Monday, October 13, 2014

October fun and memories.

Our October has been keeping us stepping!  Literally!  We all upped our running priority a bit!  Mike put his bike to the side and is getting into running more during the colder months.  Last night, Mike told the two oldest that they need to both go for a jog.  They groaned but knew it would be good for them after their very lazy Sunday afternoon.  They came back and then I went for the same run.  Mike and Ashlyn went for a walk to in hopes that it would make Mike feel better!!!  He came home from the mountains on Saturday night with a major head cold!
Our October is also filled with fun events!  We went to Weavertown's School Sale and Ashlyn begged for a $1.  I said "no" because she wanted to win a fish and I didn't think our household needed a fish at this present moment.  Hadassah said this morning that our momma cat is not fat anymore.  Yep, four baby kittens were born this morning.  :)  Moments later, she came in all smiles holding and juggling this bag around!!!  It had a gold fish inside!  I asked how and where she got this fish?!?  She said so sweetly, "I used Meg's dollar."  Oh boy!  I gave Jody a dollar back to give to Megan and because she was so proud of her win and prize, we now have a fish bowl on the kitchen counter.  Is this right?  Should've I stuck to my word?  How am I supposed to respond to that?  Make a major scene or keep the fish?  They only last for so long anyway.  Yikes!  :/ 
While we were at the school sale, Mike texted me some pics of Matthew.  He went with Mike to the mountains to help build the new family cabin and to go hunting with Mike.  It ended up that the work he did, he enjoyed!  When it was time to go hunting, Mike was on the couch not feeling well, so Matthew bundled up and went with Dad hunting!  No dead deer but thanks Dad for letting Matthew go with you!

 I got to have a mentoring session with the photographer that took our family pics a few weeks ago.  We met at the local coffee shop and talked about our cameras and how I can improve on taking better photo's.  The whole two hours was fun and even though I am not looking to pursue any business in photography, I did learn how to shot in manual and some other new tips!  Thanks Di!  Here's what I got to sip on while we talked ... "Crème Brulee Latte!"

Even though it's pumpkin season, I opted to make a batch of chocolate whoopies the other day.  Mike likes chocolate whoopies better and these turned out way better than my pumpkin whoopies anyway!  Look who helped me! 

I took the plunge and bought my second new camera lens last week.  After getting some advice from Di, I bought a 50 MM, 1.8 Cannon Lens.  It does great for close ups and gives clear pictures.  Well, I have to practice on the clear pictures with shooting in manual!  I am trying!  :) 

Ashlyn loves to color right now and spends a lot time at her little table that I moved into the living room.  This small white and tan table is great for her and her crayons!  She does pretty good too!

I practiced my lens on Ginger.  She was laying on the couch the other afternoon soaking in the sun from the picture window.  Ginger is such a good dog!  We love her so much.

I should have taken a picture of Ashlyn's creation but I didn't even think about it at the time.  She loves to make tents out of blankets and chairs.  She got the folding chairs out of the front closet and lined them up.  Then she threw on some blankets and called it her tent.  I adore her blue eyes and that is what I captured during her creative tent making! 

This is Matthew.  Glued.  I am being challenged to get this kid off the electronics and into books!  He loves the computer and all the games it has to offer.  He could play and be on the computer for hours if I would allow it!  I wish so bad that I would not have to constantly tell him "no". Sometimes I feel like that's what I do a lot.  I wonder how other parents keep computer time to a minimum?.  I also wonder how I can get this boy into books?  He was all excited and into some history a few weeks ago.  Mike took the time to go buy some books that he used to have in his one room school house learning years.  Matthew was excited to have these books that "daddy" used to read and Mike even showed him some of his favorite stories.  You know what?  The books are still on his night stand in his room.  Mike told Hadassah and Matthew that if they both read a book (he assigned them both a book) and then write a book report about it, he would give them both $50.  Again, Matthew was excited about he challenge but I have yet to see him get into the book!  Sigh!!!

October is going by quickly and so when I wanted to cook some pumpkin the other day, I was sad to not be able to find my most favorite kitchen tool of all times!  Pampered Chef has the best serregated vegetable peeler ever!  I do not know where I left this tiny tool but I must have misplaced it because after an extensive search, it was still not found!  I finally ordered a second one and I was so happy to have it arrive!  It peels cucumbers and apples and veggies, whatever, in ease!  No other peeler works as good as this one!!!  Also, I love this Starbucks Bright Sky Blend Coffee right now.  It's smooth.  It's not bold and that's why I like it so well!  I don't like a bold coffee.  It's my waker upper in the mornings!  :)

October is bringing on a new adventure for us with this volleyball team that Hadassah is on.  I know that when I was in middle school, we didn't have this much fun and action!  I am enjoying it though and Hadassah is playing well!  She had a tournament on Friday night that involved four different schools.  It was raining outside but the boys still played soccer.  The girls played volleyball in the gymnasium and we sat on the bleachers cheering!  Mike met us there and cheered too!  Just one thing, I could not believe it when Matthew said four miles from our arrival, that he forgot his shoes!  What?  Sireously?  What now?  It's too far to go back home.  We wouldn't have the time anyway if it were close.  He walked around all evening without shoes.  Wet.  Cold.  Wet.  Did I mention it was raining outside?  Boys.  Gotta love them.   

