Friday, June 29, 2007

Tree for Rent, Anyone???

Last Saturday was a perfect day for cutting down trees! At least for us humans...

We have ten dead trees near enough to our house that we needed to cut them down. This was tree #4. It was pretty close to our trampoline, so Neal needed a bit of help to get it down in the right spot.

He used this chain to help him guide it and to get it out of the tree in which it was caught.

Down she went! Good for us, but not so good for this....

FLYING SQUIRREL! I wish the picture was better, but can you see the flap of skin between its' front and back legs? This is the first flying squirrel we had ever seen, and we definitely didn't know we had one living in our dead tree! While Neal and I were talking to each other, the kids witnessed it soaring off to another tree.

Anyone with a dead tree to rent?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Father's Day

We came home from camping on Sunday evening -- Father's Day. The kids couldn't wait to give their Daddy his big homemade Candy card:

In case you can't read it, here's what it says:

"Extra," "Extra" read all about it! We have some "M-Azing" news to share! Mommy thinks you're "Kissable!" Beth thinks the top of your head is softer than a "Kat!" Ben thinks you're better than "3 Musketeers!" But we all know you're really just "nuts." You always make us "Snicker," and you're worth "100 Grand." Your kids also know that their "Pop Rocks!" We hope you've enjoyed this Father's Day gift, 'cause in a couple of years all you may get are "Cow Tails." So "Take 5" and we'll all give you lots of "Kisses." We Love You!!!

Isn't that cute! I thought they did a great job!

Neal had asked for a watch for Father's Day, and he actually got a bit cocky about the fact that he knew he was getting a watch. So, we thought we'd make him sweat it out a bit and we gave him a Sponge Bob watch. We oohed and aahed over it, and then about 15 minutes later we gave him his "real" watch. :o)

Monday, June 25, 2007


We had a lot of fun on our camping trip. The weather was perfect! No Rain!!! I think that's a first for our camping trips. We've been camping long enough now that the kids can almost put the tent up by themselves. We didn't want Daddy to do much work since it was Father's Day weekend, but we needed his help a little bit. One big way we needed his help was in blowing up our air mattresses. We have an electric pump, but there were no outlets at this campground! Not even in the bath house!!! So, Neal blew up three of the mattresses by himself, and Beth and I were able to combine our efforts and blow up the fourth. I don't know how he did it!

Here they are getting the tent laid out on the pad:

Here's our camp site. Our tent is approximately 10 ft by 17 ft. We get our four air mattresses in there and our suitcase, and have plenty of room to move around. The rain fly comes off and you can look at the stars at night. We've done that in the past, but there was a threat of rain the entire weekend so we left the rain fly on the whole time.

Here are our super heroes having fun!

The view at the beach was beautiful! It was just warm enough that the kids could enjoy jumping in the cold lake. Not the parents though! Our breakfast the first morning was "Omelet in a bag." I first heard of this recipe from my friend Perri. I thought it sounded like a good meal for camping, so we made it. Neal and I loved it (note the thumbs up from Neal below). Ben thought it was good and Beth thought it was tolerable. She does not like eggs, so I was happy with tolerable. In our omelets I put 2 eggs, sausage, cheese, onion, mushrooms, salt, pepper, and a dash of hot sauce. I also put dill in Neal's eggs.

Ben liked ketchup on his. :o)

This picture was taken from a bridge on top of a dam. This picture doesn't do the view justice!

I had a visitor on my sweatshirt Sunday morning. I guess this little butterfly was cold so while I was cooking our pancakes, he landed on my sweatshirt. I moved around the campsite and he stayed put. Then Ben held him for a little while, then he was passed onto our friends Lillie and Abbey, then Beth held him. After the kids held him, Neal took his turn. The butterfly really liked Neal.

He even stayed for breakfast. After he stayed about an hour with us, I guess he got warm enough and flew away.

After breakfast on Sunday, we went mountain biking. Or as Neal said "Family" mountain biking. It was all down hill. Or at least most of it. I drove the van down to a parking lot and then my friend Jackie drove me back to the camp site. We went through the woods and over logs. It was a lot of fun! The scary moment came when Beth lost her brakes on the steepest hill. She was fourth in line when we started out and ended up passing the three people in front of her. Thankfully it flattened off a little bit and her brakes kicked in just enough for her to stop. It was a very frightening ride for her! Neal has tools on his bike so he was able to fix her brakes before we continued our ride.

