Wednesday, October 1, 2014

It's October.

I flipped the calendar page over again.  It is now reading October!  Another month of Autumn!  A month of football and volleyball games and leaves and chill.  A month closer to the holidays!  Yikes!

Saying goodbye to my favorite September weather and days is no fun but we are slowly getting out the jackets and boots and dress in layers.  I am OK with that too.  I like layers and so when the chilly tempts come this weekend, we will try to not frown.  Seeing the chimneys start to puff out smoke will be another sign of colder weather.  The cooler weather is getting me into my sneakers more too.  Hadassah is coming home from school and saying, "We ran the mile again."  She's a good runner but does not nearly like or feel like doing it each time!  Kinda like her mom!  :)  She said her time yesterday and I set out running timing my mile!  I really am trying to be more faithful at running or walking but I find myself too many times dreading it too.  I have decided to not go as far but give more energy to what I do run.  It's such a mind thing for me.  I came back puffing and huffing and sweating and proud of my time!  It's not an athlete's record breaker for sure but it had my blood pumping!  I got to the driveway and gave out a yell.  Hadassah was faithfully bouncing her ball on the front walks (like she does every single day.  Love it!).  She was impressed but I didn't beat her time!  Now, mind you, I am like twenty years older than her.  I had three children.  I gave it my all!  I'm going to keep trying!  She runs the mile tomorrow again at school and I can't wait to hear her time!  She's better and that's completely fine with me!  I'm proud of her and her athletic skills.  She is a good runner, a great jumper and even better volleyball player!!!  It's giving me motivation!  We both do love the way we feel after a run.  Even if it's only one mile at a time!  I'm going to keep running that mile with working on my time!  Maybe then, I'll be brave and up the distance!  :)  I think it would be fun to run together with Hadassah.  I might have to convince her on her "no running days at school".  Wish me some force, strength, might & energy!!!

We had a sisters day yesterday and went to Roots market.  It was mom's idea and it was fun.  I couldn't believe how many people were out and selling!  Lot's of produce stands.  Many local grown foods!  Some crafts.  Some animals.  Lot's of pastry's and small bakery venders.  I just didn't picture a thriving market like this so close to home.  The day with mom, Jody & Fannie Lynn & our girls was fun!  (We missed you Mindy and Mim!)  We keep saying how we should get together more often.  We planned a day to go to Ikea next and I'm excited!  I love days out with sisters!!!  Thanks gals for the fun day!

(I totally despise my camera on my phone but it's better than nothing!)

My outside work is slowing down.  I pulled out some flowers, the tomato and pepper plants are going to be ripped out today yet, and no more string beans.  I did have some tomatoes in the freezer yet that needed to be made into something???  (Did you know that if you plant tomatoes and if you're like me, I don't like a tomato here or there every other day, you can freeze them.  Wash and cut off the top and put in a container for the freezer.  Then when you have plenty to juice, go for it!)  I had five containers in my freezer that I took out this morning.  I cooked them with some onions and peppers.  Then juiced everything after it was soft.  Then I made homemade ketchup!  It turned out great and I can't wait to use some on some fresh French fries or it's the best with fried zucchini slices.  I worked and cooked in the garage but wishing the smell of the cinnamon oil was in my house!  I love that smell!  I made a double batch with the recipe I got from Mike's mom.  It gave me 22 bottles!  I also canned 4 more quarts of just juice for delicious tomato soup when the slow blows!


