Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A nice Spring day and I'm not kidding! :)

This morning I flipped the calendar page once again.  It's April 1st today, April Fools Day, and I'm excited to have the sun shining bright and the weather is pleasant!!!

We've been waiting and dreaming of nice warm weather for weeks now and today seems like Spring has sprung!  I'm not sure how much work I should do both inside and out because why make everything look nice and cleaned up and then have a tractor come drive in the yard and start digging?  But, I can't hold myself back!  :)  I'm so sure that my body will be sore tonight from all the extra stretching and bending over.  My belly is getting quite round!  (More and more people are asking when the baby's due date is.  When I say July they get a long face.  It seems long for everyone to hear a summer month I guess but I told Mike last night that it's better for me to count weeks instead of months!  I'm at 25 weeks now and only have 15 more to go!) 

Getting some work done outside is a great feeling!  Ashlyn and I went all along the house and the pine trees and raked out any leaves, twigs and winter dirt.  It made for a long trail of yuk in the yard.  She pulled the weeds that already have come up for me.  We also hoed the garden.  Blew out the flower beds and driveway.  We even mowed the yard!!!  We had to jump start the mower but when it got started, it worked great.  I went slowly along the yard line and picked up all the leaves and trash.  Hadassah then took over and mowed the rest of the lawn to pick up any more stray leaves.  It looks nice.  I have the roses to trim back.  The garden to plant now.  And more hoeing to do.  One thing at a time!  :)

Hadassah and Ashlyn on the mower.


Hunter was here with us today.  Matthew got the croquet balls out and they had a blast!



Our house project is still on hold.  We are waiting on the engineers and permits.  I'm not sure how the upkeep will all go around the house outside when the project does start?  I do know that the pine trees and garden will still need much attention.

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Last night we went to the Cross Connections Banquet.  We learned about an outreach for teenagers and families in need right in our nearby town.  Testimonies and stories and were shared at how they excepted Christ into their lives because of this ministry.  Local kids now have a place to play basketball inside and get some discipleship!  There were over 1,100 people at the banquet!  I was surprised when I heard that the guest speaker was Darrell Strawberry!!!  No wonder the place was packed up!  Darrell was a professional baseball player years back.  I remember him as a kid.  Mike was a fan of him and collected a few cards.  He even remembers praying for him time to time.  Mike also heard Darrell Strawberry share his testimony on TV about a year ago.  He was moved with his story.  This was a highlight and treat to hear him speak at this banquet!  Thanks to Uncle John's for inviting us to their table! 

We sat at a table right in the front.  Right beside Darrell's table.  They announced that with hosting 1,100 people at the banquet, there would be no way for everyone to get a signature from Darrell after he speaks.  So, before everyone arrived, they put 50 small pieces of paper under random seats through out the tables.  Everyone of course reached under their chairs to see if they were the chosen ones.  Our table chuckled and I said to Mike, "Don't look under mine yet.  Just wait."  A few minutes later, Mike reached under my chair and sure enough ... I had a paper!  Boy, was Mike excited!!!!  Immediately, he looked around at what he could put his signature on.  He left the banquet quickly and went to his office (it wasn't too far from where we were at) and got his wooden bat that was given to him.  He brought it back to the restaurant and after the banquet, we got in line for a signature.  Darrell Strawberry signed Mike's bat!!!  They posed for a picture.  Mike told him that he prayed for him years ago.  Darrell was grateful! 





Darrell's story was very inspiring.  He talked about his childhood struggles.  How his dad left his mom and family when he was just thirteen.  He struggled with issues and throughout life.  He battled with the thought "Who am I?"  Even when thousands of people would cheer him on after a home run, he ran around the bases still asking himself, "Who am I?"  God took hold of his life after much selfishness.  Darrell accepted Jesus into his heart and is now a different man!  He encouraged the teenagers.  He encouraged those who are struggling in life.  He quoted lots of scripture and closed in prayer!  He now has two places in Florida that help struggling teens and young people!

The evening was great!  The message of Cross Connections is needed!  Darrell Strawberries message was a message of hope and of helping others.  We were blessed to be there!!!

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Spring has arrived!  I can't wait to go get some seeds and plant the garden!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Ashlyn turns 4!

Our toddler turns four today!  She was so happy to wake up this morning with Mike and the other kids still at home!  She immediately asked if she is now four years old?!!  Yes!  She's been looking forward to her birthday for awhile now and so she was all smiles this morning!

Last Thursday, I did my cleaning here at home and at lunch time I remembered that Wee Useables Consignment Sale was that day!  I've gone other years with not getting a whole lot but since we are thinking "maternity", "baby" and "birthday", I decided to go have a look.  I was glad I did!

