Sunday, October 30, 2011


Its hard to believe but we got a snow storm yesterday. While it only dropped about two inches of heavy, wet snow, it was quite out of the ordinary. We haven't even had a real frost yet! Fortunately, we were unaffected by the storm. We did hear, however, that only a few miles from us there was a 30 car pile up early this morning, and two people died in a separate accident nearby.

Friday, October 28, 2011

James' School Report

I am happy to say that James has been happily trotting off to school the last several weeks without any problems. He has yet to have a bad day at school, saying each day was super! fantastic! spectacular! He is making friends and has sadly learned about 5 ways to make fart noises from his friends. Friends...He has friends! Little people his age, who sit around and laugh like little old men at the thought of bacon, or their little brothers riding on motorcycles or teaching each other various ways to make the aforementioned noises. Among James' friends, there are a few girls. One little girl sits at his table, and she always says 'bye' to him when she leaves. The other day, she said goodbye and James just stuck his head down and wouldn't respond. When we got in the car, he threw a paper up in the front seat that had hearts all over it. Well, let me tell fast can you say 'handsoffmysonlittlekindergartengirl!!!' Alas, James informed me that she had made pictures for several of the kids, but I do think he was a little embarrassed by it. Today his teacher called to give us a mini-progress report. He hit way above the benchmark for identifying letter sounds, and above benchmark and average for letter recognition. No surprise, she said he likes to ask questions to make sure he heard things right. She also said he always behaves, which of course was good to hear. I think James' primary concern right now is learning to read. He wants to read so badly!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tyler and Wasabi Peas

Jeff brought some wasabi peas home from work yesterday. Tyler wanted to try one. He made a really awesome face when the heat hit him, then chugged on his sippy cup. Then he went for another, and another, and another. He must have eaten at 20-25 of them. After each one, he would take a drink and then slam back another one. It was so funny (and unbelievable) that we had to take a video.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

13 Years

On this day back in 1998, we had our first date. Jeff was a whopping 17 years old and I was robbing the cradle at 18 years of age. Its a wonder Jeff ever wanted to see me again after he saw my car. It was pretty awesome the way the wiring was all funky. The horn would honk if I pushed the blinker wrong, or randomly when I was shifting gears. Yes, it was a standard transmission. You could also electrocute yourself if you touched the horn and the window trim at the same time. I used to occasionally leave me keys in the ignition with the doors unlocked, but still, no one ever stole it. It was with that car that we went on our first date. Sweet ride, eh?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Houston, We Have An Egg!

Big Martha, the last of the chickens, finally laid an egg!!! I was quite excited to find an 'easter egg' in the nest box on Saturday. She had been hanging out in there, squawking away, and I just knew she would lay an egg. We can't decide whether it is considered green or blue...but its cool, none the less. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

My Husband Can Beat Up Your Husband

 Jeff informed James today that he could rip a Philadelphia phone book (~3" thick) in half. I laughed. I figured he was just messing around. Well, we found a dusty and unloved phone book in the garage. Does anyone use a phone book anymore? Anyway, Jeff went to work trying to rip the phone book in half. It was pretty amusing, really. There was a lot of grunting involved, but not a lot of anything else. The phone book remained in tact. Of course, I was really laughing at this point. I just knew he couldn't do it. He replied with a 'You don't think I can do it? Just watch me!' After expending quite a bit of effort, a small crack appeared in the phone book. I was still skeptical. Jeff kept at it and sure enough, he ripped the phone book in half! Consider me officially impressed (and proved wrong). I think we make quite a pair. Jeff can rip a phone book in half and I am armed with a monster rolling pin. ha, ha!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Good Surprise/Bad Surprise

I found this picture on the camera. Jeff must have taken it. Good surprise!

I found 4 eggs in the chicken coop yesterday, which means that Chicken DUMBpling laid an egg! Woo! I thought for sure that chicken was going to take years to lay. She has a tiny comb and is dumber than a box of rocks. Poor thing can't figure out how to get back in the run, even after she watches the rest of them run in. She never roosts to sleep. She just conks out on the floor, sometimes on the lawn mower. She always gets pushed aside when they get 'treats.' But! She laid an egg yesterday. Good surprise!

