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Happy Belated Easter

We had a fabulous weekend.  My parents were here, and on Saturday we colored eggs, we chatted, we took a tour around our house and checked all of the plants coming up this spring.  We ate and ate and ate, it was wonderful.   On Sunday morning we did church and then the kids found their Easter baskets, we had an egg hunt (with $ in the eggs), and we had our feast at 1pm.  It  was a very busy, but wonderful day.  Sometimes it works out like this, and other times it doesn’t.  I’m really glad this was an up year, it seems as if they have been mediocre lately.

Here are some photos of our weekend.

L's first time coloring eggs.  She loved it!

L’s first time coloring eggs. She loved it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

T is getting too big to color a lot of eggs, but he did dip a couple :)

T is getting too big to color a lot of eggs, but he did dip a couple 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

S with his favorite egg.

S with his favorite egg.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A with her favorite colored egg.

A with her favorite colored egg.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

L with her colored hands.  I just love the green and yellow hands !

L with her colored hands. I just love the green and yellow hands !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Me and my husband on Easter Sunday.

My husband and me on Easter Sunday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Me, my mom, and the girls.

Me, my mom, and the girls.

A and L easter 2014

Easter Day with 2 beautiful girls.

kids sharing candy

The kids enjoying some Easter candy after finding their baskets.

marg easter 2014

My mother-in-law enjoying a cup of coffee after dinner.

leo easter 2014

My father-in-law eating Easter dinner.

 

I hope you all had a glorious Easter, we did!

Been Busy…With Pictures

Sorry I’ve been gone, but with my husband gone last week, I’ve been a little lot busy!  While he was gone wasn’t too bad, but as soon as he hit the door we have been running!  Here is some of the stuff that has been going on in the last few weeks.

A my 7-year-old daughter had her father/daughter dance with AHG.  Here is a picture of them.

2014 AHG dance

 

All of the pictures had the sun in their eyes, so some my husband was smiling, but A, had her eyes closed.   This was the best that I got at home.  They had a great time.  A ate too many sweets and had an upset stomach for some time during the dance.  I need to remind her to limit her sweets next year!

Also, we had 2 birthdays recently.  My husband turned 47!  How can I be married to someone who is 47?  Crazy!

tonys 47th b-day

Right after my husband’s birthday is my son R’s birthday.  He turned 15.  Wow!

R's 15th birthday with T in the background.

R’s 15th birthday with T in the background.

We have been outside when the weather is cooperating.  L loves being outside.  It should be  a fun summer!

L loving being outside.

L loving being outside.

We got three chicks from a teacher at school.  They are cute!  L loved looking at them.  When my husband took one out of the brooder to show her, she wanted to grab them.  She about ripped the head off of one.  We did want to get a picture of her with the chicks, but she was grabbing at the chicks and we were worried about their safety.  Here she is distressed because she really wanted to hold a chick.

L crying because we wouldn't let her hold the chick.  She about killed it 10 seconds before this picture was taken.

L crying because we wouldn’t let her hold the chick. She about killed it 10 seconds before this picture was taken.

J, our oldest, and a senior in high school was named Salutatorian of his senior class.  We are very excited and proud of his accomplishments!  He should qualify for some additional scholarships because of this achievement.

J was named Salutatorian of his senior class!

J was named Salutatorian of his senior class!

I just love this picture of L eating a muffin, so I had to add it!

 

L eating a muffin.

L eating a muffin.

We had the chess tournament which was a Friday night and Saturday all day.  The boys held up great.  They didn’t do as well as they hoped, but now they realize that they need to keep practicing so that they improve for next year.

 

 

T and S after finishing up the chess tournament.

T and S after finishing up the chess tournament.

S and A had to dress up as their favorite fictional character for a school assignment.  S read Charlotte’s Web and went as Wilbur the pig.  A read all of the Fancy Nancy books that our local library had and then dressed up like her.

