Monday, June 29, 2015

Say What?

Overheard while Grant was counting coins to pay me for something he wanted: 


Ummmm, Grant, I think there is a way.  It's called counterfeiting, and it is very illegal. 

Grant is not a saver. If he has five dollars, he spends five dollars.  He stays in a perpetual state of FLAT BROKE.  We'll have to work on that.

John doesn't share much about his ROTC classes at school.  He did share the following conversation he had with Sergeant Major who teaches his class. 

Sergeant Major:  John, how are you doing on your project?

John:  Sir, we are done!

Sergeant Major:  No!  Turkeys are done, Son!!  You are not DONE!  You are finished. 

John:  No Sir!!  I am not a turkey.  I am finished with my project.  Thank you sir for clarifying that.

I wish I could send all my kids to ROTC camp for the summer!!!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Sunday stuff

Our grain mill....

Loving it. Love it even more now that we put a motor on it. Cranking it would be a full time job to keep enough flour milled for our family!  Also, we can make peanut butter with it. Still working on that one. 

Look who landed his spaceship in my office. 

He spent some time working..,

Not sure what type of work he does. 

Then it was time for a snack. A hamster's gotta eat!
Ritz crackers tops his list of favorite foods. 

Grant insisted I take a picture of his chicken strip. He thought it looked like a seahorse. 
I obliged. Seahorse chicken strips are important. At least they are important to eight year old boys. 

Strawberry pie made with my rendered lard. I have been ordered to never again make a pie using vegetable shortening. 
The lard pie crust received high ratings from all who got a chance to try it. 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Doctors and More Doctors

This has been the week of doctor visits. 

Grant came close to earning his very own trip to the doctor. His knee met his face pretty hard while jumping on trampolines at SkyZone. He's tough though. A few tears and an ice pack and he was soon back on the trampolines running with the big kids. 

Four kids to the optometrist on Monday.  A trip with Grandpa on Wednesday. Two kids to the doctor for physicals on Thursday.  Two visited the orthodontist, and then all four kids made a to the dentist on Friday.  Fun times I tell you. 

Today's trip to the dentist ended with me urging my kids to take candy from a stranger. Well, he wasn't REALLY a stranger, but Grace and Grant did not remember him. While I was paying our bill, in walked the dry cleaning guy who used to deliver laundry to our house. I haven't seen him in probably four years. The kids used to love him because he would always have tootsie rolls in his pocket for them. If they weren't around when he dropped off our laundry, he would leave tootsie rolls in the ticket bag for them. 

Grace remembered him. Grant did not. But when he dug a handful of tootsie rolls from his pocket for each of them, he instantly became their best friend all over again. Both kids found it amazing to walk out of the dentist office with fists full of sticky sugary tootsie rolls. I too found a bit of irony in the situation. 

We visited for a while. He is a sweet guy and surprisingly he remembered us. 

I am happy to report that all doctor appointments resulted in good reports. Grant has to add a bottom retainer to go with his current top retainer. This news brought a few eight year old tears. He thought he was finished with retainers since he has been so faithful to wear it. He recovered quickly though and was off playing again.  We pick up his new retainer next week. 

In other doctor news, I recently had my six month CT scan. The scan showed no new cancer. Gotta love news like that. On with life for another six months. I repeat scans in December. 

Speaking of random sightings of familiar faces, I spotted another familiar face when at the hospital for my CT scan. While sitting in the waiting room, I had the pleasure of speaking to Pat Day, a well respected jockey who happens to live near us. He was there with his wife. We exchanged hellos but I refrained from saying much else to him.  What a great guy though. 

Happy Friday!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Farm stuff and funny stuff

Snickers might be just a tad codependent.  She makes driving through the pasture more than a little difficult.

Someone needs to teach her some manners...and fast!!

 Being the baby.....she gets by with a lot of poor behavior.  

Barn progress....

June 2

June 21


There should be rafters up by now. 

We are going for a world record in the category of 


We will hold this record for many years to come I fear. 

I rolled four kids out of bed Tuesday morning and had them pulling weeds in the garden by 7:30. 
I wasn't feeling the love from my kids that morning.  By noon when it was ninety degrees they no longer hated me. They had backed down to only mildly disliking me for making them weed the entire garden. They did appreciate the fact that we completed the work in the cool hours of the day. 

Parent. Of. The. Year. 

Joke of the day...,.

If a husband talks in the middle of the forest and his wife isn't around to hear, is he still wrong?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Happy Belated Father's Day!

Grant loves to wade in the creek.  Most of the time he wears boots.

Not for the reasons you would think though.
 Normal people would wear rubber boots to keep their feet dry.

 Not Grant
 He wades right on in with water pouring over the top of his boots.
He wears them for traction on the mossy rocks.

He then dumps the water out of each boot and wears the hot soggy things home.


You've heard the saying about men and boys and the price of their toys.
David lives that out to the fullest.

Grant loves toy cars....even cars that are hamster powered.

 David prefers cars with a little more under the hood than just hamsters.

He bought himself a Father's Day gift this year.  This is David's newest toy vehicle.
It doesn't compare to the candy bouquet or the branding iron we gave him for Father's Day, but it is a lot more fun that the other gifts!

I think our almost-sixteen-year-old son has visions of this becoming his vehicle some day.
Keep dreaming, son.  You're gonna have to fight to get this one away from your daddy I'm afraid!

 Happy Father's Day, David!!!


Someone stole the center from the cinnamon roll.

Wonder who?

Here is a Father's Day gift from Emily to David. 

