Friday, May 30, 2008

Cool chicks come to visit....

Cool Chicks!

What an eventful day around here!

Two of our children enjoyed a visit with friends on their farm, excited about seeing all the new animal life in the barns, as well as all the many things offered by such a wonderful working farm venue.

As my friend Renee over there (the mommy with the same name as me! COOL!) built a lovely bonfire to have a cookout later on in the afternoon, the children scurried about visiting and experiencing so many fun things together.

The kittens were so sweet and teeny tiny yet, but it was the baby chicks that stole our children's heart - to the point where we are officially thrust into the wonderful world of "baby chick babysitting" - three of them for the weekend.

At first I wasn't too keen on the whole idea, wondering how we city slicker/country wannabees would accomplish such a mighty task, and then Renee made it very simple for us.

She carted over a nice sized box to keep them in, a heat lamp, food and other wee necessities. I was assured all they require is food and water, but not to be too upset should we happen to lose one.

Oh dear! That would be so sad!

Meanwhile, these little feathery creatures are sitting on our laundry room floor tonight, peeping so loudly, we'll have to close the door overnight so we don't hear them while we attempt to sleep here.
(Stepping over one another was common,
much to the chagrin of the one trampled on of course)

Speaking of sleep, these funny chicks have been so active today, as one might want to rest his weary body for a moment, another comes along and walks right over top of him, sending him squawking with a great shrill. Apparently these are just something called layer chicks, and other than that, please don't ask me what specific type they are, we won't be able to answer you. wink

So, our daughter is in charge of these little peepers until Sunday evening around 8pm. We'll be back to share how the weekend went around here. Until then, wish us luck!

Goodnight she says, for at least the tenth time tonight...

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

For the love of riding

For the love of riding

Spring brings warmer weather and horse riding in the outdoor riding ring. Yesterday she was able to ride a new horse the owner was contemplating on keeping, on loan for a trial riding period. This horse was name "Ronnie", and what a beauty he was!

Two weeks ago, this daughter completed her eighteen month long commitment as a mother's helper, where she assisted a family with five young children (the youngest was a newborn preemie in the beginning) for eight hour shifts each Saturday. Her dream was to free up this day each week, hoping to obtain work in a horse barn this summer.

Last night, she was in her element, not only riding another new horse, but also after her lesson when her instructor had just offered her a summer job, doing exactly what she was longing to do. Being paid to do what she loves to take part in already is truly a dream come true.

During the summer horse camp sessions, she will be part of a team with another rider to work around 38 horses, working in rhythm with the four legged animals she loves to bits.

Moving east has definitely blessed her and her sister with equestrian abilities never thought possible before. How neat to see them so "horse crazy", so here's to summer jobs in a barn filled with horses! coming


Just in, her flights are now booked! Our oldest daughter has to fly east on business so she is carving time around her work days to visit with us.


Her girls were able to fly here last summer with their auntie, uncle and cousin beating her to visit with us here in the east. At long last, it's her turn for however brief our time will be together.

We can hardly wait!

Another year gone by

Oh Happy, Happy Day!

Golly! It feels as though this young man just became a teen, and here this past birthday, he is already seventeen.

A few of the Friday night ball hockey young men joined our son for some birthday fun after their time together shooting and scoring in their challenging round robin games played on the sports court.

What a great group of young people, a pleasure to have them all here.

Ever notice though, just how crazy some young people are with their photo sessions these days?

There is either some sort of finger play involved, or a tongue hanging out, and worse yet, a hoodie hat on their head almost covering their eyes. Duh, cool dude? *snicker*

They know these photos will come to haunt them someday, but for the here and now, they think they are very "COOL" and we'll allow them to believe that.

This night though, while "attempting" to take photos, someone was ALWAYS doing something with their hands, fingers or hoodie hat coverings, so my hubby and I decided to become involved in a bit of a photo shoot with our son, turning the tables back at them all.

Word of warning ...

This is not a usual thing for us, but (LOL) - we got them back, and good!

I wonder what the future will hold for photo fun in our home now? :-)

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Coffee time

Coffee time!