 I cooked all the ingredients together.  I added 2 Tb. of horseradish to the mixture as it cooked.  You can leave this out if you want.  But it adds a nice touch of yumminess!  I thickened it with thermo flo.  Almost two cups mixed with some water.  Stir and then slowly add to the hot ketchup till you have it thickened.  Keep cooking and stirring.  Not too thick though or it won't pour out of your jars very nice.  You may not use all the thermo flo or you may even need a bit more.  You decide.  I canned the jars for five minutes.  I doubled the recipe and it gave me what you see above!  Even though this is the first time making this all by myself, its not hard.  I love the recipe and I'm grateful that my mother in law shares her recipes because I think her ketchup is the best!!!  :)
I also made some pumpkin pies the other day.  I picked a recipe I used before but cut it in half.  Who needs four pies for a family of five???!!!  I made my two pie crusts and they looked great!  Then I mixed my pie ingredients and when I started pouring it into my crusts, I gasped.  I knew that my mixture was not going to be enough for both pie crusts.  I should've have stopped right there and poured them into one.  I didn't.  I wish I would have!!!  My 9" pie plates made my pies not full to the rim like they need to be but I baked them anyway.  I knew better!!!  They flopped.  They are dry and don't have near enough of goo or pie or ????  Hadassah was nice, took a piece, and said they taste good.  Mike took a piece and said they were OK because he was also being nice.  They do taste alright but I don't think they are worth the calories because I've had much, much better pumpkin pies before!  I'm not giving up though.  I've made pumpkin pies lots of times before and I guess the next time, I'll give the extra's away!!!  :)  The pumpkin cookies were much more of a hit around this house last week.  Matthew had way too many and loves them!!!  The warm pears that I baked last night were just as tasty!  I love all the seasonal foods that come with fall!!!

I must now go pull out them tomato plants and get rid of them pepper stalks.  The garden will then be empty of foods for this year.  (Actually, I think I'll let the herbs go till they freeze out.)  God blessed our little garden again this summer and we are extremely blessed with good homegrown foods!  Thank you, Lord!!!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Fun, fall family happenings!!!

We've had a busy weekend and I was glad that time went by as fast as it did because Mike was out of town his second weekend in a row!!!  :/  The kids and I were not impressed when we realized that he would be in Texas last weekend doing some investment seminars and then away again the next weekend on a golf outing that he gets invited to every fall.  But we survived!  :)  With the school sale, babysitting Hunter for a few days last weekend, it went fast.  The kids and I had fun at each event but we simply could not wait till 5 PM for Mike to come home! 

Then on Thursday morning, he was off to the airport again heading for Florida.  I missed him so much already Thursday afternoon but I took on the dreary day with cleaning the house and doing some road errands.  That night the kids and I hung out together here at home working on bible memory, spelling words, piano and school work.  We texted Mike good night and went to bed.

Friday was a busy day of canning grape juice down at mom's.  Mom and I each did three boxes giving us each about 22 quarts!  Ashlyn and Shakia played outside while we canned.  Such great entertainers they are!  I picked up the kids at school and we decided to hang out with mom that evening again because dad was at the mountains working on the new cabin!!!  We grabbed supper at home and then treated the kids to Rita's in town.  From there we went to play games at Mommy & Daudy D's but ended up just yacking and relaxing!  Matthew built Lincoln logs as we talked and laughed.  Ashlyn and Shakia played together again.  Hadassah joined in on the adult conversations!  She growing up!  :)  Again we texted Mike good night and everyone got tucked into bed.

My smaller lens for my camera does not work anymore and so I bought a new lens on Thursday.  Love it!
Lots of yummy grapes.  Ashlyn simple loves these!!!

Saturday was a warm, beautiful day.  I jotted down some chores for the kids to do because I left all the outside work for today.  Hadassah was to bath the dogs (Zoey was here so she got a bath too.)  Do piano.  Mow the yard.  Matthew swept out the Yukon.  Organized the barn.  They both helped each other wash off the Yukon.  This can be a process at times.  I'm sure my siblings and I acted the same way, but why must there always be drama?  After a stern talk of working nicely together, they did a good job!  Meanwhile, Ashlyn played with Shakia and Shaelyn while they were here for a few hours.  I pulled the weeds.  Pulled out some flowers that didn't look so pretty anymore.  Mowed (Hadassah decided to babysit Shaelyn and let me mow the yard.)  Did the trimming and blowing.  The afternoon was hot and perfect for doing all these outdoor chores!  It was 4:00 and we were all washed up and ready to do something fun!!!  We decided to go to Cherry Crest Adventure Farm!!!  I am so glad we did!!!