We enjoyed a busy Father's Day yesterday. After church we celebrated the day with brats on the grill and gifts and cards.

In addition to Emily's gift, David received a branding iron with the Rock Hills Farm letters. Since we aren't much on branding the cows, we tried to get a child to step forward and volunteer as the first to take our brand.  No one would volunteer. Cowards. 

Later David and I ran to the farm to work and check on the progress at the barn.  They are making some progress in spite of the wet weather!

Today was eye doctor appointments for four kids followed by a trip to ECO to clean offices then off to the pool for an evening swim. 

These are the days of summer we love. 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Who needs ADT?

A house full of plastic animals is much cheaper than a security system.

Just be careful shuffling to the kitchen in the dark. 

Summer is in full swing with kids and friends and pools and late nights playing until dark. 

Silliness is our constant companion. 

In addition to the fun we are still trying to keep sharp for school. The two younger kids have a routine of chores and summer school work to do daily. 

The older two have chores when they are not off living the life of a camp counselor. They too have homework. Theirs is the real kind though assigned by their AP teachers and due on the first day of school. 

Thinking of you dad. Love you. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2015


This post is dedicated to my niece, Bethany, the newest domestic goddess on the block.  She inspired me to revisit some old projects and continue my quest to reduce the size of our monthly grocery bill. 

I give you.....

Homemade ketchup. 

This met with resounding approval. I cooked it in the crockpot and canned six quarts. 


The next project was homemade mustard. Easy to make. Not very pretty. Tastes just like the store bought stuff. No one really cared about this one. I only use it when cooking, not as a condiment. 

Success number two. 

Mayonnaise/ miracle whip were next on the list.  Mayo was pretty easy. The miracle whip took a bit of trial and error to get the taste right. 

Once I had mayo, I moved right on to ranch dressing. This too received the family blessing of good taste. 

The successes keep on coming!

My latest crazy project?

Last night I canned this. 

Overnight it changed into this. 
This, my friends, was my first attempt to render lard. Not having done it before, I am not sure what rendered lard should look like, but I think I got it right. 

Thanks to the magic crockpot, I cooked down three pounds of leaf lard and got just shy of three pints of rendered lard plus a tasty snack of cracklings. THAT was a trip down memory lane. I haven't had those in years!

I can't wait to make a pie crust with my new lard. 

Next up on my homemade to do list?

Grinding our own flour. It's happening people. I'm just waiting on a place to mount the flour mill. 

And no. 

We are not living Amish. I don't wear dresses and David doesn't have a straw hat hanging on a peg by the bed. 

I love my air conditioning and Internet too much to ever convert. I think I'll just work on eating like the Amish. Not a bad goal. 

Thanks Bethany for the sharing of ideas and inspiration. You make this adventure a lot more fun. 

Bonus points for saving a whole bunch on our grocery bill!
Let's eat!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Summer Is Here!!!

We survived the last week of school!

Awards were handed out. 

Some like Grant were having fun even though they personally didn't receive any awards. 

This is our beloved principal, Mr. Tyra. He is retiring  this summer. 

He will be missed by so many. 

The PTA hosted a farewell party for him. It was standing room only because so many students and former students came to wish him well and tell him how much they loved him.  That speaks to what a great job Mr. Tyra has done through the years. 

David and I donated this globe to the school's library. 

We planned to do something like this once our kids were gone from the school but decided to go ahead a few years early. This gave Mr. Tyra the opportunity to choose what to do with our donation. The globe was his idea. As he said it is a point of sharing in a school community that represents 17 languages and students from 29 different countries. 

Summer has been busy so far. John and Emily are off working their second week of summer camp. Farm, garden, swimming and playing are keeping us all busy. I know I've neglected posting. Promise I'll do better!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Too harsh?

Sometimes I think we go too far with our discipline. 

David's new discipline technique. 
Very effective. 

It's gonna be a long summer. 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Grant's Story

Trouble Maker

            Hmmmm…How can I get Grace’s money while she’s not looking?  I thought to myself.  Where is she anyway?  Oh good, she’s playing outside.  Now is my chance to get into the playroom where we keep our banks.
            I crept into the playroom like an Indian sneaking up to its prey and put in her password.  Fortunately it is easy….7890.  The bank beeped to let me know I got the password right and then popped open.  I pulled out a ten dollar bill, and then I snatched out another ten.  Then I grabbed a fifty dollar bill.  I shut the bank quickly so Grace wouldn’t notice.
            I snuck out and yelled at my mother in the other room.  “Mom, can I shop on the computer?”  “Sure,” she announced.  Pok’ here I come!  I thought to myself.  I found exactly what I wanted.  It was a tin can with a big bunch of pok’emon cards inside.  What a deal!
            “How much have you spent?” Mom asked.  “I don’t know,” I answered.  She reviewed my past orders and found out that I had spent about $132.  Then she asked how I still had money left.  She called Grace upstairs and told her to go count her money.  “I originally had $254,” Grace said. “Now I only have $184.  Have you been stealing money, Grant?”  “Yes,” I said with my head hanging down looking at the floor.  “Go get me all your pok’emon and put it on my bed right now, mister.  It stays there for a week!” shouted Mom. 
I was pretty sad.  I learned a valuable lesson.  Do not take anything from anywhere or anyone because it is not right.  It is unfair to those who lose their things.  I can also get into big trouble, and that doesn’t feel good.

Well at least I can say two positive things here....okay maybe three. 

1.  Grant is a decent little writer.

2.  He learned a good lesson from the money snatching episode.


3.  I guess even bad experiences can have good consequences.  He had a great subject for his personal narrative.