Monday, December 22, 2008

Some Pictures

Not in order, because I didn't edit any pics from Thanksgiving yet, but here are some shots of our tree, and of the boys making their gingerbread houses last week:

Our tree
O Christmas Tree

The ornaments have been rearranged several times already. The boys like to play under it, and some fall, and then Jacob just likes to touch them LOL. All the "good" ones are up high out of his reach. Can you see what is under the tree?


We made gingerbread houses on Monday. That means we opened kits and assembled and decorated, LOL. There are 2 houses and a tree. I wanted the tree kit last year but they sold out and we didn't get it. It looked intimidating because it involved actually mixing the icing and using pastry bags, but in the end it came out great.

Waiting for the icing to harden

Samuel decorating

Troyer decorating

The final products:

Caleb and Micah's house

Troyer and Levi's tree

Noah and Samuel's house

Wait, did you get a good look at that last one? Did you see the level of artistry? Did you see...

Santa smashed on the roof?

The hyptnotizing snowman in the front yard, or the vampire on the roof?
or the chimney in the yard?

Do I get points for letting them do just what they wanted on this house? I hope so, because it was hard! I like Micah and Caleb's better LOL.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Many Pictures, All Still in the Camera

You wouldn't know it from my blog, but it is almost winter here! It is NOT almost 70 anymore, LOL. I have a few pictures from Thanksgiving (not as many as I would have liked); Jacob got a haircut; we put up the tree; and various around-the-house shots. We had some snow, too, but I didn't get pictures of that. Now it's time to do Christmas pictures. I hope to get some pictures posted soon, if only to get them off my to-do list! I did get Christmas cards out last week, without pictures of the boys. If anyone REALLY wants a picture, please let me know, and I'll send out a second card once the picture is done. Still on the list: Christmas cookies, and haircuts for the rest of the boys....

Saturday, November 29, 2008

One More

Another leaf jumping video, this one Photobucket again. I think Photobucket distorted the video the least.

Monday, November 24, 2008

More Leaves!

I'm having fun with the videos. I think the photobucket upload came out the clearest. What do you think?

This one is another upload to Blogger:

Hmm now I have to learn how to edit the videos so I can cut out the end LOL It would have been better if I could cut off the part when Noah leaves for the bathroom!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

more videos

and here I try Blogger's video hosting, to see how they compare:

My First Ever YouTube Video

Here is the first of several videos I took of the boys raking and jumping in the leaves. I'd have more, and picked the best ones, but even with DSL it took soooo long to upload! Also, the quality isn't as nice as it was on my computer.

Here is Jacob helping with the raking. You can hear Caleb talking in the background.

Here is a video I uploaded to Photobucket, to compare uploading times and picture quality. It is a short one of Levi jumping into the pile of leaves.

Friday, November 14, 2008

They're Baaaack!

According to the website Muppet Central , Disney is making a push to bring Muppets back into popularity. Part of their strategy is to release a bunch of videos on YouTube. Some of them are hilarious. Here is one of my favorites:

My kids Looooove the Muppets, as properly taught by their Muppet-loving parents :-)
I hope if we are going to be seeing some new material, that it is as creative and funny as they were at the start.

They've also filmed a new Christmas special this summer, to air some time in December. I'm keeping my eyes peeled for air time; it will be on NBC.

Monday, November 10, 2008


These are the days that make Fall a favorite season. As opposed to the cold grey rainy days LOL


Friday, November 07, 2008

Indian Summer


Today it was almost 70 outside. In November. Woohoo! The boys took full advantage. Some went bike riding, so went tree climbing. This afternoon they started raking. We have too much yard and too few trees to really care about the leaves. They will blow across the street into the cow pasture eventually. But they make great piles for jumping!

In the back yard:

Jacob helps out:
Let me help spread those out for you

Levi jumps in!

I love this one of Troyer and Noah; Noah is just about to jump in and ruin Troyer's pile LOL:

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Finally got the pumpkins carved this afternoon!


The younger boys' design:

Troyer designed this one:

We don't dress up or go out; and out here in the country I doubt anyone will be coming to the door. I went out and picked up some candy for the boys to share at home, and the pumpkins are really just for their fun.




Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Definitely My Favorite Political Video So Far This Fall

Rats, the video was removed. It was hilarious. Aha! Found it again on YouTube!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Celebrity Sighting at WalMart

Look who we saw at WalMart a few weeks ago:


There was a contest to guess how many Lego pieces it took to build this model of Jango Fett. When I saw it, I knew I had to come back with my camera and a few boys!


The next time I was at that WalMart, I brought Noah and Levi with me. The model was still there, but they had already run out of entry forms for the contest.


