Sunday, November 13, 2016

The floor of heaven

Matthew said the other day "is the top of the sky the floor of heaven?" I love the things kids say! Fall is a beautiful time and we have enjoyed it so much! Especially now that I've convinced Erik to play pokemon go. He is now walking around everywhere with me!  I've walked more from pokemon go than I ever have!
Fall Apple Picking
Some fun things we have done this fall include:

  • Apple picking 
  • Fall Camping
  • Pumpkin patch
  • COSI
  • Sitting by the fire drinking hot cocoa

COSI fun with Sarah's hair rising!

Jenna riding the bike at COSI

Camping - Matthew in costume with Haven and Ainsley

Sarah and Maddie in costume

Me and Joy in costume


Girls on the camping trip
In other news:

  • We were all surprised Donald Trump won the presidency. All of the polls were wrong. Neither Erik nor I voted for him but we will support him as the president. It was a very odd election.
  • I can't even count the number of books I've read lately. Pretty much all I've done in the past few months is read. But that is partially because football is on and this is an easier session for me.
  • I teach on Saturday mornings from 9am -noon. It's fun to teach on site - I've missed it but online is so much more convenient. 
  • Jenna is now part of the color guard in the Winterline at her school. She really likes twirling flags and I'm excited she is enjoying this activity.
  • We got family pictures taken. I'll upload them sometime soon. Sarah was sad in the pictures because she didn't like the outfit I picked. Next year I'll just let her pick her own outfit.
  • School is going really well for all 3 kids. Matthew is learning some sight words, Jenna is doing fantastic in school, and Sarah is doing great with her multiplication facts. We are also all green belts in tae kwon do except Sarah who is a blue belt

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

We be jammin!

Erik and I sold Jam and coasters at the St. Joan of Arc Craft show on Saturday and had a great time! So many people stopped by to sample jam and really liked it. We sold $480 worth of jam. Technically it was $520 but the table cost $40 to reserve so I subtracted that out. Everyone who tried the jam loved it! It was such a success and made me feel good that so many people liked it. 

Our booth

I do need to work on my pricing though since not too many people took advantage of the buy 4 get one free. Maybe 5 jars of jam is too much? We sold it for $5 apiece and 5 for $20. Erik suggested $6 apiece and two for $10 to encourage people to buy two jars. 

The flavors I had were:
  • Blueberry jam
  • Fiery Habanero Apricot jam
  • Blackberry lime jam
  • Blueberry lemon jam
  • Vanilla peach bourbon jam
  • Strawberry jam
  • Raspberry jam
  • Raspberry jalapeno jam
  • Pina colada jam
  • Cherry amaretto jam
  • Chocolate strawberry sauce
The best seller was vanilla peach bourbon. This show gave me an idea of the good sellers. Cherry amaretto was in the top 5 and I wouldn't have guessed that. The chocolate strawberry sauce was somewhat thick but I didn't think it was thick enough to call a "jam" so I named it a sauce. Whatever it is - it was delicious! We also sold 4 sets of coasters. We didn't sell Erik's pumpkins. I'm sad because they were so cute!! 

Several of my friends stopped by to my booth as well. Joy was my best customer! It was great to see friends and rewarding to have so much traffic at the show. 

I did have one bad experience before the show. I had talked with several vendors prior to the show and they were all really nice except one. A lady walked up to me and said that she sold jam and she didn't appreciate the competition. I said "ok". I wasn't sure what to say! Then she proceeded to tell me that she has a farm and all her fruit was from her farm is in her jam and I am underpricing my jam. She said that if I'm using the surejell box directions my jam is underpriced. I just said ok to everything she said. How rude! There can be more than one jam vendor at a show! I guess you have people like that everywhere. 

In other news:
  • I got a promotion to Senior Professor and a raise! Considering all the changes at the university I am so excited that I was promoted.
  • Next session I'm teaching onsite. Bummer because that means I'll have to go to campus and dress up and all that.
  • Sarah's troop had a letterboxing activity at a local park and the girls loved it. Letterboxing is like a scavenger hunt through the woods and the kids love things like that. 
  • I like pokemon go however it is hard to find other moms that play. I'm on a pokemom facebook page but locally I haven't found anyone. I'd really like to find some moms so that during the day I can take down some gyms rather than waiting for Jenna to get home from school. Sometimes I just have her leave her phone with me so I can use both phones. I'm a little obsessed I guess....
  • I have decided not to vote in this election. I always vote so this is surprising but I just can't vote for the candidates that we have to choose from. Really? In all of America these are our choices? Almost every person I know is a better choice!
  • In a few weeks we are getting new carpet from Home Depot. I can't wait! I wanted new carpet before Christmas when family will come visit. Erik agreed! Yipee!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Our Orlando Trip

We obviously love playing games as a family and since our kids don't play sports, we have more evenings free to play games. I've asked the kids if they want to play sports but they are all home bodies! Lords of Waterdeep is a game the whole family can play and enjoy. It is one of Jenna's favorites. 
Lords of Waterdeep
I made this glorious tomato tart the other day. Everyone except Matthew loved it. Matthew really only likes cheese quesadillas, pizza, and chicken nuggets :(. 
My tomato tart creation!
Riding horses with Jenna's girl scout troop

Yesterday we flew back home from our glorious week in paradise. We love going to Missy's company house in Orlando. It is beautiful and we always have a blast! Although we might not go during the school year in the future. Too much stress missing class.  