The whole farm was busy with people, animals, rides, activities and food!  Matthew and I were there before on a field trip with school but it was the girls first time and they LOVED it!!!  Ashlyn pet the animals!  Hadassah loved the cool swings.  They went through a hay tunnel.  Shot tennis balls with sling shots.  Played in the sand box.  Ate corn on the cob ... made right there!  I mean, the whole entire time we were there, we just kept going from one fun thing to the next!  It was a blast!  Time to leave came too quick.  We didn't even do the flash light corn maze!!!  We have to go back and do that when Mike can join us!  It's going to be a blast!!!  We left the farm with a such good, fulfilling feeling of "that was fun"!  Perfect ... except that Mike was not with us!  Next time!!!  :)

Ashlyn and I both got a cob!  So tasty!
She rode the small bikes while us bigger ones rode the big bikes.
Oops.  Turned too sharp!  :)

Our race was on!  :)  He won!


Matthew won a prize with his tennis ball sling shot shotting! 
Here they come!!!!

I pushed Ashlyn around on a wagon while we went from one fun thing to the next!
No ... No, I did not tell them to do this.  They all three went in a hay tunnel and popped out like this.  Crazy, fun kids!!!

There were two huge jumping trampalene's!  And a huge box of sand!
Baby chicks!
We left without doing the corn maze because Rosie and the boys wanted to do something together yet.  We invited them to do the adventure farm with us, but because of the ballgames Jeremy was in, it would've gotten too late.  Instead, we met them for ice cream later.  Our poor waitress!  The kids were super hyper and excited to be together and we could hardly get our food and ice cream ordered without some kind of laughter!  The big scoops of ice cream went down and right before we left, Rosie made the kids all do a relay run in the parking lot.  Run off some energy and burn off those ice cream calories!!!  We both pulled away with the kids hollering ... "bye, bye, bye!"  :)  Crazy.  Ashlyn was so tired and everyone was ready to rest after such a fun night!  Yep, we texted Mike good night and after thanking God for our great kids and for a great night of fun, we went to sleep!

I woke up Sunday morning with the bedroom in a rosy glow.  The sunrise was gorgeous!!!  Another warm day of the tempts in the 80's.  We are having some last summer/fall warm days!  We all went to church and heard of the old testament characters!  I love the story of Noah and Joseph!  We were challenged to be like Noah, righteous in his day.  How he obeyed God and followed through building the strange (what others thought was strange) ark boat.  God said there would be a flood and there was!  Noah and his family were the only humans spared!  Then hearing about Joseph and how his life was not without trouble, heart aches and problems!!!  But in each situation, Joseph made the best out of it!  Leaning on God!  God!!!  Each time he ended up being a leader:  when he was bought by Potiphar, when he was put in prison, and when he came out of prison and made leader of storing foods!  Joseph never took any credit on himself.  Never!  He always gave God the credit!  God helped him tell what dreams meant.  God watched over Joseph and many years later, brought Joseph's whole family to Egypt to live where there was plenty of food and their family was united. 

We spent the sunny afternoon in the sun in the back yard and waited, waited for Mike to come back home.  At 5:15, we all went running to greet him!  We were all super excited to him back home with us!  Mike and I went for a short run together and then we all sat on the porch eating grilled hamburgers and drinking cold drinks.  Being together as a family was great again!  We made a quick visit to Matt's and watched some football with them after gazing at the pretty sunset sky!