S as Wilbur the pig for fictional character day

S as Wilbur the pig for fictional character day

A dressed as Fancy Nancy

A dressed as Fancy Nancy.

Here is M being nice and pushing the girls on the swings.  L just loves him.  She calls out his name a million times a day and I have to remind her that he is in school.  He just signed up for PSEO, so he will be taking 2 college classes next year.  He will only be a junior in high school next year, so by the end of his senior year, he will have about a semester of college credits completed!

M being a nice big brother and pushing his sisters on the swings.

M being a nice big brother and pushing his sisters on the swings.

R has been working on his forge.  We recently were able to acquire coal which has really opened up his options as compared to the charcoal which he has been using.  It burns much hotter than the charcoal did.

R working on his forge.

R working on his forge.

Anyway, that is some of the things that we have been up to.  How about you, what have you been up to?

Ann

 

 

 

 

 

Making Kids More Independent

My husband and I have been changing the responsibilities of our children.  He thinks I am too easy on them.  I do what I have pretty much always done.  I cook, I clean, I do laundry, I grocery shop.  I do all of the mom stuff.  Since I don’t work outside of the home, I feel like it is my job to keep things looking good around the house.

My husband feels entirely differently.  He feels that our big boys 17, 16, almost 15, and 12 are very capable of doing chores etc. around the house.

I know that they are capable.  I know that they can do chores and they have several that they are each responsible for taking care of.  They don’t always do the job to my expectations, of course, they are kids.  We are working on it.  My husband thinks that they grow more and more capable by making them step up and handle more responsibilities.  He is right.  I know down deep that these kids have to be able to take care of their laundry, be able to cook, and clean a dorm room or apartment, etc.

The hard thing for me is letting go of the stuff that I have always done.  I always did the cooking.  Now one child does the cooking each night.

I’ve always done the laundry.  Now the kids are taking turns.  They must wash, dry, fold, and have each child put their things away.

I’ve always cleaned the kitchen and started the dishwasher.  Now the children do it.

It is a big relief to me mentally to know that I am teaching my kids how to manage on their own, but who is with me that it is hard to follow through with it.  It is hard to see them running low on clean laundry (they don’t seem to mind), it is hard to stand there in the kitchen pointing out all of the stuff that needs to be cleaned up after dinner and not do it yourself.  It is hard to see them struggle with something that I could do quickly and easily.

I have to keep my eye on the big picture.  They will be moving on soon enough.  I have to prepare them to the best of my ability to be successful with all things.  Boys need to know these skills.

How about you, did you prepare your kids to be out in the real world?  What are the critical skills that they should know?

Ann

Planting Grapes

I have been wanting to add some fruit trees or bushes to our garden area for some time.  At the same time, I’m kind of scared to do it.  Trees are fairly permanent and I really have no design for how I would like things to be.  I am more of a fly by the seat of my pants gardener.  I want a lot of different stuff, but it all takes time and money.  I don’t always have the time or desire to work after I have hastily purchased the crop.  For example, for many years I bought all of the garden stuff–miracle grow, compost, bamboo stakes, etc. only to be gung-ho in the beginning and then it is a huge mess of weeds by the end of the growing season.  I am trying to mend my ways.

This year I finally purchased the grapes that I have been wanting off and on for years.  They were on clearance from Lowe’s for $3 for a gallon container.  I am super excited.  I have been reading about growing grapes in our area.  I purchased a soil analyzer.  Our pH is 7.  I never knew that before.  Grapes here like it at 6 to 6.5.  Thankfully, not too much of a difference.  I just found out our neighbor has grapes that have done well, so that is encouraging.