...and then...the bad surprise. I got out of the shower and heard Tyler at the door saying something that sounded suspiciously like 'I pooped on Katie's floor.' Turns out, he did. Bad surprise! Aren't you glad I didn't post a picture of that one?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Coat

 This is my cheesy 'are you taking a picture or not????' smile

Here is the coat I finished! Thanks Jeff for not telling me the collar was flipped up. ;) The nitty gritty details are on the crafty blog.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Thursday, October 13, 2011

I Could Get Used To That

For the first time since we started our preschool 'co-op,' today was my day to be footloose and fancy free. Last week Tyler faked me out with a stuffy nose, so I kept him with me. Did he end up getting sick? Of course not. He was a little peach, though. Anyway, to spend my 1.5 hours of kid-less time, I decided to stop at Home Depot and get a can of spray paint. It is for a project that could turn out very nice, or very ugly. Four dollars are on the line here, folks. We'll see. Side note: I must be getting old. They let me buy the paint without checking my driver's license. Little to they know I will be out tagging railroad cars tonight with my robin's egg blue rustoleum!!! Just kidding. Was I going somewhere with this? Oh, yes, my morning off. After procuring said spray paint, I headed over to Barnes and Noble where I got myself a cup o' peppermint tea and plopped myself down with a few books from the Art section. It was nice. I do feel sad to see that B&N has deteriorated to a run-down looking version of its former self. The chairs were literally threadbare, with stuffing protruding from the arms. I opted for the (hopefully) less germ-infested wooden chairs, only a short distance away from a shoeless man sleeping in a chair. Not sure what that was about, but hey, I got to drink an entire cup of tea while it was still hot!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Questionable Way To Entertain Your Children

It's even more fun when you can roll Dad in the barrel!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


James has been wanting a go-cart for a looooooooong time, relatively speaking. He is 6, afterall.

 We found the plans from Family Fun, which is one of my favorite magazines.

The other day we measured and marked out the sides, seat and seat back. James loved it! He didn't even realize he was practicing handwriting. Sneaky mom.

Today I am hoping we can cut out the pieces. Wish me luck! My building credentials are limited to being an honorary gusset inspector at the ripe old age of 8-ish, and building the chicken coop. The plans do look very straightforward, though, so I think we can do it! If not, we'll recruit Jeff to bail us out!

Monday, October 10, 2011

How Do You Like Them Apples?

Some of the goods

Last week we went to Lancaster and I bought, oh...a wee bit of fruit. Six half bushels of apples, a half bushel of pears and about eight pounds of Concord grapes. I made jam with the grapes, dried some of the pears and canned the rest, by way of Vanilla Pear Butter and Honey Vanilla Pears. Over the past week I have been doing the apples, and on Saturday my friend Jess came over and we kicked some major canning booty! All told, we got 34 quarts of applesauce, 18 pints of spiced apples and apples leftover for whatever ails ya. While I was cranking away at the applesauce, Jeff-the-engineer decided to make some sweet mods to my food strainer. After threatening reminding him not to permanently modify anything, he got to work. Next thing you know, I was cranking that bad boy with the cordless drill. Wee! That made things go quick. Super Jeff, to the rescue!

Cordless Drill Modifications!

The little puppy dog waiting for me to spill some (either that, or he's trying to figure out how to take the thing apart and build a bomb with it....yeah, that could be it. He is Jeff's son, after all.)

