Sunday, June 24, 2018

Bad Boy, Cotton Candy and Guitars

My parents have been dividing up their time between the home near us and the home in the mountains. When they leave this home I go over and keep it mowed so they don't return home to a jungle. This year we traded in the old antique Grasshopper zero turn mower for a much newer Bad Boy zero turn mower. It's freakishly fun to use and I offered to bring it over and mow with it instead of their John Deere. I just needed a small trailer since I didn't want to haul the mower on the cumbersome car hauler. They let us use their little utility trailer which fits it wonderfully. Fun times!





To celebrate the end of VBS I took the kids out to lunch last Friday at the local Olive Garden. They went nuts over the non-alcholic drink menu which had some sour apple cotton candy concoction (say that three times). I said "Sure!" since I usually say no. They brought out these giant drinks topped with layers of cotton candy. I could almost hear the cavities forming. They sure raved about them though.




Every other week the kids and I make the trek into the feed store to feed the hoard of animals we have. To make the experience enjoyable we often stop at the antique mall right next to the feed store. It doesn't look large from the outside but on the inside it's a sprawling building full of little booths with this and that. Some antiques, some new stuff and a lot of junk. It's a lot of fun finding things. Wesley has found some treasures over the years. He found a box with someones rock collection from over the years once, he's a rock lover so that was a great find. This week we wandered around and came across a nice guitar with a strap and stand. He stood there looking at it for awhile and said "Mom I've always wanted to learn to play the guitar." So, $59 later he has a entry level Lyon guitar. We haven't started the hunt for a instructor yet but plan to.




Every year like clock work I usually write something about the koi pond. It's a big project each spring emptying it, blowing out the two tons of wet leaves, filling it and getting the pump going. Each year the reed grass move to take over another portion of the pond, it frustrating. This year Sean offered to help me cut the grass out. The roots grow like a mat of carpet on top of the liner, sometimes a foot deep. It's gross work, standing in sludge while trying to chop out roots as thick as your thumb. We worked most of the day and removed about a 4 foot section. It doesn't sound like much but it opened up a large chunk of pond. Thanks Sean!






VBS

Another year of vacation bible school has come and gone. The church asked me to once again run the arts and crafts station (apparently I did a good enough job last year). It's kind of a crazy week full of fun and the kids have a great time. My mom helped me out again for three days, which I greatly appreciated as I never know if I'll have helpers. The theme this year was Roaring River Rapids and we got to do all sorts of woodsy, camp crafts including compass necklaces, sand art and beaded bracelets.  This is Wesley and Alex's last year of VBS so they will be helpers next year.





Friday, June 22, 2018

Snow Cones

We discovered a local snow cone joint last year and I promised we would go often this summer. School has been out for nearly a month and we've gone at least 5 times. I'm officially burnt out of snow cones but the kids would probably eat them daily (not that I would let them). So many flavors to try, so little time!





Pigs

I could of sworn that I posted about our newest critters but I can't find the post anywhere. Several months ago, I believe it was February, we got a call from a friend saying she knew of two guinea pigs needing a new home. Her friend is pregnant and having issues with allergies and these two little guys needed to go. Wesley had been wanting a guinea pig for about a year. I gave him all of my books about them from when I had pigs growing up. He'd been doing his research and saving money.


The gal giving them away just wanted them to go to a good home and gave all of supplies and pets away for free. It was very sweet of her! They are named Jasper and Ralph and live up in Wesley's room. They get to come out of their main cage and run around the play area for several hours each day and usually once a day the kids cover Wesley's bed with a quilt and let them up that to run and get loved on. They are very loved guinea pigs!

Friday, June 1, 2018

Smushed

Pulling my car into the garage is pretty much done on autopilot these days. I pull the car out of the garage and expect there to be an empty stall for me to pull into when I return.....right? Well last week I pulled the car in and went inside the house without really thinking about anything and Sean pulls his car in a few hours later. He walks in and tells me that I ran over his car charger (he bought a Chevy Volt that plugs in). Sure enough I ran my car completely over his car charger. Oops! It kind of worked but if you moved the cord it would turn on and off, definitely not a safe option for charging the car overnight.

So he got online to find a replacement and discovered they are $390 (ouch!). Boy did I feel bad! Sean decided he would see if he could just fix it, after all it's just a big electric cord. He's repaired many of those over the years. She he spread out his tools on the table and took the whole thing apart. He shortened the cord by a couple of feet but it's now working great. He's sure a handy guy!


