results

S getting judged on his Cloverbud project for 4H. He did tornadoes.

It is that time of year again, when the kids¬†scramble to put the final touches on their 4H projects.¬† Some do better than others.¬† Some are pretty much ready to go…some still need a kick in the pants to get theirs finished before the “show and tell” that our 4H club does the week before fair.

S pictured above was the most prepared this year.¬† Granted he is a Cloverbud.¬† But he knew from the beginning of the year that he wanted to do tornadoes and he didn’t waver.¬† He did his poster board without complaining and he loved the 2-2 liter bottle tornado that he made.¬† My husband would tell all of the kids to work on their projects and S would dutifully go and swirl the tornado over and over, never tiring of watching the tornado water transferring from one bottle to the other!

J my oldest did Teen on the Road to Financial Success. He got 1st place.

J also did Grill Masters. He got 3rd.

J did a pretty good job of getting ready for the judging for Grill Masters.¬† He grilled a lot this summer.¬† I think he learned a lot about charcoal grilling.¬† It wasn’t always easy.¬† Charcoal can take a while to master.¬† Timing was his biggest issue.¬† He of course got better with each grilling session.

Teens on the Road to Financial Success was good for him.  There was a really thick book to fill out.  The judge commented that they were surprised that the entire book was completed.  I guess a lot of kids get bored with it and never finish the book.  He also had to make a poster to put on display at our fair.  He got 1st place and qualified for State Fair!

T (in the red shirt) getting judged on Collections.

T collected “GoGo’s” little plastic figures that all of his friends trade back and forth.

T did Collections this year.¬†¬† He was one of the last to get his work completed.¬† We were sticking those GoGo’s on 2 days before judging.¬† He really enjoyed going to the judging as adults and kids were asking about his project.¬† He got to feel what it is like to have a good project.¬† I think that good¬†“feeling”¬†will stick with him for some time.¬† He got second place!

R finishing up with the Welding judge. He got 7th in Welding.  He made the black stand in the picture above.  It is a stand to hold a forge that he is working on.

R did Welding and Creative Writing.¬† I didn’t get a picture of him with his paper.¬† It was a short story.¬† He was in the Jr. category because he is under 14.¬† He finished 4th in his category!¬† R had some problems with his welding project.¬† He chose some thin welding material for his stand and then he didn’t practice enough with his “beads” on this material.¬† He burned through the metal on some of the welds on his project.¬† He also had some ugly “beads” from not practicing enough.¬† He was ticked that he got 7th, but my husband and I were surprised that he even placed.¬† He rushed through the entire welding process and doesn’t strive for perfection.¬† He is in a hurry to get it done, without care for how it turns out.¬† These are things to work on for next year!

M getting judged in Creative Writing.

M really enjoyed the Creative Writing category.¬† His paper was just below the 2,000 word limit.¬† He worked diligently at it until it was completed.¬† He thought he did an awesome job.¬† The judge said it was one of the best that she read this year, and…he didn’t place.¬† He was pretty upset.¬† He was in the Sr. category which is 14-18 year-olds.¬† He is 14, so one of the younger in the category which is a disadvantage.¬† We talked with him about how to improve for next year because he said he wants to do it again next year.¬† For example, he didn’t have us proof-read for errors.¬† He didn’t have us read his paper and give suggestions, etc.¬† I¬†think not placing when you think you will is a good, but hard, life lesson.¬† There is competition out there and you have to work really hard to get what you are going after in this world.

M getting judged in Getting Started in Art. He got 5th place!

M also did Getting Started in Art.  He worked on a Pointillism picture.  This is a work that you do all in dots.  Up close it looks like dots, but as you back away it looks like a picture that was colored with colored pencils.  He got 5th place.  He was a little disappointed, but thankful to place after not placing in the Creative Writing category.

A wasn’t old enough for Cloverbuds yet, but she is talking already about what she will do next year!¬† Girls are so different than boys.

Having Fun At 4H

It was a nice Sunday afternoon.  What better way to spend it than by shooting at 4H.  We made an afternoon of it.  The younger kids had a blast while the older ones were in their meeting.  There were only a few regular members there because of a mix-up on the calendar.  It turned into a fun afternoon.

Nothing like Icees along with some candy from the fruit farm store!

Also in the background S has the remnants of a Happy Meal that he earned from finding the iPad that was lost for over a week.

Summer fun!  I love her bruises and dirty knees.  That is the sign of a good start to summer vacation!

S giving archery a try! My husband is with him showing him how to use correct form. My husband is an advisor.

A trying her hand at archery as well.

T at work with the shotgun advisors.

Ready to give it a try. He was using a 20 gauge shotgun.  He shot almost a full box of 20 and he said he hit about 10!  Awesome job!

S giving shotgun a try. He used the 20 gauge as well. He didn’t hit any clay targets, but he said he was close.

A was too small for the shotgun, so she gave archery another try.

4H Guest Speaker-Cool Critters

A holding a Bearded Dragon.¬† That girl isn’t afraid of much!

M with the Bearded Dragon on his shoulder. Is that a partial smile? I can’t believe it!

J with a small snake.¬† I can’t remember what kind it was.

Wow, this is kind of cool!

A with a snake crawling all over her. This can’t be my daughter. I would never do that!

M with the snake.

J picking up a 120 pound tortoise. He was having a little trouble at first.

Now I have it under control. Man is this thing heavy!

Our 4H group had a guest speaker at a recent meeting.¬† They have had this guy come before, but each time it is amazing.¬† He brings different animals in, so each experience is the same, but different if you know what I mean.¬† He always lets the kids be hands-on, which I love, because there is so much out there that they aren’t allowed to touch.¬† I am amazed how my daughter A isn’t afraid to do anything.¬† I don’t ever remember being that brave.¬† J my oldest was amazed that the Cool Critters guy said “yes” to picking up that tortoise.¬† Cool.

I love being in this 4H group!  The kids have learned so much about the projects that they do, but also the field trips and guest speakers make it a great learning experience.

Teaching our Children to Serve

Our 4H group did a community service project recently.

Working on a fleece blanket

Our 4H club made 12 fleece blankets to give to a local area shelter.

We have done this for a couple of years, and it is nice to help.

We should be thankful for all that we have.  Giving some of our time and a little bit of money for supplies helps me to teach our children to care for the less fortunate.

Making Valentines for an area nursing home

Our smaller 4H members made Valentine cards for a local area nursing home.¬† Each of our bigger 4H kids were asked to make at least one card so that they can learn to help others, even when they are “past the arts and crafts stage”.¬†¬†Even the bigger boys did so without complaint!

It is only by the grace of God, that we aren’t the ones in need.¬† Let us always be willing to help those who need it!


We just started 4H for this year.¬† It is great fun for our boys.¬† Here are 2 of my boys doing archery.¬† They shoot at hay bales indoors until the weather warms up.¬† They shoot at the targets for a couple of rounds.¬† Then they move on to balloons.¬† They love the challenge.¬† I watched them for the first time since last year, and I’m impressed.¬† They have both matured since last year.¬† No need to remind them of appropriate¬†behavior, no need to get them to pay attention to their next turn.¬† It was nice.¬† Sometimes in the trenches of motherhood, I feel like I don’t make much progress.¬† Today at 4H I realized that they are improving, they are growing up, and maybe, just maybe, I am doing something right with my mothering.