Random Chicken Picture: they are obsessed with toes! Actually, anything that looks like food is on their list of targets.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Random Randomness

  • I am nearly finished making myself a double-breasted fall coat! I never thought coat making was within my capabilities, but apparently I was wrong. Pictures to come.
  • James gave me approximately half a kiss when he went to school today. Was this the same kid who was crying everyday up until last week?! 
  • Katie has turned our kitchen table into her own personal art studio. She made me 15 cards yesterday, no joke...I counted. There are about 9 million little shards of paper on my floor. 
  • Tyler found the markers and 'decorated' the cedar chest. Um, thanks?
  • We are having the most beautiful weather today. I think I should go outside and plant my garlic.
  • In keeping with my morbid curiosity with polygamy, Jeff and I watched the second season of Sister Wives last night, courtesy of the library. It was just as weird as I expected.
  • Our dryer is broken and I have an abnormally large backup of laundry. If I go missing, tell Jeff to look for me under the towering pile of princess undies and cowboy clothes. This could get ugly.

Thursday, October 06, 2011


James holding his sleeping brother's hand
James and Tyler on the way back from Lancaster

The boys found a wagon to climb on

And a picture of Katie for good measure!

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Art Lessons!

Today marked the official start of our unofficial art lessons. We booked it back from school to find the kids arriving at the house. There were soon 6 excited kids running around my front yard screaming like banshees. Eric saw the ensuing chaos and jumped ship, or rather drove off in his speedy blue mini van. (Candi, you should have heard those tires squealing! Just kidding :) We got right down to business and started our project. When I saw the idea for this one I knew we had to try it. Here are a few pictures of the chaos fun.

 James (he better not flash that look for school pictures tomorrow!)
 The Gang, minus Tyler
 Cheese! (James did NOT want his picture taken)
 Katie, on the other hand...
 Take my picture!!
 Emma and Katie

P.S. I forgot to take pictures of the finished craft. Duh! You can click on the link to see what it is supposed to look like. We took sandwich bags filled with red/yellow/orange hole punches and taped it into the window, so the leaves would 'fall.' They turned out really cute.

Afterward, the kids collected eggs from the coop and Noah grilled me on how chickens have babies. It was awesome. It went something like this:

Noah: Can we keep the eggs? We can't eat them because they are going to turn into baby chickens, right?
Me: No, you need a rooster to have baby chickens.
Noah: Huh? Why?
Me: Well, you have to have a mommy and a daddy chicken to have baby chickens.
Noah: Why do you need a mommy AND a daddy?
Me: Ask your dad.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

I Hereby Dub Thee....

Tyler...the Pocket Sized Dictator. Tyler has been getting up at odd hours of the night, crying. Not really loud crying, but crying none the less. The trouble is, if I don't get him almost immediately, he will wake the other two first. Katie is particularly sensitive to noise when she is sleeping. There is nothing quite like having two kids up at the same time, crying. I try to avoid it. That leaves me with one option, at least for a sleep deprived mother. Plop the kid in bed next to me and go back to sleep. After all, he is pretty darn comfy to snuggle with. The trouble is that he is used to his crib, and seems to sleep better in there. When he is with us, he will sleep, wake up, sit up and say 'Mom,' then sprawl out on top of me and say 'tickle,' at which point I tickle his back and he falls asleep. Ten minutes later he wakes up again, and sure enough, he would like the same treatment he received earlier, with a side of snuggles on top please. At some point, he may scoot himself up so far that he falls, head first, into the crack between the bed and the wall. I wake up in a haze, see two feet sticking up from the edge of the bed, fish him out and settle him back down. This routine really has got to stop, but I don't think the Pocket Sized Dictator minds it too much. I had to remind myself this morning that every time I get to the point of thinking 'What in the world can I do? This has to stop! I'm going to lose my mind!!! Is it OK to give him horse tranquilizer?!?!?!?' that is when they go back to sleeping all night. Let's hope that it holds true this time.

In other Tyler news, he is talking up a storm and is quite adept at telling us what he wants (another reason for the new moniker). Some recent Tyler quotes:

Scoop me up! Hold me.

My blankie fell off (for the 1000th time). Wrap me up, peas!

No, I don't want that!

Put me down, Mom!

I want yogurt, and pea-butter. (he would live off that if he could)

No, Kay-ee, eee, eeeee!!!

And in other news all together , James went to school today with NO CRYING, no anxiety, no stress. Woooohooooo!!!!!! Thank you Lord!