I enlisted the big kids to help me get going.  They dug the holes for the plants.  They drove the fence posts into the ground and A actually put the plants into the ground.  She is such a plant lover.  She notices every flower we pass.  She loves being in the garden.  She is all about the details.  For example, I had the kids dig down one foot.  We placed some soil acidifier in at the 12 inch mark, then replaced about 6 inches of soil to let the roots get started. As we replaced the dirt, A sprinkled the rest of the soil acidifier around the grape bundle.  We did this same process on all 3 plants.  She watched each boy (the 3 older each did one complete plant).  She made sure they had all of the steps done in order.  She corrected them if they went out-of-order or didn’t do everything exactly correctly.  They get annoyed with her, but she pays attention and knows what to do and when to do it.

Here are some pictures.

Concord Grapes bought on clearance for $3 each.

Concord Grapes bought on clearance for $3 each.

Digging the holes.

Digging the holes.

Making sure the holes were dug 12 inches deep.

Making sure the holes were dug 12 inches deep.

Sprinkling soil acidifier in the soil.

Sprinkling soil acidifier in the soil.

A explaining the process to J.

A explaining the process to J.

After planting, but before we had them up on the  wire.

After planting, but before we had them up on the wire.

Grapes on the stakes.

Grapes on the stakes.

Grapes strapped to the wire.

Grapes strapped to the wire.

Been Gone Too Long

I am back for a post or two until the kids get out of school.  I should have more time for posting during summer vacation.  Let’s hope so, I miss blogging!

Where to start… I have been super busy with the kids.

  • A went to her first father/daughter dance.  She absolutely loved it.
  • A jumped off of the low diving board,
  • M is still working on his Eagle Scout project.
  • J went to prom.
  • My husband went to California for a week.
  • 4H is in full swing and J is our club president!
  • AHG is winding down now, just the awards banquet left!
  • L is rolling over now.
  • My husband is helping me with household updates.
  • T had his school musical.
  • J turned 17.
  • The kids went roller skating with our 4H group.

We have also had a couple of neighbor dogs that keep going after my chickens.  Killed 2 roosters in the first attack and killed 4 hens on the second attack.  I am still very angry about it.

We bought 2 turkeys, 3 guineas, 3 Bantams, and 7 miscellaneous pullets to  replace our dead chickens and build our dwindling number of chickens.

Here are some pictures of what’s been going on around here.

A jumping off of the low diving board.

A jumping off of the low diving board.

A going to father/daughter dance with my husband.

A going to father/daughter dance with my husband.

J's 17th birthday.

J’s 17th birthday.

R skating

R roller skating.

T and A in school musical.

T and A in school musical.

A cute picture of Stevie and me.

A cute picture of  S and me.

My husband putting up blinds.

My husband putting up blinds.

L rolling onto stomach.

L rolling onto stomach.  She is a drooling machine.

M working on a computer.

M working on a computer.

I hope to be back soon!

Easter Weekend

We had a wonderful visit from my parents for Easter weekend.  Saturday was absolutely gorgeous.  I am beginning to think that Spring really is coming to our neck of the woods.  With the forecast for rain on Sunday, we had an Easter egg hunt on Saturday.  The smaller three had a bunch of eggs hidden around the yard that have different amounts of change in them.  The bigger three have one bigger egg that has a $10 bill inside.  No one seems to be too big to find an egg with 10 bucks inside!  It was fun.  The kids all end up with $10 and they love doing this every year with my parents!

The $10 egg!

J with the $10 egg!

The three little kids helped me make Easter Nests on Friday.  I got the recipe from Food.com and got the ingredients beforehand.  They liked making them and they were festive.  Here is a picture of how they turned out.

A plate of Easter nests.

A plate of Easter nests.

Here are a few pictures from the weekend.  Fun was had by all.  It was great to see my parents and have a wonderful Easter celebration!

Easter egg hunt.

Easter egg hunt.

Mom and L.  Look at that chubby leg!

Mom and L. Look at that chubby leg!

Dad and L.

Dad and L.

R with his Easter basket.

R with his Easter basket.

L in her Easter dress.

L in her Easter dress.

T was sick vomiting overnight, so he didn't have much energy for the egg hunt.