A cup of coffee and a piece of "German Streusel Swirl" cake.

An old family favorite, whipped up in a moment's time.

German Streusel Swirl Cake

4 eggs
2 cups sugar ( I *never* use 2 cups, 1 1/2 at the most, usually substitute alternatives)
1 tsp. vanilla
2/3 cups orange juice
3/4 oil
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 square bakers chocolate melted (for this I use about one cup of the batter when mixed and approx. 2 tbsp of unsweetened cocoa powder. Mix well together)

I'll state it off the top. The secret to this light and airy cake is beating it for quite some time, first the wet ingredients, add the dry and then whip, whip, whip. :-)

So, beat the eggs. Add the sugar, oil, juice and vanilla. Beat again. Add the dry ingredients andbeat some more. Whip, whip, whip. :-)

Pour the batter into a bundt pan (or baking pan of choice). Swirl the chocolate mix on the top and then use a knife to cut it down into the white batter to make designs of your choice.

Bake for one hour at 350 degrees. If desired, sprinkle a bit of icing sugar on the top when it's done. The secret to getting the cake to fall out of the bundt pan is to ensure it's greased well around the funnel center.


Friday, May 23, 2008

Who's the boss?

Who's the boss?

No words necessary...sibling fun.

Soccer season is here

Soccer Season is HERE!

Last night we headed to the venue for our first night of soccer with our rather large homeschooling group here.

A chilly first evening, but the sun was shining!

Parental volunteers were plentiful for the 150++ children/teens out for another season of soccer fun , and as usual, some of the men were having a great time amongst themselves, let alone the blast the children were having. :-)

Can you see our older son running hard?

The older group's coach is super fantastic once again, the same as last year and he motivates the teens to perform well, encouraging fair play within the boundaries of competition and there was alot of that last night.

Plenty of visiting on the side lines

The air was fresh and crisp, almost too brisk for shorts, though the brave did appear in their finest soccer attire - shin pads, shoes and all.

She was happy to be here, team shirt and all

Five separate groups scurried about the fields, orange cones were speckled all over as far as the eye could see during the skills and drills preliminary instruction.

All of the children ran fast, played hard and had FUN! Note to the children though - always remember your water bottles!

Oh, and speaking of homeschooling in general. Dr. Laura has spoken, taking the topic to heart on her blog yesterday. For some insane reason, there are still people out there who think homeschooling children aren't socialized properly, that bad "S" word is ludicrous for the most part, especially in a large family such as ours. I've personally had more chuckles and shaken my head more times over the years over the blatant ignorance from well meaning folks who just haven't got a clue on the entire topic, especially when it comes to our family in particular. I'm not trying to be nasty, or step on any toes, but really now, head on over and read Dr. Laura's viewpoint and get a glimpse of her "real world" details. :-)

Good old fashioned fun

Friday Fun

There's nothing like fresh playdoh to play with, and they're asking for another batch using blue dye this time.

We're still preparing, but oh my, what fun we will have with the grandchildren very soon!

Roll em out, have a blast!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

At the water's edge...

Wow! This was fun!

For someone like me who loves both taking photos and preserving them, making a video of the children at the water's edge with effects and transitions in between photos was a blast to create and upload for you also to enjoy tonight.

Have a wonderful evening!


As of yesterday ...

it's now official and we're preparing.

Our son, daughter in law and their four young children (all under seven years old) secured airline tickets yesterday and they're all heading over here for a visit. It's will all be happening in just two weeks! We are all so very excited!

Imagine your parents and four younger siblings moving across the country and not being able to visit for the past two years.

Last year their eldest daughter had the opportunity to fly east with two other grandchildren, our older son and daughter in law were their guardians for the round trip. She has had the advantage of knowing just "how fun" Nana and Papa's house is (wink, popular grandparents, what can we say? LOL), and she is more than eager to come again to play with her aunts and uncles.

Preparations here are underway already today, not even 24 hours after their flights were obtained. It wouldn't be fun on a rainy day without a fresh new batch of playdoh, now would it?

Get the children involved, they can do it with you.