Monday, May 28, 2018

A Bike Rider!

Greta passed a milestone this past weekend. She decided she wanted to take the training wheels off of her bike. She'd been holding on to them for quite a while even though I think she could ride without them but she had to make the decision. She's always been the sort of kid that had to flip a switch in her head and say "I can do this!" and she did just that. We are so proud of her!


Sean showed both kids how to check the air pressure in their tires and how to fill them up with the air compressor.




Friday, May 18, 2018

Wild West and Play

Wesley had his fifth grade field trip to a wild west festival this year. It was a gathering of all sorts of people that showed the kids survival skills from the pioneer days. They got to learn about shooting bow and arrows (Wesley was pretty good at this), BB guns, bee keeping, black powder guns & hatchet throwing. It was a great day for kids and adults alike.






His class worked hard on their Go West play this year. They all did a great job! Here is a small video of Wesley with his part (hard to hear I know) and their first song.



My parents have been going through their house and donating stuff that they will no longer use. My Mom came across her Civil War reenactment clothing and decided to donate it to the music program at Wesley's school. Here is a link to my Mom in the outfit for the reenactment. I was excited to see a girl wearing it at the play.


Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Animal Park

Greta had her second grade field trip a couple of weeks ago. It's the third time I've been here for a field trip and each time I'm able to get some pretty cool pictures of animals up close and personal. It's an animal park that allows people a different experience than a normal zoo. It's smaller and lets you feed and pet certain animals. It's pretty cool for kids to see. We had a great time.


There is a kangaroo enclosure full of moms with their babies. If they are lying down then you are allowed to go up and pet them. It's a neat experience.


There was an island with a family of howler monkeys. The baby was 18 months old and was constantly climbing on the mom. Near the end of the trip I was walking by the enclosure and saw the mom just hanging from a rope. The baby was freaking out and screaming because he couldn't get to her. He would climb on a rope near by and would fling his body at her and she would just hang there. She knew that was the only place she could be alone. You could tell she was having enough of his toddler behavior. I'd never related so much to an animal as that moment. I remember that time with toddlers.



I couldn't resist taking a close up of this big freaky looking bird. He was just standing there with his wings straight out.


There is an enclosure full of guinea pigs and you can go in there and feed them. It's popular with the tiny people and this little guy was well loved among the pigs.


My favorite animals there were the goats. So many baby goats everywhere. Greta sure loved it too.


Each year there are baby ducks and giant koi which make for an interesting picture. I'm always worried about those baby ducks becoming fish food.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Eggs, Potatos, Bunnies and more

My kids really like YouTube. Greta gets up early most days and parks herself and her blanket on the computer chair and watches videos on YouTube. Most of the videos are about 5 minute crafts, or toy reviews. But recently she's been looking at science stuff. Slime making and such. She ran across a clip of someone putting an egg in a cup of vinegar. After 24 hours it will dissolve the hard shell leaving the intact membrane and egg. So of course she did this and 24 hours later she had this very cool shell-less egg. She played with it for several minutes before it popped all over the table. 



I just celebrated my three year vegan anniversary. Technically I should say "plant based" but we'll say vegan to make things easier. Do you know the difference between plant based and vegan? You go plant based for your health, and you go vegan for the animals. I love animals but I'm doing this for my health. I'm really enjoying it! It's so nice to find something that works for me, and it's carb heavy. I love carbs! My go to snack when I'm out running errands is a baked potato from Wendy's with several mustard packets and pepper. It's so good and healthy and fills me up for hours. I follow Dr. McDougall's program, here is a easy color picture book in case you're interested: LINK




My kids are not 100% plant based but eat a lot of plant based meals. They often ask for junk food and I give in some times. Other times I try to find healthier options for the junk food they crave. I was given a silicone donut baking tray for Christmas (thanks Mom & Dad) and finally got around to trying it out. I found an oil free vegan donut recipe and baked them in the oven. They turned out so delicious! The kids devoured them.




We've been trying to get Tuttles out of her cage more often lately. She's not exactly a pleasant rabbit, often trying to literally bite the hand that feeds her. Once out of her cage she's nice and calms down. She's litter box trained in her cage but tends to lose that knowledge when running around Greta's room. But we're trying. Greta sure loves getting her out.