I am so blessed to have energy!  Health!  A wonderful husband and beautiful children!  My big laundry pile was attacked this morning and now the house smells from warm pumpkin pies!  I think everyone will be happy to eat some tonight after supper!  :)

Happy harvest time!  And happy national coffee day today! 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Fall Begins

My calendar said yesterday, "Fall begins."  In one way, it makes me glad and in another way I'm kinda sad.  Sad to leave the summer days of swimming and sunning and warmness behind for yet another year.  But glad to smell, taste and feel the things that only Fall brings.  Warm drinks, cozy sweaters, brisk air!!!  Stepping out the door to see the kids off to school and feeling the cool air is a reminder that fall is here!  The air is chilly yet fresh. 

Now that it is officially Fall, my mind does a loop and thinks about the upcoming holidays.  It won't seem long before we start making preparations for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Doing some fun fall events with the kids would be fun.  No promises but fall spells hay rides, pumpkin patches and hot cider.  Maybe we can do one of these this weekend?

The leaves did not change their color yet here at our home but the flowers are showing the change of season.  The yellows and orange colors just seem to pop out now instead of the pinks and purples.  My porches did get some mums and pumpkins on them.  I love the fall colors just as much as I do the summer colors!  Each bring their own seasony feeling.  (My spell check is not recognizing the word seasony.  :)  )

I have been burning my "hot cider" candle a lot!  I love that smell!  I've been flipping through my cookbooks looking for recipes with pumpkin, ginger and cinnamon ingredients!  I made a batch of squash soup for supper last night.  The soup turned out good but I made a mistake the minute I set it on the table.  I should not have announced that's it's squash but I should have left hubby try it first and then tell him what it was.  Squash is not something Mike likes but he did like and eat most of his soup!  :)  The soup was the perfect combination with our families favorite baked sausage.  (We are hoping Mike shots another deer this fall to replenish the sausage supply for the freezer.  I'm not a huge deer meat fan but this sausage is so good!  If you are into trying some squash soup here's the recipe I used.  It was another online search party till I found one I tried.  :)
 (Really pictures sell food and this is not the greatest picture ever taken of squash soup.  :/  My camera is getting a cleaning so the phone had to do.)

Butternut Squash Soup:
1 Butternut Squash (peeled & chopped)
* Toss the squash with 1 Tb. olive oil, salt and pepper.  Roast in the oven at 450 degrees for 30 minutes.
* Blend roasted squash, 2 Tb. pumpkin (from the can), 1 cooked carrot in a blender.
* Add 1 cup chicken broth, 1/2 cup apple cider & 1 cup half n half.
* Pour into a sauce pan and heat adding 1 1/2 Tb. honey, 1/4 tsp. curry, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon & a pinch of sugar.
* Heat till warm and serve!  Yield: 6 servings   (This recipe came from but I changed a few things.  I added only a little pumpkin and used chicken broth instead of veggie broth.  Just because I didn't have veggie broth on hand.)

Hadassah had her second volleyball game yesterday and they again won one, lost two.  They played well and Hadassah's serves were great!  Over and hard!  She's working it!!!  :)

The end of the week weather looks lovely!  Enjoy the fall times!  I'm off to mix up a batch of pumpkin cookies!!!  :)

Monday, September 22, 2014

The start of volleyball games!

Hadassah had her very first volleyball game in competition last Thursday!  She was so excited to be on the A team!!!  She was also very nervous but played really well! 

I volunteered to drive some of the girls to West Fallowfield School for their game.  Matthew and Ashlyn went along too.  Ashlyn was a little cheer leader and sat on the side lines eating snacks and drawing.  Matthew was happy to be playing outside with some other boys from school. 

Hadassah played in all three games.  Won one, lost two.  She's got power in her serves ... serving over hand!  I never seemed to conquer those kinds of serves!  I prefer serving underhand!  :)  Her spikes were good too.  I was proud to see her skills improve over the summer.  Volleyball Camp was soooo much fun for her and very worth the time and money!  Volleyball is her new favorite sport!  :) 

Good job Hadassah!  Way to put your all into it and playing your best!!!  I can't wait to watch you play many more games!!!  :)

(She picked her daddy's number to be her volleyball number too.  She loves her dad and is proud to wear #44!!!)