I've been online looking at some doll houses for Ashlyn.  Hadassah never had a nice one when she was younger.  But played doll a lot with "Anna and Kate".  The past few weeks, Ashlyn however, plays so much with her pet shop animals and Polly pocket dolls.  I knew she would love to play with a doll house.  I thought and said a simple prayer, that maybe I would find a doll house at the consignment sale.?!

Ashlyn and I went to the sale and there were tons of ladies and moms shopping with tons of options and clothing and baby gear, etc.!  I went straight to the toys and as we walked down the many long tables, I spied a doll house!  It was the exact one that I was looking at online!  With tons of accessories!  I tried to call Mike and see if I should pay $$$ for a birthday gift.  He didn't answer.  So I kept walking and looking at all the other toy options.  At the end of the row, was another large doll house!  It had a few accessories.  When Ashlyn saw it, she beamed!!!  She went right to it and called it a castle!  :)  I tried to call Mike again and I asked for his advice.  The second house was cheaper and Ashlyn seemed to like it best!  Yes, it would make a perfect birthday gift for her!!!  She was so happy and full of smiles when I told her we could pay for it and take it along home!!!  We finished up a few more shopping and came home to set up and clean up the doll house and accessories!  I was delighted to see her have so much fun with it right away!  We set up the house and she played all afternoon with it!


 
 
The doll house has been played with a lot already.  I know she will play and play with it! 
 
I kept thinking about a small party for her but wasn't sure when?  We have plans tonight.  I grabbed a few party things at Target the other day and when Marlene texted us yesterday asking what we were doing, we decided to make pizza and cupcakes and have them over for a party and some fellowship!
 




 
She was excited to share her yummy cupcakes with Colson and Jessica!  :)  The party was last minute but fun!  Hadassah set up some pink plates and blew up some pink balloons.  We gathered in the basement and sang happy birthday.  The kids played while we played one game of settlers.  Fun time!  Thanks for coming Matt and Marlene!
 
 
This morning when Ashlyn woke up, Matthew went right to the computer and put on the birthday song.  We have done this same song for all our birthdays.  It's got a catchy tone and brings excitement into the air.  We danced in the living room as we sang the song to Ashlyn!  We also gave her a small cash register, so her and I played "store" after the kids went to school and Mike went to work.
 



 
Chocolate Chip Pancakes with a candle make a fun breakfast for Ashlyn.  :)
 
She's been getting gifts and calls today with happy birthday wishes!  She is so proud to say that now she is "four"!!!
 
We love you so much Ashlyn and we couldn't imagine life without your spice and cuteness!!!  We wish you a very happy birthday and pray that God will keep you safe and healthy for many, many more years!!!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Soccer Mom!

I am now a "soccer mom".  :)

Hadassah is all into sports at school and does well.  She does so well that she made the starting teams for all the sports she played this year so far.  It is now soccer season and they played their first game on Tuesday.  Although they didn't win, the girls always do best with a few games played.  They barely had time to practice outside with the weather conditions and going into a game vs. Hinkletown was a bit soon for their skills to be sharp.  :)

Hadassah is running a lot too!  They run a 5K usually twice a week at school plus soccer practice plus the games!  She loves every bit of it and her muscles are being sore from all the extra stretching.

It was such a chilly afternoon.  Ashlyn, Matthew and I bundled up in warm clothes.  I even had made hot tea for us to sip on while we watch.  Well, Ashlyn ended up falling asleep on the way to the game and there was a nice play for me to park right along the side lines and watch from the Yukon.  No need for extra layers after all.


Hadassah is a forward and you needed to keep moving to stay warm!


Picking up extra girls at school and then going to these events is fun and takes extra time but I am liking the season we are in.  I love to see the kids compete and play well!!!

Go soccer team!!!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Happy Spring!!!

With it being the first day of Spring, I am rejoicing!!!  The calendar tells us that it is now officially Spring but the weather outside and telling us it's still winter!!!  :(  As much as I want it to get warm and be "spring", it is snowing today.  All day long.  It's giving us a few inches of that white, cold snow.  It doesn't go with the exciting first day of spring feeling but maybe tomorrow when it hits 50 degrees, it will begin to feel like spring time.


Instead of going to a greenhouse, we house cleaned the shop today.  That place gets so dirty from all the men working and eating there!  It needed a deep cleaning big time!!!  Ashlyn and Addison had a real blast playing while us ladies cleaned.  We said a final goodbye to the cleaning day as Fannie Lynn mopped up a big puddle of water on the lunch room floor because Addison decided to flood the floor by pushing the water dispenser for long!  :)  I kinda think it's cute but if it were my child, it would not be very happy.  Fannie mopped and soaked up the water and then we all called it a day!  It was time to be done anyway!  The lunchroom, bathrooms and office area all look nice and clean!!!