T was sick vomiting overnight, so he didn’t have much energy for the egg hunt.

S coloring eggs.

S coloring eggs.

M with his basket.

M with his basket.

Too much Easter candy!  We are so blessed to have a wonderful family.

Too much Easter candy! We are so blessed to have a wonderful family.

Super Busy

No, I haven’t ditched the blog, although I admit I do think about it at times.  I have been super busy as a mom of 7 probably should be.

The baby seems to be going through a growth spurt and I can’t put her down.  She wants to nurse all of the time and I can’t seem to put her down without her waking right back up…not a happy mom here with that.  I hope it is short-lived as I have so much to do and even more that I want to do.

I have been thinking about my goals and I am doing okay with them except the food waste and the canning.  The food waste had a bad week as we went up to see my parents.  We weren’t home to eat up the leftovers and also, lent began which really changed our eating patterns.  We are back on a regular schedule now and have adjusted to lent, so hopefully it will be good again.

I did use my pressure canner to cook 20# of bone in legs and thighs that I got for $0.39 per pound.

I have been doing pretty well following the menu plan and when I fell off the wagon I just whipped something that I had on hand.

I am finding that I really do like cooking and baking.  I have also found that I enjoy being in the kitchen much more if I have a plan and a mission that I am trying to accomplish.  I am learning that I can make delicious meals on a budget!  My kids have done pretty well with trying all of my creations and I have to say that they have all turned out pretty well.

J is doing mathletes in school.  It is a math competition.  He is doing very well in school and is thinking of majoring in Biomedical Engineering.  He is very busy with school and just signed up for the ACT.  Where has the time gone?

M is doing his science fair project.  He has transitioned very well to high school.  He is a great student.

R is almost Star rank in Boy Scouts.  He just turned in his 5 page research paper and is working on his science fair project.

T is just learning this year about research papers and is going through it step by step with his class.  T crossed over from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts and went on his first campout this weekend.  He will be getting back shortly.  I can’t wait to see if he enjoyed it.

S is learning multiplication.  He loves math.  He has been missing T, but after a fun day out with A it helped the time to go a little faster.  He is an awesome reader and a great student.

A is reading up a storm.  She loves Garfield.  She can’t read all of the words of course, but with the pictures, she gets the gist of the cartoon.

L is growing like a weed.  She is in 6 month clothes.  She is pretty happy when she isn’t grumpy…if you know what I mean.  She travels well, which is wonderful when you are in the car as much as we are.  She has discovered her hands and is starting to reach out for the toys on her play mat above her.

I am in a very busy time right now, but I really enjoy blogging.  I hope with Spring coming shortly, that I will have some fun stuff to blog about.  I will try to focus on the goals I set and stay with the plan!

Busy, Busy, Busy

It has been a busy week!  We have had some sort of kid activity each day this week.  Monday there was the Cub Scout Christmas party and J’s drum lesson.   Tuesday, was Boy Scouts plus J had his band concert for school.  Wednesday we had the American Heritage Girls Christmas party for my daughter, A.  Thursday we had the Christmas band performance for R and T.  Today R and T are doing a field trip for MRDD that I will attend so that I can see the performance as my husband went last night.

I am soooo ready for the weekend!  I need a little down time.

R performing at the MRDD concert.

R performing at the MRDD concert.

T with a "Santa" belly performing at the MRDD concert.

T with a “Santa” belly performing at the MRDD concert.

L slept through most of the concert.

L slept through most of the concert.

A loves all kinds of concerts.

A loves all kinds of concerts.

Reading to A before bedtime.  Our new routine is that A holds L during her story.

Reading to A before bedtime. Our new routine is that A holds L during her story.

S in his school Christmas program.  He is holding the heart.

S in his school Christmas program. He is holding the heart.

S freezing at the Cub Scouts Christmas party.

S freezing at the Cub Scouts Christmas party.