Sean has been busy with many projects lately. The skid steer has had an energy drain since we bought it. It needs to be hooked up to a trickle charger to keep the battery charged and Sean thought it was time to fix it. He took the batteries out and put in new cables. The bays that the batteries sit in were rusted and falling apart so he welded up new ones. It was quite the project taking two weekends. He's getting better and better at welding, soon he'll be at his fathers level. The skid steer is all back in working order and starts right up without the trickle charger which is nice.


Saturday, April 28, 2018

Plant Love

I love plants, always have. I've had a fascination with them since I was a kid. In college I took several summer jobs working at plant nurseries. I learned all about scientific names and growing techniques. In college I even contemplated going into botany or landscape design as a major. My weakness seems to be sad plants. Perhaps it's because I'm thrifty but I like finding good deals on plants that are a little stressed or sad, taking them home, repotting them and giving them care until they are back to thriving. Most of the plants on the property were clearance plants.

Last December I went to the feed store to get some animal food and there sitting outside in a rack were a bunch of clearance bulbs. They were all marked at 90% off and I knew if I didn't buy them they probably would have chucked them in the dumpster soon. So I bought all of them, it was like a whopping $6 for four massive bags of bulbs. They were mostly mixed tulip bulbs but there was a bag of some unidentified flower bulbs in there too (still not sure what I planted). So I got home and found the mildest day in December to go plant all of these bulbs. I put most of them up at the top of the driveway next to the road. Now every time I pull into the driveway I'm greeted with a colorful display of tulips. It was such a good find and this fall I plan to buy even more...maybe at full price (gasp!).


I planned on that being the end of the blog post but had to add my find yesterday. Once again I make my trek to the feed store (I always find the best stuff at the feed store apparently). There in front of the store was a pallet with some really sad bushes on it. They had gone through a freeze without being protected and had their leaves froze off. I've been planning of adding several berry bushes to our property this year. We already get gallons and gallons of blackberries each year and thought we needed raspberries and blueberries too. So when I went to investigate the sad bushes on the pallet I was delighted to see they were blueberry bushes and they were 50% off. Score! They had eight of them but I could only fit six in my SUV unfortunately. I'm excited to have fresh blueberries for the kids to pick.


Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Scrub-a-Dub

I remember, as a kid, cleaning a lot of cars. My Mom would work weekends often and my sister and I would go outside with my Dad and he'd put us to work. I remember waxing, vacuuming interiors, washing....pretty much detailing the family cars. He's a car enthusiast so there were many cars to clean. Fast forward 30 years....my car is a mess. We live on dirt/mud roads, I have messy kids and I transport all sorts of strange things in my car. It's not disgusting by any means. I don't let the kids eat or drink (for the most part) in the car so it's not some living experiment. But, it's usually got dust and dirt on it, in it and under it. And if it rains it becomes a mud monster. Case in point:


My Dad informed me a few weeks ago that he was going to come collect Wesley and my car and go teach him how to wash and detail it. I, of course, said "Wonderful, when will you be here?!". So off he went teaching Wesley the fine art of making a car spotless. They were out there for 5 hours washing, vacuuming, dusting, scrubbing and making it shine. Wesley did a great job and learned a lot. I got a beautiful car that has never been cleaner (seriously, it wasn't even this clean when we bought it!). Thanks Mom and Dad!






Monday, April 2, 2018

Happy Easter

We had a lovely Easter! The kids and I are fairly involved in our church, we've been going for two years now and really enjoy it. I joined the choir last fall and this was my first Easter cantata. We sang six songs and had a lot of fun.  We are very grateful to have found such a warm and welcoming church to attend.


Easter wouldn't be Easter without the local egg hunt at the ball park. We've been doing this every year since 2011. his year was the first year Wesley was too old for the egg hunt (It goes through 9 years old) so he and Alex hung back and watched the sisters race for loot. Greta has one more year.






Thursday, March 22, 2018

An outing to see Ivan

Spring break is in full swing. So far it's been far superior to last spring break since last year the kids were throwing up all week. The weather has been beautiful and we decided to go on an outing with my parents to see The Museum of World Treasures. They have a T-Rex skeleton they named Ivan. Ivan was quite impressive.


Greta and couldn't resist taking a selfie with Ivan.


They had quite the variety of exhibits including local fossils, Civil War, Ancient statues,  Vietnam War, Geology, Berlin Wall and WW2. There was a little of everything for everyone. The kids had fun, as did I.