We had fun in the evenings sitting around the fire talking and laughing. We also played some cards by lantern light. We're very thankful for our good friends that the Lord has given us!

Baking Bread

When we took the lid off of our freshly milled flour, we found the imprint from the lid -- GLAD! Beth and I decided we are GLAD that we are now milling our own grain and baking our bread. Maybe you'll see why in the pictures to follow:
Making Sandwich/Hamburger Rolls
After the flour is mixed and it rises for the first time (I do those steps in the bread machine), we take out the dough and divide it into about 15 pieces.
Then we roll one portion into a ball.

Then we roll it into a "log."
Then we tied it into a knot and put it on the cookie sheet.

Then I placed them in the oven to rise.

Take them out of the oven -- Mmmm...they smell good!

And here is our finished sandwich roll!

This is some Mexican Corn Bread I made using my Mom's cast iron corn muffin pan.

On Saturday, Beth and I made homemade bagels. These are sooo good, and they were fun to make!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Yes, I'm Alive!

It's been an entire week since I posted, and I have not had time to sit down and post about anything. I don't have time right now either, so this is going to be a quick one. I'll elaborate more later:

Camping: We had a blast! The weather was perfect. The food was good. The fellowship was splendid! We wore ourselves out!

Grinding Wheat: I got my new Wonder Mill on Monday. We are totally hooked on grinding our own wheat and baking our own bread now. We feel better and it sure does taste better! Right now I have two bread machines going in my kitchen. I have them both on the dough cycle, so it will mix it for me and let it go through the first rising. Then I'll take them out and with one I'll make two pizza crusts for supper tonight, and with the other the kids and I are going to make bagels. (I do have pictures to share from breadbaking last week).

Handwriting Job: Completed!

Beth: She's been going to volleyball camp every morning this week.

Ben: We've been hanging out here doing stuff around the house that needed to be done. We shopped at Walmart this morning (oh, joy...).

We went to the pool yesterday and this afternoon.

Beth had a volleyball game Tuesday night...won one, lost two.

We've been busy, but we're having fun!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Going to the Wild

Tomorrow we leave for our three day camping trip. Yaah! I cooked all day (I'll post more about that next week). But, I should have enough prep work done that I can kick back and relax this weekend.

I'm taking some magazines with me, maybe my crocheting, and my bicycle. No swim suit this trip. Today's high where we are going was 59 degrees! I think it will be a little warmer this weekend, but I do not forsee the lake warming up enough between now and Saturday for me to get in it!

Neal and I had an accomplishment this morning. We have been walking each morning around 6:30ish with our dog Susie (some mornings Susie walks us).
Each day we walk a little further and a little further. Our goal was to reach the end of our road which is a big hill. The hill goes down to a busier road. Well, this morning we made it! (I think it's a mile to the end of our street) Then we had to turn around and come back! Yikes! LOL It's a pretty steep hill, and we were a little out of breath, but at least we could continue talking the entire walk up. We walked it in 30 minutes. Now we'll have to see if we can shorten our time. Yaah for us!

Oh, the kids made Neal the coolest Father's Day gift. But I'm going to have to leave you hanging on this one until we get back. I'll be sure to take a picture of it on Sunday and blog about it.

Happy Father's Day to all you Dads out there!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Gasoline vs. Liquids

I have seen this "forward" before, but I still think it's an interesting way to put gas prices into perspective. I haven't checked the validity of this letter, but it makes sense to me....although I do wish gas prices were lower! :o)

GAS VS LIQUIDS (U.S. gallon = 4.6 liters Imperial Gallon)

All these examples do NOT imply that gasoline is cheap; it just illustrates how outrageous some prices are....

You will be really shocked by the last one !!!! (At least, I was...)

Compared with Gasoline......

Think a gallon of gas is expensive? This makes one think, and also puts things in perspective.