On Friday we went to Universal to Harry Potter world again. It was so much fun! We stayed there all day until our feet were blistered and sore but it was worth it! Last time we went to Universal we spent all our time at Harry Potter world. This time we saw the whole park. We rode several rides although no one would ride the roller coasters with me :(. Jenna and I rode the Forbidden Journey ride in the Hogwarts castle twice. That is my favorite ride! We drank a ton of butterbeer and ate lunch at the Three Broomsticks. Again, again!!! Jenna was picked at Ollivander's for the wand. It's great that she has been picked so many times.

We also spent quite a bit of time in Dr. Seuss world. Matthew's favorite ride was the Cat in the Hat. It was a fun ride that took you through the whole book. Dr. Seuss world was fantastic. I dragged Matthew and Jenna on a water ride that was somewhat of a roller coaster. Afterwards Matthew said he had "down motion sickness". 

 We bought wands for Sarah and Matthew. Jenna already had a wand from the last trip. They loved using the wands throughout the park.
mmmmmmm butterbeer

I love this picture of Jenna drinking butterbeer using her wand

Matthew on the caro-seuss-el

Sarah on the caro-seuss-el

On Saturday Jenna, Missy and I went to the Orlando Science Museum. Admission was free since we are COSI members. The museum was fun although we spent the majority of the time playing pokemon go. I'm a little addicted.....
Dr. Seuss world viewed from the train ride

On Sunday we went to the waterpark that is part of the resort where we stayed. It has a lazy river, water slides, and a giant pool. The kids loved it. The rest of the time we spent in the pool at the house. The house has a pool with a hot tub. It also has 5 bedrooms with 3 full baths and 2 half baths. The house is beautiful. The kids played nonstop and were exhausted every night. The grown ups took turns in the pool then the hot tub. It was glorious!

Erik and Missy ran every day even in the blistering heat of Florida. I'm proud of them.

Matthew has gotten so much better at swimming. Now our whole family can jump in the pool together. In fact, we did a super-cooper-cannonball. Sarah is already in the water (she jumped the gun - you can see her splash!).
Super Cooper Cannonball


beautiful paradise!
I have been reading like a mad-woman lately. I've been on goodreads and just reading every book similar to other books I like. Some have been good, some haven't been. I've been reading mostly sci-fi though. <3 sci-fi.  Jenna has also read some of the books I've stumbled upon as well.

Prior to our trip I had binge watched the TV show Lost. I probably should not have watched a tv show about a plane crash before flying!

This has been an excellent trip and I can't wait to go back!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Back to school!

It's back to school time! The last weekend of summer we went camping to Jellystone Park and had a fantastic time! The kids were in the water all day Friday and most of the day Saturday (until it rained). The park had a beautiful lake and two swimming pools. Matthew did an amazing job swimming. He was jumping in the deep end at the pool and even jumped into the 20' lake (with a life jacket on!). I can't believe how great of a swimmer he has become. The girls are good swimmers too and they all had a blast. 
Jellystone Lake

Yogi Bear
Erik took the kids canoeing on the lake Friday evening. The weather was so beautiful and the kids loved canoeing with Daddy!
Craft time

The kids and Erik are standing on the platform ready to jump in
The park was huge and you really needed bikes or a golf cart to get around otherwise you were walking a lot. We didn't bring bikes therefore we were walking a lot. At least I got my steps in! I was able to finish Sea Spell, the fourth book in the Waterfire Series by Jennifer Donnelly. It is a series Jenna read too (something for 11 and 41 year olds). When it rained we sat inside and played the bean game. We even made smores in our toaster oven!  I also finished Legend, the book from our book club. It was so disappointing. I wish I could unread it :(.
Playing Through the Desert
On Wednesday the kids went back to school!  The night before Matthew prayed that it would always be summer and never winter, he would never have to go to school, and Panda would come back. Such a sweet prayer for a 6 year old.

Jenna is now going to middle school. She is riding a bus, has a locker, and is changing classes. It was a little overwhelming to her at first but I think she is doing well. Sarah has a fantastic teacher who is a strong Christian and one of my friends. I'm so glad Sarah is in her class. Matthew started kindergarten as well. He will go to school Tuesday/Friday every other Wednesday. He was nervous to start but I think he really liked it.