Unfortunately by the time I came back again with Troyer the model was gone. There hasn't been any notice about who won or how many pieces there actually were in the model. I assume the model has travelled to another store. I thought a good prize would have been to win the model!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

October is Fire Safety Month

One of the requirements we have to meet for homeschooling is to include a lesson on fire safety each year. Since October is Fire Safety Month, many homeschool groups arrange tours of fire departments. Our local school invited us to come along on their tour this year. I found it very interesting, and the boys loved the trucks and the gear! It's a fun way to take care of that requirement. When we got home, I printed off some safety coloring pages and puzzles.

In the truck bay:

The ambulances:

In the ambulance:

Learning about the different kinds of trucks:

Climbing into the engine:

The best part was when the fireman put all his gear on. He wanted to show the kids what a fireman looked like when he went into a burning house, so that if one of them should ever be trapped inside, they wouldn't be afraid when they saw him, and would let him rescue them. I thought it was a good idea; I'd never thought about it but a small child could be very frightened by a fully suited fireman, especially when already scared from being trapped. I guess a lot of kids try to hide because they are afraid. The kids liked when he turned his mask on and talked through it.


This is one of the better tours we have taken. There is a firehouse museum, but it was closed when we were there. I would have enjoyed seeing the antique equipment, and some history of the department.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Pathfinder and Adventurer Induction

Last Saturday afternoon, the Pathfinders and Adventurers held their induction ceremonies. This is where the new members are welcomed in, and returning members pledge to another year in the club. Mostly it is for parents and new members to know what the club is about. They sing the club song, recite the Pledge and the Law, and then do a candle lighting to represent the new members joining the club. It was fun to see everyone in uniform again. :-)

Micah and Caleb up on stage after lighting their candles:

Samuel lighting his candle:

Noah has been a member for 2 years already, so he got to do one of the readings:

And here are all 4 outside afterwards. Don't they look sharp?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Catch Up - Part 3

After the orchard tour on Thursday we headed home and I started packing for another camping weekend. This time there were 4 boys going, and me! Noah and Samuel were tenting with the Pathfinders again (but not backpacking, thank goodness!) and I was accompanying Caleb and Micah for an Adventurer (that's the junior version of Pathfinders, kind of like Cub Scouts or Brownies) weekend. Luckily we got cabins. This trip was over 4 hours away, so I had to make sure we remembered everything; there was no going home for anything we forgot! We left around 1 on Friday afternoon, and headed out for the mountains. I had checked the weather and the rain we had had early in the morning was all that was forecast. The rest of the weekend looked clear!

We had a pretty easy drive up, nice weather, no bad traffic. Our only trouble was that it was a bit cool outside, but anyone sitting on the sunny side of the car got overwarm. It was hard to keep the car an even temperature so that one side wasn't too hot and the other too cold. We arrived a little early for check in, so I drove Noah and Samuel down to the camping area where their group would be. This gathering was a conference-wide Camporee, so there were going to be a lot of other clubs there. When we drove in, though, there was hardly anyone! I didn't even know where their site would be. Luckily the club had sent up a few adults early, to gather firewood, and they found us and directed us to the right spot. I dropped off Samuel and Noah, who were not happy to have extra work to do LOL, and they got busy helping stack the wood.

At this point it was time for the boys and me to check in at the lodge. We were still some of the first campers there. Once I had checked in, I learned that they were not going to be serving dinner, and there were no activities planned for that night. Ugh! WHY had I gotten there so early??? I got directions to the nearest WalMart and went off to get us some snacks for dinner. My biggest concern was getting back before dark, since I was driving on unfamiliar roads. I didn't want to get lost in the dark! We picked out snacks and I also picked up some coloring books and crayons since I figured they would be bored later in the evening, and headed back. There was only one turn that I almost missed, and we made it back safely. Phew! We settled into our cabin and waited for our cabin-mates to arrive. We though we were sharing with two other boys and their moms, but it turned out that one of the moms was going to be staying in the lodge, so once Benny and his mom arrived, we were set. It was a cabin for 11 with just 5 of us in there. Fancy cabins, too, with bathrooms attached - even a shower all to ourselves! We didn't know but were pleased to find out that the cabins were heated too! Hardly roughing it LOL. Micah had a hard time sleeping away from home. He didn't want it dark, but the light from the bathroom that we left on for a night light kept him up. He tossed and turned all night, which kept me up too.

After breakfast in the morning, the boys got dressed in their uniforms and all the groups marched down the road to the Pathfinder campground. We had been invited to a "Flag Retirement Ceremony," to dispose of old tattered flags respectfully. It was pretty cool; I have never seen one before. The flags were raised, the pledge was said, the anthem was sung, and the color guard stepped forward one at a time to read some history about the American Flag. The flag was presented to the Pathfinder Director, who then "approved" the flag to be retired. The color guard carried the flag 3 on each side, like carrying a coffin at a funeral, stopped for a 21 gun salute, and then readied the flag for burning. First the captain of the color guard cut off the blue field from the stripes, and then the other 5 carried the stripes to the fire and dropped it in. The captain followed with the blue field and dropped that part in last. Another mom and I agreed afterward that it was a very moving ceremony. We knew the kids probably didn't really appreciate it because they don't have the life experience to have witnessed the disrespect our flag and our country receive; but we have seen it, and it was so meaninful to us to see proper respect. Such a contrast!