Diet Snapple 16 oz $1.29 . $10.32 per gallon
Lipton Ice Tea 16 oz $1.19 .$9.52 per gallon
Gatorade 20 oz $1.59 . $10.17 per gallon
Ocean Spray 16 oz $1.25 . $10.00 per gallon
Brake Fluid 12 oz $3.15 . $33.60 per gallon
Vick's Nyquil 6 oz $8.35 . $178.13 per gallon
Pepto Bismol 4 oz $3.85 . $123.20 per gallon
Whiteout 7 oz $1.39 . . $25.42 per gallon
Scope 1.5 oz $0.99 .$84.48 per gallon

And this is the REAL KICKER...

Evian water 9 oz $1.49..........$21.19 per gallon! $21.19 for WATER and the buyers don't even know the source (Evian spelled backwards is Naive.)
Ever wonder why computer printers are so cheap? So they have you hooked for the ink. Someone calculated the cost of the ink at................ you won't believe it................... but it is true......................... $5,200 a gallon. (five thousand two hundred dollars)

So, the next time you're at the pump, be glad your car doesn't run on water, Scope, or Whiteout, Pepto Bismol, Nyquil or God forbid, Printer Ink!!!!!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Quick Update

The home school conference was fantastic! I had lots of fun with my friends, and I learned a lot! Our keynote speakers were Dr. Emerson Eggrich (Love and Respect), Doug Phillips (Vision Forum), and Ken Ham (Answers in Genesis). There were tons of workshops to choose from. In the past, all of my emphasis has been on my homeschooling. This year, however, I felt the Lord lead me in a different direction. The health of my family. I attended one class called Biology of the Brain. It was a very interesting look at natural ways to treat ADD, ADHD, hyperactivity, depression, and even autism. But the place I learned the most was through a couple of classes by Sue Becker ( She taught about healthy eating and specifically about grinding your own wheat and making fresh, homemade bread. The health benefits of grinding your own wheat are astronomical. I purchased some wheat and used my friend's electric mill to grind it. My family loved it! It is so much more filling than store bought bread and so much better for you. It doesn't take long at all to grind the wheat, and with a bread machine or mixer to mix the dough, baking bread doesn't take that long either. This is what I've made this week: muffins with fresh strawberries and raspberries and chopped pecans (out of Neal's garden), and blueberry muffins with blueberries out of Neal's patch. The family loved them! I also made pizza dough and dough for a reuben "calzone." Again, they all thought it was delicious. Today Beth made two loaves of Ezekial Bread (recipe is on the website). I bought a mix from them at the conference though, and used it. I don't know if it's the way we made it or maybe we baked it too long, but it's not my favorite. The kids loved it fresh, however. Neal told me tonight to go ahead and order the Wonder Mill. I can't wait to get it! Maybe it sounds crazy to add more work to my schedule, but I think the benefits will far outweigh the work!
We're going camping this weekend with some friends (my friend Jackie -- the one with the mill. :o) We camped with them last year and had a blast. We're really looking forward to this weekend. I hope the weather cooperates!
We went to the pool yesterday and today. That will probably be it for this week since I'm getting another handwriting job tomorrow. I'm not taking it camping with me, so I'll need to get as much done as possible tomorrow and Thursday. I'll also need to get ready for our trip!
I guess that's it for now. I'll have to take some pictures of our mill when we get it, and the bread of course, so that you can see what I'm talking about!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Home School Conference

Tomorrow's the day! Three of my friends and I are taking off for three days in our state's capital. :o) The home school conference officially starts Friday morning, but the exhibit hall will be open tomorrow night. We're going to meet at 12:30 tomorrow and leave for our 2 hour trip to Richmond. We'll stop and eat somewhere along the way and then go to the hotel and get our room. Later we'll go over to the exhibit hall and peruse all the wonderful books and curricula. I am so excited! We'll go to workshops all day Friday and most of the day Saturday, and return late Saturday evening.