Our calendar is filled with more upcoming volleyball games!  I know this is going to be a big highlight for Hadassah!  I also know that it will keep this mom busy!  Watching the children grow up and get involved in school activities is exciting!  We are blessed!

Go Yellow Team!!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

125 miles!!!

Why do I feel like I am going 125 miles an hour?  My week last week was so crazy and I am really glad to glance at the calendar page for another week!  This week is not so busy.  Another week of the gorgeous September weather!!!  This might end up being a really long post???  :)

I've been racing the clock all last week.  On Tuesday we canned applesauce.  Not just a little bit mind you!  No!  We canned baskets and baskets ~ something in the twenties basket number.  I wanted 3 bushels of yummy Smokehouse & Ginger Gold apples mixed for my family.  We got together at Mom Lapps and worked at it A-L-L day long.  In fact, so long that the kids went home with Angie until Mike picked them up after work.  Then we all met at dad's for a quick supper and then mom and I went back to getting more jars of fresh applesauce canned.  I got home at 7:00 PM!!!  What a day!!!  I was so tired and very happy to know that that big day was over!  We now have tons of fresh applesauce to last us all year long!!!

Wednesday was a day of being at home and mowing the yard, doing laundry, picking beans, etc..  Then we did our family pictures that evening and the weather and location was perfect!!!  I am excited to see the finished products in a few weeks!!!  We ended the evening with eating at Olive Garden and all sharing those sweet donuts and dipping them in warm chocolate as a dessert!!!  Fun night!

Here is one that I captured while waiting for our photographer.  She is so darling!!!

Thursday was cleaning the house.  Then cleaning dad's shop.  Then to pick up the children at school.  I had a basket of pears waiting to be cleaned and canned.  I packed for the beach and for the mountains.  I made a stop at the store for some groceries.  Supper was quickly put together and on the table for my growing family.  We took Ginger to Sadie's.  Time spent with the children was done in between all the small chores!  I was very busy but not too busy to stop and remember that it was September 11!!!  I will never forget this day!  The day that the towers were distroyed and so many American families were changed.  Forever.  I will always remember this terrible day in history.  Hearing stories from people that were directly involved are interesting.  I was tuned in to WDAC and heard a powerful testimony of a pilot that was going to be on one of the high jacked planes but got bumped.  He thrives to this day to make every single day count.  A blessing.  It was 8:00 in the evening and I still had a ton of things to do yet but Ashlyn wanted me to hold her and I am so glad I did!  Having her on my lap made me stop.  Slow down.  Not everything got done on my list that night ... but it's ok.  My bed felt wonderful!!!  :)

Friday, we were up bright and early.  Mike's 125 mile bike ride day has arrived and he was nervous and excited!  As we prayed for safety and for a good ride, I held his cold hands.  He trained hard and well for the 125 mile bike ride.  He was ready to go when Matt Lapp picked him up!  I had to remind him about his water bottles and he grabbed some clean clothes to take along for after his ride.  I then had the children up and off to school.  Ashlyn and I left right after the bus pulled away from the driveway and we picked up Marlene and Colson.  We headed for Rehobeth Beach to enjoy some sunshine and then pick up the men when they arrived to their destination!  The weather was perfect for biking and for sunning!  We wiggled our toes in the sand.  We watched the ocean waves come in and go out.  Ashlyn collected sea shells.  We even applied some sun block!  We ate pizza, salad and ice cream cones.  The day was super fun!!!  The men got back in great time and Mike said the ride went better than expected.  He just wasn't sure how it was all going to be?  He trained hard and felt prepared yet nervous because he had never went that far all at once on his bike before.  They stopped every 25 miles and took a short break before getting on their bikes for more miles.  They finished in great time!  Marlene and I were not even ready to leave the gorgeous beach yet but we went for the guys and gave them high fives!!!  We traveled home with Matt Lapp's and stopped for supper on the way home.  Colson and Ashlyn did great all day long too!  They were both wanting to do exactly what the other one did.  Marlene asked Colson what he wanted to eat for lunch and he said, "What ever Ashlyn has."  :)  We chuckled!  Mike was ready to relax his tired legs but the whole experience and the whole day was such fun!!!  Good job hun!!!  I am so proud of you!!!

