Friday, June 29, 2012

Chappy, Garlic, Etc.

A few pictures of Katie and her Chappy

The kids love their Chappy

And I must say, he IS pretty awesome!

James' Class Picnic

My little farmer helping me harvest the garlic

I've never grown garlic and didn't know what to expect, but boy, was I ever surprised when I dug it up! 27 huge heads of garlic weighing in at about 12 pounds total, all from 1 pound of seed. 

The garlic weighed an average of 7 ounces per head, with a few weighing in at a half a pound! I am going to give the credit for this phenomena to the lovely composted chicken manure I added when I planted them. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

VBS, Etc.

So somehow I got wrangled into doing the decorations for our church's VBS this year. I did actually say yes, and there was no gun to my head. I decided to do it because it was a way to use my artistic skillz, which have been sorely neglected since I had babies. That is the really nice thing about being at a large(ish) church. There are a lot of opportunities to use creativity. The thing to know about our church is that I think their motto for VBS is 'Go big, or go home.' I have been told that one year they transformed the platform into a Pirate Ship. No pressure or anything. This year's theme is 'Incrediworld' and it is a creation-themed amusement park. All I can say is that I am having a lot of fun working on it, and it's going to be cool. I'll post pictures when it's done. That is, if I have any remaining brain cells after the spray paint fumes wear off.

P.S. They gave me minions! All sorts of lovely people showed up over the last several weeks to do whatever I needed them to do. It was awesome, and I felt like jumping into the air and clicking my heels. Until I remembered that I'd probably break a hip or something. And don't worry, I refrained from calling any of them minions, although one girl asked permission to go to the bathroom. Um, yes! You can! No hall pass required. :)

In other news, James finished school today! Finally. He came out sad, and I asked him why. He found out his best buddy is going to be going to another school next year. :( I am sure he'll get over it but it was sad to see him so disappointed.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

I Hit The (Trashy) Jackpot

A few days ago on my run I spotted something on the curb. It was a street I never run on, and wouldn't really have paid attention to. I just saw the corner of it behind a truck, but went over to see if it was really a) a doll house, and b) not totally trashed. I ran home as quick as I could and got the truck and came back and got it. That sucker is heavy! Every single missing piece was in the attic of the house, even down to the missing shingles. I am so excited to fix it up for Katie, and it further enforces my belief that sometimes God puts awesome things in the trash for us to find! :)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Lancaster Photo Dump

The view was quite nice!

The farm cat napped under the tree by the door. Tyler was obsessed with the cat. I don't think the feeling was mutual,
however the cat did stick around and put up with his antics.

Swing and playhouse right out the door

Finally got a cat to make friends with him

I don't want to hurt you, really I don't.

The innkeeper went and dug this out of the barn for the kids. It ended up causing a lot of fights and we had to put it away, but that's another story...

Pretty flowers (and the girl is pretty darn cute too!)

Swimming in the pond

Tyler spent his time relocating the baby frogs back into the water where he thought they wanted to go. He ended up squeezing a few a little too much.

James was in heaven!

Katie wearing the bonnet I wore as a little girl

One of the little frogs. They were everywhere!

Catching frogs and tadpoles

Neighboring Farm

Old-fashioned Fireplace

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Chicken Dinner: All the (Slightly) Gory Details

Rachel, this post is for you! :)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

It's Hot

So classy!
I was going to post the whole "how Chicken Dinner became chicken dinner" post today, but it is just too darn hot! Over 90 degrees up here with the air on. I am pretty sure the 50+ year old insulation is no longer insulating. I am going downstairs where it is cool, and come back later when it isn't an inferno up here.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Running, Amish Walmart, and Other Delights

So I have apparently let the blog go. And now I'm back to spew forth loads of random tid-bits for you to suffer through enjoy. First things first...running. Jeff and I alternate mornings to run, getting up about 5:30am. Being out so early I see a lot of interesting things. I have found money on several occasions, discovered more about the mysterious ways of bucket man* and have seen more ground hogs than I need to see in a lifetime. I even saw a groundhog about 15 feet up a tree!! So much for the fence around my garden. Maybe I'll hang up a sign stating 'Protected By Smith and Wesson.' Hey, if they can haul their garden-pillaging butts up a tree, you never know if they can read too! But I digress. I have also been buzzed by a bat (took years off my life!) and  encountered two good-sized snapping turtles, the most recent of which was spotted on Sunday morning. I promptly went home and rounded up the kids in their jammies to go see it. Fun times. And this morning I had a very strange encounter with a bird. I heard a bird fly past me, or so I thought. (I am TERRIBLE at hearing where sounds are coming from.) I didn't think anything of it until I saw my shadow ahead of me, complete with the shadow of a bird flying precipitously close to my head. I turned around and it dropped back a little. I kept running, but heard it again. This time I turned around and looked at it, and it flew away. I am pretty sure it mistook my messy curly morning ponytail for a nest. Ha!