A at her American Heritage Girls Christmas party.

A at her American Heritage Girls Christmas party.

Only 4 school days until Christmas vacation!!!  Have a great weekend!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m feeling a little more energized, my kids…not so much!

I am feeling a little better.  I have been getting to bed earlier (because of my husband making me) and I believe it has made a slight difference in my energy levels throughout the day.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not ready for the Olympics or anything, but I am able to be up and productive more than when I was last pregnant.  Baby steps, right!

The change in weather has been hard on the kids.  J is tired, M, my usual allergy kid is doing fine (go figure), R is fine, T has lost his voice, has a sore throat, and tons of snot, S had a really sore throat, but it is finally better, and A has a runny nose, crazy voice, and sore throat.  So far hubby and myself are doing okay.

I am glad it is Friday so we can relax and take it a little bit easy and let everyone hopefully recover over the weekend.

A couple of weeks ago, we went to a local tractor show.   They had old tractors, a tractor pull, old-fashioned corn shucking, and old-fashioned wheat threshing.  My husband and I took all but J who had to work.  Most of the kids hated it, but my husband and I really enjoyed seeing the tractors and the old-fashioned machines.  My husband took my FIL in a wheelchair the next day because he thought he would like to see the older tractors and such.  He loved it!  They were there all afternoon.  My husband said that he couldn’t get him to leave!  That was great because he doesn’t get out much!  Here are a few pictures of our trip:

My husband, FIL and S in front of an old Farmall H tractor.

Watching the tractor pull.

T, S, and FIL in front of an Oliver crawler.

Most of the kids and me in front of another old tractor. Can you see their enthusiasm?!

My husband really wanted that truck! Thankfully it wasn’t for sale.

The two little kids couldn’t believe how big tractor tires can be!

Enjoying a snack while watching the wheat being threshed.

Kings Island Pictures

Last weekend was my husband’s company fun day at Kings Island.  My older 4 have season passes that they got at Christmas so they have been there several times this year. My youngest two kids ages 7 and 5 were super excited to go as this is their only trip this year.  They had it all planned out….get there when it opens and stay until it closes.

My plan was a little different.  At 28 weeks pregnant I was hoping to survive and with any luck get out of there before closing.

We arrived shortly after opening and we split up into big kids and little kids.  The big kids went on a couple of rides together, but when we met back up, we found out that kid #3 and kid #4 weren’t getting along.  We then split up with Dad and the boys on one team and Mom and the girl on the other.

A and I went around Kiddy Land for hours.  She wanted to do all of the rides.  There aren’t many places to sit down, and the lines were fairly long in the afternoon.  My legs and back were getting pretty sore and tired.

We met back up with my husband and boys and my older son R took my daughter A into Dinosaurs Alive.  It was a Godsend.  I was able to sit and rest and stretch my back and legs for the 45 minutes that they were in there.  My husband and I talked and S, our 7-year-old  rode every single ride that he was tall enough to ride.  He rode the Drop Zone,  the Beast, the Vortex and the Windseeker.  He is most proud of doing is the Drop Zone!

After the Dinosaurs Alive exhibit we split back up and back to Kiddy Land we went.  A rode all of the rides that she was tall enough to ride.  We started to see all kinds of people with face painting.  I heard earlier that it was free all day, but the lines were long.  Anyway my daughter decided that she wanted to get her face painted.  We waited in line for an hour and she didn’t complain once.  She really wanted to get it done.

Anyway I sort of got my wish because we did get out of there 15 minutes before closing!  It was a great day, everyone had a lot of fun.

Here are some pictures from our day.

A, the pink kitty, with glitter of course!

S relaxing in the wagon.

M, S, and T on Congo Falls.

Here I am sitting while the kids were in Dinosaurs Alive.  I feel like my belly is bigger than that!  It certainly feels bigger than it looks.

S and A riding the Great Pumpkin Coaster.