With it snowing outside and being all wet and yucky, Ashlyn and I came home for showers and relax time.  I smell the potatoes in the oven baking.  I have steaks on the counter marinating in a herby sauce.  Salad wedges will go great as our side dish!  I was inspired by watching "Pioneer Women" with this meal.  Mike thought it all looked great and so we are going to try it tonight for supper!  I decided to go out in the snow and grill the steaks even though it's still snowing outside.  I can't wait to see how the steaks taste because I got another new cookbook the other night.  (I'm a big cookbook fan!  I love to look through them and try new recipes!  Especially if it's full of colorful pictures with each recipe!!!  I think it's a hobby of mine!)  Thanks to Dorcas Stutzman for the recipe and new cookbook!  If it's a new favorite, I'll share the ingredients!  :)

Also, while looking through the cookbook, I came across "Creamed Eggs".  Mom never made these at home for us when we were kids but I remember her and Jody saying that they love them.  I decided to try the recipe in Dorcas' cookbook and it is a winner!!!  I only made a tiny bit yesterday morning for me but then made a bigger go this morning for Hadassah and I.  We both love it!  Hard boiled eggs are mixed in a creamy sauce!!!  Then topped on a piece of toast.  I added fresh spinach and a half avocado to mine on the side!  Delicious!!!!! 

 
 
OK, the steaks are grilled and supper is waiting for Mike to come home!!!  Ashlyn said, "Mom, it smells like restaurant in here!"  :)  I think the smell of hot steaks and baked potatoes smells like a good dinner to her!!!  :)
 
Maybe tomorrow morning I will wake up and feel spring!?!  The weather is to warm up so the snow will not stay long.  We are ready to work in the garden and think Spring!!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

March blessings.

March is going by fast.  It's just two more days until the first day of Spring!!!  I'm not sure how I will celebrate just yet, but I will!!!!  I love Spring time and especially when the weather starts to warm up and the ground thaws out!  Maybe I'll make my first greenhouse visit?  Just because I love greenhouses and I keep thinking about all the hundreds of seeds that have been started and already growing in there!!!  Or maybe we will all go for free ice from Rita's?  Or maybe we will watch it snow?  The weather is predicting a small amount of snow on Friday. 

Thinking of seeds, I wasn't sure how much of my garden I will plant this spring/summer.?.  I'm still uncertain but seeing fresh lettuce sprouts and filling my small raised bed with herbs and vegetables will be hard to hold back on.  I know how I am with plants and I'm sure it will totally thrill me to plant them once again.  My draw back from filling up my small raised bed with plants will be the house project.  I would love to expand the garden some day but I also know that's not even an option right now when everything else will be dug up and the back yard looking like a mess.  First things first.  I dream of next year having some new garden beds!  :)  Also, I know that we will be in and out of the remodeling house once it does finally get started but to have to come and pull weeds and keep after lots of veggies looks a little overwhelming.  I will be relying on the children's help more and more!  And, and with baby coming in July, that will keep me from hoeing the garden and working in there for a few weeks during recovery.  We are very blessed with lots of road side stands in our neighborhood and finding fresh veggies will not be hard but there is still nothing like harvesting from your own soil!  :)

Flowers will be hard to say no to this spring and summer.  I love to plant tons of petunias and annuals and pots and make everything thrive with color and full bloom during the summer months.  Getting new landscaping around the house and out back will be so nice though!  I know it will look nice when it's all finished!  That seems like a dream some days, but in reality, it will all come together. 

The house project is still the same story.  I was not understanding the whole situation until the other day and I'm still not 100% I get the plans ... but it's OK.  I thought we were waiting on the township all this time.  Truth is that we still need a stamped blueprint from Quality Design yet.  I thought we were finished with them.  Wrong.  Mike's expecting that any time!  Then their engineer needs to approve it.  Then it goes to the township.  Then to us and then to the builders!!!  Mike seems all cool with the waiting process because he thinks waiting for better working conditions outside and hoping that the shed business will pick up soon, is best.  I know it's the truth but I still can't hardly hold myself from asking each day, "Did we get the permit?"  Time is ticking right along with my pregnancy and the dreams of being settled into the new house before baby is becoming a false dream.  Most likely, baby will arrive before the house is ready to move in.  I'm trying to be OK with that and my prayer continues to be "Give me patience, God!  I know your timing will be perfect!  Don't let me get stressed out about the little or big things.  Help me to make memories as we go and stay positive!  Amen."  I know that my attitude will change the whole situation for the better if I keep thinking optimist!  The whole project will get done.  When it gets done.  Maybe not in July?  Maybe not till fall?  I must be OK with that!!!