*Bucket Man is an older guy who wanders around the neighborhood swinging an orange bucket from his hand. We have yet to figure out what bucket man does with his bucket.

And now, on to Amish Walmart. We went to Lancaster for a few days which turned out to be a not so relaxing mini-vacation. One of our neighbors helpfully informed me that we went on a family trip, not a vacation. There is a difference! Anyway, while we were there we visited a store called Goods. My friend Erin described it as Amish Walmart, and that it is. It is a splendid place where you can buy a vinyl table cloth, fishing waders and Carhartt overalls. You can buy a John Deere hat, or an Amish straw hat. You could buy some toys, and a gun, and fabric all in the same place! There is also an entire aisle of canning supplies. I realize I am probably one of a select few who actually find that exciting. They even have the newly reissued pint and a half size jars. Woo! Living large, I tell you. It is quite the place, and we came out of there with one of those big tin stars they hang on barns and a box of pellets. Amish suspenders not included.

P.S. I went running while we were there and it was the prettiest run ever. The beautiful green farms, the huge white barns, roosters crowing and complimentary eau de bovine. I saw an Amish couple out picking in their garden. The woman had a five gallon bucket she was using to pick peas, and I could only look on in a combination of sympathy and wonder. Sympathy because I know that peas have to be shelled, and wonder because she would probably have them shelled and canned by 9am. Oh, and Jeff found a plastic Power Ranger in a (possibly Amish) graveyard while on his run. Random!

And last but not least, I do believe I mentioned 'other delights' in my title so I must produce. Would you know that Saturday is a big day? THE big day? Yes, it is when Chicken Dinner will pass through the veil (of gravy) and onto our plates. I may or may not have put a little too much thought into the method of preparation for El Pollo Gordo. I mean, if I'm gonna raise a chicken it better be tasty! The preferred method will be grilling at the hand of the Chappy Chapster. Anything he grills tastes pretty much divine, so I am expecting no less from our accidental meat bird. No pressure Dad! :)

Friday, June 08, 2012


Yesterday our preschool co-op went on a beach field trip. It was a lot of fun! I realized that having the kids around the ocean freaks me out, but other than that things were peachy. Tyler spent most of his time digging. James played tag with his friend Isaac and they jumped over the incoming waves. Katie mostly busied herself digging and making things out of sand. Sometimes I think she is my exact clone. She spends all day, every day making stuff.

In other news, Tyler is all about bugs. He has some serious ninja fly catching skills. He will stalk them around the house and literally catch them with his bare hands. He does this just about every day. He also has no fear of other bugs, as evidenced by the bee sting he acquired this morning when he tried to hold a bee. I guess he had to learn for himself, but I sure felt bad for him. He cried til he fell asleep in my arms.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Legos As Motivator

James has been begging for Legos lately. Silly me, I didn't realize it cost $29.99 for approximately 150 tiny little pieces, and then an extra $10.99 if you want, say...wheels or a mini-figure. Eek! I have been keeping my eyes peeled but haven't really found any good deals. At the same time, I have been trying to come up with a fun and encouraging way to get James to practice his reading skills over the summer. (yes, my boy is reading!) It dawned on my that I could use legos as a reward for reading, and I ended up ordering some legos on Ebay. Today was the first day of the 'program' and he read to me for FORTY minutes! For a kid just learning to read, that is a long time if you ask me. He did great and needed very little assistance. He even read the book 'Fly Guy,' which is beyond the scope of the words and sounds he has learned at school. I have always loved to read, and it is so fun to listen to him read to me. I am excited for him, just thinking about how many adventures he can go on by reading books. I might run out of legos, but that's a small price to pay. :)

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

I'm Having A Moment (And Other Randomness)

Lately I have been freaking out about how my baby is going to be three. 3! He is pretty much potty trained (a good thing), and has officially left his crib for the bottom bunk. Waaaa! Where did time go, and anyone want to donate a new baby to our family? That would be great. Last night, Tyler woke up crying. I went to him and he was just sitting there holding his blanket, saying 'I cared' because he can't say the S sound. I laid down with him and pretty soon I was bawling like a baby along with him. It all just hit me that its going waaaaay too fast and I wish I could freeze him in time. Well, except for his terrorist-like tendencies.**

**Tyler managed to throw the camera bag hard enough over the weekend to break the LCD screen of the camera. Good times. At least camera still works, and I will soon get used to using ye olde view finder again.

In other news, Jeff's graduation party is coming up. While I wanted to invite everyone and their uncle, I did restrain myself because I'm pretty sure he would freak out. James is off from school, probably for two weeks as the teachers are allowed to strike for 10 days. Today we met some friends at the CSA and showed them around the farm. James absolutely loved having his friend Isaac there to run and play with. Speaking of growing up, he is old enough to go off exploring and come back in one piece (albeit a little muddy). Tyler touched the electric fence and seemed totally unfazed by it. Should I be surprised? Worried? It was on, as someone else got a shock. Well, enough rambling for now. I fear this post is pretty incoherent but that's all I got for today. :)