Today was spent getting ready. I had lots of laundry to get done, and I needed to get meals prepared for my family while I'm away, so I made a big pot of beef vegetable soup, I baked some Italian chicken, and I made Amish Meat Loaf (at least that's what the recipe said it was). We had the meatloaf tonight and Neal loved it. It's different from any I've ever made before. You make the meat loaf and put it in a loaf pan and refrigerate it overnight (I didn't get it done last night so I only refrigerated it for 2 hours). Then you take it out and slice it, dip it in flour, and then brown both sides. Then you place it in a baking dish sprayed with cooking spray and top it with a mixture of one can of cream of mushroom soup and 1/3 (I think) cup of steak sauce mixed together. You bake it covered at 250 degrees for 2 hours. The meatloaf itself had crushed crackers, onions, milk, salt, and pepper in it. I also added some steak sauce to the meatloaf for flavor. Ben and I thought it was "okay", Neal and Beth loved it. It is a bit tangy, so if you like tangy you may like this meatloaf! :o)

Tonight we had Fun Summer Club at church. I'm really having lots of fun with that. I'll probably do it again next year.

We're taking my van tomorrow, so I needed to vacuum it out. I had the "brilliant" idea to pay Beth to do it, and it really was brilliant! She did a fantastic job. She not only vacuumed, but she also took out the spot cleaner and scrubbed the dirty spots out of my carpet. Our van is 9 years old and it definitely has some dirty spots in it, but she made it look great. I had told her I'd pay her $5 for vacuuming, but since she did all that I gave her $10. She seemed happy...I know I was!

I'll fill you all in on my conference when I get back! Have a great weekend!

Monday, June 4, 2007

Pen Pals!

When we went to Lancaster a week and a half ago I came up with the idea of my kids having Amish penpals. I thought it was a great idea, but I didn't know if it would work for a couple of reasons:

1. Do the Amish want their children to correspond with outsiders?

2. How would I find an Amish child for them to be penpals with?

I didn't know if it would work out or not, but I went ahead and wrote down their names, ages, addresses, and interests on two pieces of paper and stuck them in my purse. When we went to the Amish yard sale on Saturday I had my opportunity. I was purchasing something and the wife checked me out. We had spoken the day before and she was really friendly. I asked her if any of her kids would want a penpal and she told me that they all already had several. But I went ahead and handed her the pieces of paper with Beth and Ben's information of them and asked her to give them to someone who might want a pen pal. I halfway thought that was the last I'd hear about that, but I was surprised. Less than a week later, Ben got a letter from a 12 year old boy named Omar. He was so excited! It was a nice long letter, and Ben started writing back almost immediately. He finished the letter yesterday and we mailed it today. (I went ahead and wrote a short letter to Omar's Mom to introduce our family to her) Today Beth got a letter from a 12 year old girl named Emma. Now she's back in her bedroom writing Emma a letter. I think Ben was even more excited about Beth's letter than she was. :o)

Monday again

Just a quick note this morning. The weekend went well. Our single mom's cookout was a big hit. We had 27 people here and the weather held out. After the last person left around 9:15 or so Neal and I quickly cleaned off the deck and put everything back in it's place. As we were putting the last thing away the first sprinkles started! Perfect timing, I'd say! :o)

Saturday morning came bright and early. We were up at 6:00 and went to the church for our used book sale. I made $86.25 so I was pretty happy. I still have my Power Glide Jr Spanish to sell. Anyone interested? It's like new!!! :o)

A migraine set in Saturday night and lasted through the night. Sunday morning I felt better, although it wasn't completely gone. We went on to church and went to Sunday School. After SS though I told Neal I needed to go home. I spent the rest of the day in bed. I'm feeling better this morning...just a little "hungover." If you have migraines you probably know what I mean.

Now I've got to run over to Walmart and get a few groceries. I'm making dinner for a couple in our Sunday school class that just had a baby. I'm going to make homemade chicken and noodle soup, grilled cheese sandwiches, salad, and I made some yummy strawberry and blueberry muffins this morning.


Friday, June 1, 2007

Amish Girl

Here is Beth in the Amish outfit she purchased at an Amish yard sale last week. The bonnet she purchased at an Amish store. If she were truly Amish she would be wearing a kapp, but they didn't sell those anywhere. I believe they do wear bonnets from time to time, however.

We saw a postcard with Amish girls on it, and one of the girls looked surprised that her picture was being taken. Beth and I joked that she probably wasn't even Amish and they told her to look surprised. So, here's Beth imitation of being surprised.

Our Super Baseball Player

Ben had a fun season playing baseball with a local church league. We were in Lancaster when they had their party and received their trophies, so Monday night the four of us played ball out in our front yard and then we surprised Ben with his trophy afterward.
Jeremiah 29:11

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."