Friday, August 26, 2011

School Update

The boys all survived the first week of school. Jake was happy to get back to seeing his buddies every day. He is excited that he is no longer a freshman. Things improve when you are a Sophomore, like in Football you get your locker decorated by the cheerleaders.

Tonight was his first football game. Unfortunately I opted to stay home with all the younger kids while Will went. The game was 1 1/2 hours away and he was playing both the Freshman and Varsity game so it was going to be a very long night. I am excited for them to get home so I can hear how it went.

Tony had a good week too. They didn't really get too involved in any class time. They had Positive Behavior Classes all week. Learning the rules and expectations blah blah blah. Yesteday was the greatest day of his life though because they handed out the laptops. All the 7th and 8th graders get laptops this year. We have been living and breathing laptop conversations since he came home yesterday! He is beyond excited.

Brodie had a great first day at Kindergarten. They spit the classes up and half started Tuesday and the other half started Wednesday. Then all the kids came together on Thursday. Unfortunately he was running a really high fever Wednesday night so he missed Thursday. There was lots of tears when I told him he had to stay home. He was better today and went back. Of course when I quizzed him about what all he did he said "I can't really remember".

Drew is finally excited to start pre-school next week or pretty school as he sometimes calls it. His 2 teachers came to the house for a home visit and he did really well talking with them. I love that they do this and I think it really helped out. He has the same teacher that Brodie had last year and we love her. I think he is going to have a good time once we get him there and he gets adjusted to spending time with out mom.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

This last couple weeks have been busy ones for gardening. My garden is doing great this year and producing an abundance of fruits and veggies. I am picking something every day. Here was our pickings today. I was shocked to see how many green beans I had. I picked an entire basket full. Looks like I will be doing some more canning this weekend! So far I have been able to put up 10 pints of beans.

The zucchini went crazy too. I haven't gotten much so far this year so I didn't check for a few days. Wrong move because I found some huge ones hiding. I will be shredding and freezing those for use in bread and brownies later.

Our cantaloupe is doing great. So far we have picked 7. I still have a few out on the vines waiting to ripen. They are wonderful! Sweet and juicy.I still have a few tomatoes coming on. The major crop is over and I was able to put up quite a few quarts of tomatoes as well as salsa. Here was a picture I snapped a couple weeks ago before my canning session. These are all from my garden.I fell into some really cheap sweet corn and was able to put up 17 quart size bags into the freezer. After posting about canning sweet corn I read lots of replies about freezing it so thought I would give it a whirl. I don't have a lot of freezer space to spare but the corn did stack nicely and didn't seem to take up much room.Along with everything that is being produced in my garden I fell onto some free apples from a tree in my neighborhood. I have already picked one batch and plan to make another trip here soon. Applesauce, frozen apple pie and turnover packets, dehydrated apples, as well as fruit leather is on the list of things to make with those.

I also was given permission to pick a few grapes from my neighbors vines. Looking forward to possibly making some jelly with those if we don't eat them all first!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

First Day of Kindergarten

Brodie had his first day of Kindergarten yesterday. To say he was excited is an understatement. He was SO pumped. The night before he said to me "now mom, you have to wake me up extra early cause I am going to have to brush my teeth and comb my hair before I leave for school." I was surprised when he actually settled down at a descent hour and went to bed.

It was a good thing too cause he woke up the next morning bright and early at 6:15 with his older brothers. He came running out of his room with a half sleepy face saying "is it time for me to brush my teeth and comb my hair?" When I told him he had an hour and a half to wait he shrunk his shoulders and said "but I wanna go now."

He ended up getting all ready by himself and was happy to see that Daddy had stayed home from work long enough to see him on the bus and buy donuts for breakfast! The bus was due to arrive at 7:47 am. At 7:05 am this is where he was.Waiting on the front stair looking at the road. I tried to tell him he still had 30 minutes before we could walk down to the end of the driveway so he should come inside but he said "no I just wanna wait out here." And so he did.It was a little crazy because Jake and Tony actually missed their bus so it was a good thing Will was home and he ran them both up to their schools. He made it back just in time to walk Brodie down to the bus stop.Drew was pretty excited to watch his brother leave, probably because he knew he was getting mom and sister all to himself.The boys passed the time by keeping Emily entertained until the bus finally arrived. And then, it came. Brodie bravely walked up and didn't even turn around until the bus driver said "turn around and smile at your dad" which he did.And then he was gone. I only cried a little.

It was a huge day for all of us. Almost 6 years of having him home with me other than the handful of hours he went to preschool last year. This will be a big change for him. A big change for both of us.

First Day of School

Yesterday was the first day of school. I can't believe summer break has been here and gone. I wasn't one of the moms who were marking off days on the calendar waiting for the kids to go back. They help me out so much and I am going to miss them dearly. The house will be much quieter that is for sure!