The morning was wet because it had, in fact, poured AGAIN the night before, and Noah and Samuel were pretty cold. We were a bit warmer because we had hiked the mile up to the camp.

Noah is in the blue coat, and Samuel is in the orange.

Caleb and Micah are the redheads. It is hard to see Micah!

Here is the gun salute. The Teen Leaders in Training were allowed to fire some of the rifles, along with 2 of the adult leaders.

And here is the color guard readying the flag for burning. They passed over the burn barrel and dropped their corners in 2 at a time, and the captain came behind them.

After we hiked back for lunch, the kids earned an Outdoor Explorer honor. We went on a scavenger hunt to find the alphabet in nature. We had to find an item for each letter of the alphabet. Luckily we didn't have to collect them all, just find them! The day had warmed up beautifully and we really had fun. Our group found almost every letter.

After dinner the kids got to play in the gym for a while to burn off more energy (yes, after that 2 mile hike in the morning, and that scavenger hunt in the afternoon, plus rolling down a STEEP hill at least 12 times after lunch, LOL) and then we had some quiet time before bed. There was nothing really planned for Sunday morning besides checking out after breakfast, so we were pretty relaxed. I have to say, those bunks are fine for kids under 12, but UGH not for this old body. My shoulder ached for over a week after I got home, from sleeping on it.

Sunday dawned bright and clear again, a great day for driving home. The Adventurers finished up by 9:30, but the boys and I had to wait until 12 to pick Noah and Samuel up at the campsite. Ordinarily the two groups don't have their camping trips the same weekend; it was just a coincidence that they did this year. We took our time packing up and cleaning the cabin, and by 11 I decided that my boys could leave early. After all, they had arrived hours earlier on Friday and did more work for it, so it should be fine. I drove down, and they had their stuff packed and ready; the group was just cleaning up the campsite. It was no problem to take them home. The drive home was sunny and warm again, this time nice enough to have the windows open with no complaints. We arrived home by mid-afternoon, in time for me to make a shopping list and go out for my weekly grocery run LOL. I sure would have preferred to relax a bit but Sunday when Chris is home is really the best time for me to get the shopping done.

I wish I had more pictures, but my batteries died at the flag retirement. I'm glad I got a few shots of the boys!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Catch Up - Part 2

Ok, so Troyer's birthday was Monday. On Tuesday I went to the doctor to have a cyst removed from my scalp. It wasn't painful, but it was annoying and was getting bigger, so I decided to have her cut it out. It was from an oil gland getting plugged and then infected, sort of like a pimple but not in a pore. It was cool listening to her and the nurse working on it. They cut a little slit and then popped it out. Then I got a few stitches and was done. I had to keep my scalp dry for almost a whole week, which meant no washing my hair; yuck!

On Wednesday I went to my Women's Ministry meeting. We are studying The Love Languages of God, which is part of the 5 Love Languages series. It's very interesting to learn a new perspective about the different ways people understand and receive love.

Neither of these two activities were picture-worthy (well, maybe the cyst removal, if you like that sort of thing, LOL, but I didn't have a camera with me, and I didn't have anyone to take the pictures). But on Thursday, I took all the boys on a field trip for an orchard tour. Our church school organized a trip, and invited us to go along. The weather was great (though a little breezy and cold, but that makes it more Fall-like, right?) and the boys had a great time. Definitely picture worthy! lol

Here we are loading up into the wagon for the ride through the orchard:

Right where we loaded up they had a huge pumpkin patch set up. It looked pretty, but we didn't get any pumpkins. It feels too early to put pumpkins out yet.

We drove out to a spot where everyone was allowed to get out and pick an apple for themselves. Along the way we got a lesson in the growing and picking of apples. The boys loved the snack!

Of course, I didn't actually get a picture of them picking, sigh.

After the orchard, we got a tour of the huge refrigerator where they store the apples after picking, and then the processing section where the apples are washed and sorted by size. Finally, we got to walk through the store and see all the different products you can make with apples, as well as buy bushels of fruit. They had some pears and a few grapes and peaches too. Of course the smell of fresh baked apple pies was hard to resist!

Jacob liked this guy:

Once the tour was over, we had lunch at the play area they had set up for kids. Lots of climbing structures and a big sand box, as well as a cute hay "maze" and some neat tunnels they created by piling hay and wood chips over big pipes.







The boys had so much fun they really didn't want to leave. :-)