With my trusty OLD recipe in hand today, the younger children and I made two batches on the stove. First my little kitchen helpers measured, stirred and assisted with the gathering of items, and then kneading the warm playdoh hot off the stove. Two colors were suggested, and of course, they turned out so marvelous, the two large lumps on the counter looked yummy enough to eat them.

After the kneading, and cleaning a soapy sink filled with playdoh accessories, both children decided they were old enough to write their own recipes out for their future recipe boxes, just like their older siblings. Funny they thought a playdoh recipe was in due order first thing, rather than food; however who could argue with their enthusiasm.

Copywork accomplished

Perfect Playdoh Recipe;

Here is the perfect recipe for your own homemade playdoh, nothing out there can be compared to its quality;

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 2 cups water (dissolve color in it)
  • 2 tbsp. Oil
  • 4 tsp. Cream of tartar

Combine all ingredients in a pan. Stir while cooking over medium heat for approximately 3-4 minutes. Drop onto waxed paper (I usually just use the countertop). Knead. Store in closed container, or ziplock freezer bag.

Muscles required, mom to the rescue soon after

Because all of the ingredients are natural and already found in the kitchen, this is a great recipe for young children to use the countertop or tabletop for play, rather than delegating a plastic placemat to use instead. I find surfaces wipe clean in a jiffy, and if the wee ones happen to be tempted and eat a chunk of the stuff, they will make a grimace over the salty texture as a result.

Safe. Easy. Cheap.

What more could a mother want?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

It's almost time

It's almost time!

The garage was reordered this week. Snow shovels were hauled back to the barn for storage and in their place - five Hawaiian sun imaged boogie boards stand awaiting warmer weather. All are screaming "summer", obviously welcomed here and ready to grab in an instant, ready to be carried under our armpits in search of wild waves to ride.

People think only this kind of fun happens on the shores of such geographical locations of California or Hawaii. Not so!

Check out just one particular day last summer where we rode waves, and choked back a whole lot of water consumption, accidentally.

Counting down the days, it's almost time!

Birthday Boy

Birthday Boy!

It’s a birthday week in our family with two sons, a grand-daughter and a daughter in law, all celebrating their special days.

One son has reserved his ball hockey league night as an occasion to share some birthday cake with friends here for the evening, and the other son is awaiting a gathering of a few friends later next week, his first birthday party since he was very little.

It's upon occasions such as these where there is no way our children ever wish to forget the “great family tradition” of mom and dad taking the birthday child out alone for a birthday breakfast feast, where the honouree is given the duty of selecting the food venue and is granted permission to choose whatever he/she desires from the menu, usually breakfast and a dessert.

What’s a birthday celebration without ensuring the inclusion of the great family tradition factor? Well, I can attest to the older married children feeling ripped off that their time for these fun mornings isn’t happening any longer, or at least not lately. I suppose there comes a time, right gang? For now, this bunch at home won't allow us to forget this one particular tradition. No way!

Thumbs up!

Birthday boy is pictured here with his new bike. Ever wonder why children grow up so quickly, and why all of a sudden it’s time for bike riding season once again and somehow those longer limbs just seem to be stretching beyond belief? Knee caps begin to hit handle bars, hindering any ability of getting out for a spin beyond the garage.

This guy had outgrown his bicycle to the point where it was virtually impossible for him to even take a ride to his piano lesson with his brother this past few weeks.

He’s all smiles here, happy with his new wheels. And you know what they say, boys love their toys, but with all certainly, there is always a girl lingering nearby in a boy’s shadow with her own toy.

Not to be undone, our daughter grabbed her wheels and the two of them were off gathering speed all over the property, pretending of course to be dirt bike riders. (Where did that come from?) Oh, and notice the black fingerless gloves on his hands, something new he thought useful. grin

The "lingering daughter" involved,
both serving me more thumbs up!

So when did a hoodie hat become a
cushion under a bike helmet? Hmmmm

Thank you to everyone thinking of the boys this past week, they were beaming from your goodness, kindness, telephone calls and of course - mail! Who doesn't love mail? :-)