Jake is a sophomore this year. That is hard to type let alone say. He is growing up so fast and is such a responsible kid. He passed Driver's Ed this summer and is eagerly saving his money to buy a car.Tony is in 8th grade. I am excited for him to get back into a routine and have some structure to his day. He is a little reluctant to return to school but came home in a great mood yesterday and seemed very excited. Let's hope it lasts.My lil' Bro man started kindergarten. I am sad to see him gone all day. I will miss him so much. We have spent almost every day together for almost 6 years. He was thrilled to start school though and I know he will love it. (Special post about his first day coming soon.)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Blueberry Picking

The kids and I spent a morning at the berry patch a few weeks ago. We picked about 10 lbs of blueberries. The kids love blueberries. I am not a huge fan of store bought blueberries but these berries are wonderful! You can definitely tell the difference when you buy them fresh and local.The boys of course ate way more than they picked. In fact I think Drew's bucket was completely empty the entire time. Anything he did pick went straight to his mouth. Tony and Brodie did a little better and did contribute some.
When we got home I bagged some up for the freezer to add to smoothies and muffins later on. I also made Emily a large batch of baby food with them.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

An evening at the park

The weather has been beautiful in the evenings the last week or so. We spent one evening at the park with all the kids. It was great. The little boys rode their bikes, Jake ran and walked with us, Tony roller bladed and Emily was completely happy being pushed around in her stroller.

She is just so sweet!
We ventured away from the park and decided to take a stroll around the block. Drew was super excited when he found a night crawler on the sidewalk. He even rode around with it for awhile before finally "setting it free". I'm pretty sure the night crawler was glad to be released.I will be happy when Fall weather gets here. We love being out doors but my family is fair weathered people. If it's too warm then no one has fun and everyone is crabby. Evenings like this are wonderful. Perfect, relaxing and just plain make ya feel good.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Emily Joy 9 Months Old

Hard to believe our baby girl is almost walking! She is 9 months old now. She has been pulling herself up to furniture for almost a month now. She also just stands up on her own in the middle of the room. I am sure it won't be long before she takes those first wobbly steps.
She has been teething. Her third tooth just broke through over the weekend. She is trying to get all 4 teeth on top at once. She has been pretty miserable with this.
When we went in for her 9 month check up last week she was 17lbs 12 oz (20th % for her age) and 26 inches long (13th % for her age). She also was diagnosed with her first ear infection and "really red throat". She is alot smaller than her brothers were. She is just a dainty little girl!

Pool Parties

We have awesome neighbors. A few years ago they put in an above ground pool. They are kind enough to call and invite us over when they aren't using it. It has been an awesome treat for us this year since we have had such a hot summer. Plus, you can't beat the price! It is so expensive to take our family to a public pool so I appreciate the fact that all this has cost me is some produce from my garden! (Given because I wanted too, not because they asked.)The boys love the water. The water is 4 feet deep so they wear their life jackets and can just bounce around without us having to hold onto them.
Emily has been getting used to the water too. It is very relaxing for her. On more than one occasion this is how she ends up.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

First Camping Trip of the Year

A couple weekends ago we went on our first camping trip of the year. We had wanted to do alot of camping this summer, but the summer is quickly getting away from us. The weather has been so dreadfully hot. We finally had a decent weekend and nothing on the calender so we took advantage of it.

We headed to Spring Lake in Jefferson Iowa. I had never been there before but Will had camped there as a child. He remembered it for the 1920's skating rink that is right by the lake. Unfortunately it is only open on Friday and Saturday nights and we camped on Sunday so we will have to make a trip back to be able to see it open.

We had an awesome camp site right next to the water. It was perfect.We got there around noon on Sunday and after setting up camp we headed out to find firewood. Once the wood was found we headed to the beach. The had a nice clean beach and an ice cream store where we each enjoyed a cone.

Brodie helped Dad get the fire started for dinner.We made one of my favorite camping meals, hobo meals. Stew meat, potatoes, onions and green peppers. Mmmm.Of course we had to have s'mores right after dinner. The best part of camping.We stayed up late that night and fished from the shore. We didn't catch any fish but I caught a metal fishing pole holder. I guess it's something. During the night we had a visitor. I thought we did pretty good getting all the food packed up.
If you click on the picture you can see footprints across our tablecloth. I guess coons like night crawlers. Who knew? They ate the whole container. This was our view Monday morning. Peaceful.
Breakfast consisted of eggs and little smokies. Even more wonderful when cooked on an open fire. Tony found a piece of wood to write down all our information on. His grandparents did this when they used to camp. We will pack the wood with us and take it on our next camping trip and use it to help start the fire.
The 3 younger boys. Jake didn't go with us cause he stayed at a friends house. And Emily, well I am holding her as I take the picture.
We had a great time and I hope that we can fit in a few more camping trips yet this year.

Monday, August 1, 2011


Tony joined 4H in the Spring. He joined his cousins group, which is a newer group just getting started. He had some big plans for projects he wanted to enter in the county fair. First he was going to do rabbits, but that just wasn't going to work. I love animals but adding another animal at this time just isn't reasonable.

He really wanted to restore a piece of furniture but we just didn't get started in time. So, he has always liked photography so we taught him a few things about our camera and turned him loose. He ended up snapping some pictures of our chickens and picked a silhouette picture of one of the birds to submit to the Polk county fair.

He was a little nervous to have his picture judged, but the judge gave him some good pointers and he felt really good afterwards.

He ended up winning a red ribbon for his photo. From what I can tell blue ribbons are awarded to participants whose photos meet all the standards; quality of photo, centered, lighting, focus, etc. Red ribbons are awarded to those who meet some of the standards but could use a little more work.

Tony was extremely proud and excited as he should be.