There were over 100 bikers this day but these six men stuck it out as a team. 
 Summer goodness!

Saturday morning came fast and we were up bright and early ... again.  My family was having a work day at the cabin.  Hadassah and Matthew went up last night already with Tony.  We drove the three hour drive and got there just in time for breakfast.  They already had everything out of the cabin and were starting to tear down the cabin.  Dad is planning to build a new cabin soon and the old, tiny, old  cabin needed to go.  EVERYONE joined the work!  The men and boys worked in the morning rain.  When the sun came out, it still left things wet.  I went to change Ashlyn from her pj's to our dress when I realized that I completely forgot all her clothes!!!  This like never happens to me because I am one that packs more than needed at times.  If we stay for two days ... normally, I pack for three.  You get the picture here so when I didn't have anything for Ashlyn to wear, we all just laughed.  It was the mountains and who really cares if we don't look our best, right?  :)  We borrowed from Shakia and it all worked out just fine.  Matthew was also struggling a bit though with his wardrobe.  The only shoes he packed were his school shoes.  They don't work very well in muddy conditions so he went searching for a pair of boots, shoes, or rubber boots.  One day he were the rudder things that slipped over his shoes.  Then the boot got stuck in the mud and his sneaker went sinking into the wet ground.  Now they were both wet and muddy!!!  So, the next day, he wore an old pair of dad's work shoes.  He tied them tight and made the best of it!  The cabin got all cleaned out and tore down and burned.  All in one weekend.  We were all safe but did need to take dad to the ER because his hand was in so much pain.  Tendenitis in his hand muscles from working them so hard the day before.  He came back with some pain meds and an ice pack!

This is the tiny cabin that my family hangs out in!  Dad is building a new one soon and so the old had to be torn down.

 The boards that were still good they put on a pile and got the nails out of them.  It was rainy but the men still worked.
 Brother John Mike was on the peddy bone a lot. 
 The junk and old cabin was then put on a pile and burned.
 The girls put on garage bags so they don't get too wet.  The big fire is glowing on them.
 There goes the roof.
 Shovels, pitch forks, gloves, hands ... whatever worked they used.

 Hammers were used to crash down old tile.
 Brother Jason was not feeling the best so he helped but sometimes just stood back and watched.

 Dear Shaelyn did great!  So cute!

 I was glad I stuck in her boots last minute.  I really should have remembered Matthew's boots too.  Muddy!

 Dad was in pain with his hand. 
 Matthew loved the whole tearing down thing!!!  Great helper!
 There it goes!
 Miss Doctor here!  :)  Jody wrapped dad's hand hoping that that would help with the pain.  Dad has a pole barn that was built right beside the tiny cabin a few years ago and that was our place to stay and eat and sleep.  Everything from the cabin got moved into the pole barn.  Worked great!
 Climbing on the roof before it got burned.

 The girls found a piece of tile that they made a project out of for their teepee.

Shambles ...
 So muddy!!!
Sunday we relaxed!!!  (Again, so happy for a day of rest!!!)  We ate a big breakfast because that's what we always do at the cabin!  We played games together!  The men and older children went for a walk in the woods.  Then we loaded up our few small bags and headed back home.  The whole weekend was so busy and we covered many, many miles!  Praise the Lord for family, friends and for keeping us safe!!!

The new cabin is in the making in just a few weeks!  We can not wait to go and enjoy the mountains in more luxury!  :)