Meanwhile, I am trying to do all I can before I get a too big baby belly!  Last week, Ashlyn and I stopped by the paint store to get a feel of colors.  I am not a natural at seeing the whole room painted before it really is painted.  It's hard for me to visualize it all.  I am really hoping that the professionals at the store will help me!!!  :)  The lady suggested that I start with picking out some flooring and granite.  Then choose the wall colors.  That sounded good to me.  So, on Saturday, Mike and I went to the flooring store to pick out some tile, hard wood, carpet and bathroom shower tile.  I know I want the feeling of something warming and soft.  Bright colors are not what I'm thinking right now.  Add some pop with accents later sounds better!  :)  We looked around the store and did find some favorites.  We were told to come back the following week and talk to their designer.  So, yesterday Ashlyn and I went back but she wasn't there.  I now have an appointment made to meet with her and go over some flooring plans!  :)  Should be fun!  We also stopped at the granite store to see some options.  Ashlyn and I picked up Mike and went right next door from the shop to take a look.  I was really hoping to find a piece that pops out to us but it didn't happen.  I have another place to go to tomorrow.  This warehouse has many, many more options.  Next, will probably be picking out faucet fixtures, etc..  And deciding on a new head board for our bed.  I'm also still waiting to hear from one of the cabinet guys pricing and hopefully we will have all that rolling along soon too.  There's so much to decide about but I feel like the more I get done now, the easier and faster the projects will actually go when the starting day arrives!!!  Plus, I have the time right now before the Spring rush begins.  It will soon be time to be working outside, going to ballgames and finishing up the last of school. 

I packed up a few more boxes from the kitchen cabinets this morning.  The laundry is being done.  Hunter is here today and so Ashlyn has a fun play mate!  I am so blessed to be feeling well at 23 weeks pregnant!  The sun is shining and even though it is chilly outside, the birds are chirping!  My man is at work.  The older kids are in a Christian school learning.  I feel baby move a lot inside my growing belly!  I am so blessed!!! 

"Thank you Lord for these many blessings!!!  I praise you today for loving me!"

Amen.

PS.  I can't wait to go to yard sales!!!  The girls and I went to an indoor clothing sale on Friday evening and found a few more items for Ashlyn.  We will be looking at the paper and apps for upcoming sales!!!  Bring it on!!!! 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

It feels like Spring!

Here I sit while the kids and hubby are outside playing their usual Spring games!  The minute Mike pulls up the driveway, the kids are all at him!  I warned him a time or two that if he's on the phone or just not ready to be bombarded when he gets home, drive around the block!  Because when daddy comes home, we all cheer!!!

Mike plays a huge role in our home and he interacts with the children every single day.  Some days he can more than others BUT he always has some amount of time for them.  And me!  :)

With the tempts being in the 40's and 50's this week, the kids have played outdoors a lot!!!  The other night while I was in the kitchen fixing supper, the kids were outside and it was so quiet inside!  I almost forget how it feels to send them outside without layers of clothing on and hoping they don't come back inside frozen!!!  It's been a real treat to have them all roam the outside again!

Hadassah bounces balls back and forth the front walks over and over again!  She hums and sings as she bounces the soccer ball or basketball.  They as soon as Mike comes home, she finds the volleyball and wants to bump with him.  He does.  They bump back and forth while they chat. 

Then Matthew goes running for his new "in training" baseball glove!  Mike and Matthew play catch every single night and even though they simply enjoy this, it really helps gets both of them warmed up for the ball season! 

Ashlyn rides her little pink bike (thanks to John Mike and Mim) around the drive way.  Or blows bubbles.  Her latest is she wants to play catch too with daddy!  They get the volleyball and bounce it back and forth.  She feels important and loves all the time Mike spends with her. 

I knew that when the weather conditions break and it gets warmer outside, we would all be outside to enjoy it!  With the snow still melting, it's making lots of muddy shoes and boots! 

After school today, Matthew and Ashlyn went out to the field and came back with mud caked shoes!  And jackets and gloves.  They all went right into the washer!  I may as well get used to seeing muddy boots because when this house remodeling gets under way, it will be one mud hole for awhile!  :/

Speaking of housing ... we got our blueprint back from Quality Design.  We need to look over all the measurements and if everything is good to go, we give a stamped blueprint to the township.  They look over that and if approved, we get our permit!  Or I think that's how it goes?  This whole project is beyond my expertise!!!  I do know for certain that we still have things in the attic that need cleaned out!  Maybe we will get to that project on Saturday.  I have this and that's that could be put in storage but I still want a cozy house until we really need to pack everything up!  We have quit a bit stored already! 

This is some of what's been happening evenings here this week!

Matthew is stacking the pavers from the back porch to be used to expand the campfire area.  We will get stamp crete with the new house. 


  Throwing catch!


 Blowing bubbles!
 A hard throw!!!
 Bouncing balls!
 Playing catch.
 I look for my first signs of Spring in the birds!!!  I couldn't wait to see the first robin around our house!
 Muddy, muddy boots.






 Ginger is loving the outdoors too!  She loves to run in the back yard and get some long yearned for fresh air!