Mike and Matthew left for the cabin at 9:30 Friday night.  We stopped for this movie on the way home from volleyball.  I've been wanting to watch it and heard it's funny.  After some warm showers and getting snuggled into blankets, we watched "Mom's Night Out."  I liked it.  It's true that being a mom is one of the toughest and hardest jobs ever!  Ever!  But full of blessings and kisses and hugs and kisses and hugs and laughter!  If you are a mom that needs a fun laugh, watch the movie!  :)

October is only half way gone.  We have another two weeks of O-C-T-O-B-E-R and it will be busy.  More volleyball games.  More weekend getaways.  More family time!

I love fall time!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Fun at the fair!

Going to the local parade has many memories for us.  We've done it as a family for years now.  We have our routine down pat.  Well, kinda.  Usually, we park close to one of the parade streets, set up our chairs and wait for the fun to start!  The kids look forward to this night because it's full of trucks, music bands and free candy!  I actually remembered paper bags for the kids this year!  Other years we would leave with all kinds of paper literature, pens and candy hanging from our pockets and stroller.  This year, however, we left with our three small bags full of goodies!  :)

One huge bummer was that Mike was not with us!  He had a very long day of work with making shed repairs and stops all day long!  He called and said that it would be around 8 PM till he got home.  Now what?  Do the kids and I still go?  We wanted to but I so didn't want to go without my hubby!!!  Hadassah's volleyball game got postponed to the next day and so now we had even extra time to go and enjoy the night!  I pouted a little inside but then decided to make it a fun night for us anyway!  Then, then I got a text from Marlene saying that her hubby was not into the parade idea either but she wants to take the three older kids!  Bingo!!!  We made quick arrangements as to where to meet!  I pulled Ashlyn on the wagon and then used that for our seat!  The kids had fun gathering the candy and watching as they stood along the street.  Marlene and I enjoyed the night chatting and drinking our hot coffee and cider.  She even was given a free long john donut from a local bakery!  Hadassah also won a free hot dog from another float going by!  We did miss the men not being with us but the night was still fun and exciting!  Thanks Marlene and kiddoes for joining us!!!

Ashlyn and Colson having fun watching the parade go by ...
 And, yes, we sat beside Hunter too for some of the parade!  We all love this little guy so much!
 Matthew is with his annual parade friends too ... Jayden and Derrell.
 Our winners of the night!!!  :)

On Thursday after school, we watched another one of Hadassah's volleyball games!  She is a great server and she earned many points for her team with her over hand serves!  Good job girls!  They won both games!!!

With the weather getting colder outside now, our Settlers Game is calling our name!  :)  We had the first for this fall (of many I'm sure) night with Mike's parents playing settlers on Friday night.  Mike and I didn't have the best of games and were not happy to have both dad and mom beat us but we know there will be more opportunities to win!!!  :)  So fun!  The kids seem to enjoy the snacks and lazy late nights too! 

Saturday was the first day of archery but Mike did not have his new (new to him) bow sighted in.  Matthew, Ashlyn and Mike went to the archery store and it only took Mike a few shots before his bow and now ready for the woods!  He likes to hunt but his passion for deer hunting has diminished a lot within the past few years!  Archery season is still his favorite and I won't be one bit surprised if he makes a few trips to the mountains in the next few weeks.  After they got back from the archery shop, Mike and I took the afternoon together to go look for some furniture.  We went to four different places now and still don't have an order placed!  Sigh!!!  Are we picky?  I did see what I would love to order and at a good price but is leather really the way to go?  Maybe not?  We did spy out a nice living room set and sat on it and liked it a lot.  Now we just need to decide on the fabric and make the order go on paper!  Then pay the bill.  :/  Soon.  :)  The afternoon was fun though and time with Mike always goes so fast!  Thanks Hun for going with me and trying to make a decision.  :)   

We headed for home with first picking up the kids at Lena's.  Thanks lady friend!  We wanted to go over to the fair and watch the tug a war rope pull!  Mike and I used to do this every year when we first got married but Matthew didn't remember it.  I was surprised and excited to let him watch the pulls and cheer.  We knew him and Hadassah would like it!  Ashlyn on the other hand was begging to go home soon after it started. 

The night was chilly and we were reminded that we have to dress in layers on nights like these!  Mike was shivering and cold.  We tried staying warm by walking the fair streets.  Many, many food stands!  We picked out a few and grabbed some pretzel wraps that were delicious!  We ate some ribbon crab fries which were also very good.  Next we all took a bite from Mike's warm waffle ice cream sandwich.  Then a few bites of funnel cake.  We finished off with hot coffee and a ride on the marry go round.  Then we settled in to watch the rope pulls!  The crowd cheered and hollered and blew whistles and hollered again!  This is why Ashlyn was not real impressed!  :)  We were there to cheer Matt Lapp on too.  We again sat with the Lapp family and even though we were ready for warmth, the night was a blast!

 All out of puff ...

Yesterday, was Sunday School and fellowship for us.  We came home for lunch and then acted lazy.  Mike did go out for a run (he's getting into his running shoes again and putting the bike away for the colder months).  We invited Matt's and Dutchies to come for soup and fellowship!  The kids always have no problem playing and us adults always have no problem catching up on our busy lives.  Thanks guys for coming and spending the evening with us!

For the start of my week it's laundry time.  Grocery time.  The architech is coming out to do the very first baby steps of our upcoming home remodeling project.  Making the first measurements and drawings will be in the making soon.  Then we make a visit to the dentist.

Oh, how fall is truly here and the heat is slowly being used here at our home.  The leaves are slowly changing their colors and falling to the ground.  The comfort foods are being enjoyed and my second batch of squash soup is being eaten.!.  Bring on the pumpkin smells and tastes!

Enjoy today!  Enjoy autumn time!

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!!!