Sarah and Matthew

Matthew with Mrs. Menary

Sarah with Mrs. Gunn

Matthew and his new quilt made by Aunt Shelby!
It's going to be a great school year! The kids are ready to be back and I'm ready for them to be back too!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Goodbye Panda

Last Friday we lost Panda. He had been a member of our family for four years. Prior to that he was Erik's parents' cat so we have known him for awhile. We weren't exactly sure of Panda's age but we are thinking he was about 19 years old. The past 6 months he has really gone downhill. We watched a video of Panda from a year ago and he seemed like a different cat. 
Panda and Twinkles sharing a meal

The kids and cats

Shaved Panda
A week ago Panda was walking and then he just fell. That seemed odd to us but he had been having trouble walking for the past several months. On Friday Sarah said that Panda was stuck in the litterbox. I went to the litterbox and he seemed fine - just hanging out in there.

Well a few hours later he was still there. Erik picked him up out of the litterbox and he couldn't walk. We knew it was bad. We didn't know whether to take him to the vet then or wait until morning. The fear about waiting until morning was that the kids would find him dead. So Erik took him that night to the vet. They took a look at him and said he wasn't going to make it. We were not surprised. I got to say goodbye to him though so that was good. He was a good cat for our family.

The kids are asking for a new cat but Erik wants us to be a one cat family. Twinkles doesn't like other cats anyway. She ignored Panda.

We will miss you Panda!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Our fun weekend!

Playing Ra
In summer we have been able to play more family games. I snapped a picture of us playing Ra. Sarah loves bidding on anything related to destruction. I'm not sure what that says about her!
Lately Matthew has been really interested in driveways and sidewalks that have cracks. He built this road with "cracks" in it all on our living room. He ripped up paper then taped it back together to simulate roads. 

Matthew and his roads
 Erik bought me a vegetarian cookbook for my birthday. I made peanut ginger noodles and stuffed tomatoes. Both recipes were amazing. I can't wait to make more recipes from the cookbook.
Stuffed tomatoes
 Last week Jenna went to a video game camp. She learned GameMaker and created several games. Her friend Alexis also went to the camp. They both really loved it. Now I just need to download GameMaker on one of our machines. We give the kids our old computers. I currently have 3 computers I'm using all the time (plus 3 raspberry pis - I guess that makes 6!) so I need to figure out when I can give them one of my old computers.
Jenna and Alexis
 Last weekend my parents took the kids and we had a weekend sans kids! On Saturday we went on a 13.2 mile (according to google fit!)  hike at Cesar Creek. Unfortunately we did not bring enough water. So for the last 1 1/2 miles we had no water and prior to that we were really conserving water. Once we got to our car we high tailed it to a gas station and bought a huge bottle of water and drank it within minutes! The hike was beautiful, however in one section there were so many trees covering the path we had to climb over them and it was pretty crazy!

On Sunday we rode bikes to church then went to J. Alexanders for dinner. Unfortunately Erik got pretty sick and dizzy on Sunday and couldn't eat much at dinner. I think the lack of water on Saturday was really bad for him.

Both nights we rented movies from the redbox and ate huge bowls of ice cream. Yay!                                                                                                                                                              
Erik picking berries on the hike

Where we had lunch

Us on the hike

In front of the lake

In front of the lake

part of the trail that was covered in logs

I took this picture standing on a log while Erik led the way in the trail

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Kids love nature

Hocking Hills
For Fourth of July we went to Hocking Hills with the kids to do some fun hiking. They loved it! We walked all around Old Man's Cave. The kids love climbing.

They loved climbing!

More hocking hills fun
 Then after walking all around Old Man's Cave we went to our friend's Fourth of July party. They own 300 acres of beautiful wooded land near Hocking Hills. Erik rode an  ATV in the rain and got terrible poison ivy, but he had fun! They had a bouncy house there and even though it was rainy (and the bouncy house was soaked) the kids loved it. I think they loved it because it was wet and they slipped and slid all over it. The food was fantastic too - it was a potluck and I love potlucks!!
Erik on the ATV
 For Matthew's birthday he got to wear the black belt at tae kwon do. He was very happy - I'm not sure he behaved any better though!
Matthew as a black belt
 Last weekend we went on our annual camping trip with the Masts, Mabrys and Brubakers to Lazy River. It was a great trip as usual! The kids love the river and spent several hours playing with the rocks. Kids love nature and they had a fantastic time. The pool here is also nice and warm and we had fun swimming in it. I even did a somersault in the pool (my signature move). On Saturday Jen, Joy and I went to a discount store to buy books. Mostly for Jenna because she reads constantly. We cooked over a fire and played games in the evening. I love this annual camping trip!
All the kids
 Aunt Shelby is making a quilt for Matthew. He is super excited and checks the mail every day for the quilt. I have pictures of the girls quilts on their beds made by Shelby. I can't wait to see Matthew's quilt.
Sarah's room

Jenna's room
 I love zumba and my friend Tera (who is also one of my favorite zumba instructors) is moving to Tennessee. I'll miss her so much. My Mom and Jenna have been to her classes.
Me and Tera