Sunday, April 30, 2017

Dogs - Dips - Drinks?

How I feel on Sunday.......

How I feel the rest of the week...

Can't you see the difference?

Remington is packing a bit of extra weight these days.  Hey, aren't we all?!  He and I are so excited for summertime.  We are going to start our new exercise routine in hopes of losing the extra weight and finding some extra energy.

Wish us luck!

David tried to get a job dipping bottles for 
Maker's Mark Distillery.

He showed great potential.

He possess a lot of natural talent
handling bourbon bottles.

David 'sponsored' a barrel of bourbon several years ago.

The barrel has now aged enough to get bottled, 
so we recently made a trip to visit the distillery 
and claimed our very own personally dipped bottles of bourbon.

Drinks, anyone?!

Friday, April 28, 2017

Creative Cooking and How To Make Money In Middle School

Emily and Grace share a newfound love of cooking.  Both girls are capable of preparing a meal when necessary.  But the fun for them (and me) has always been in creating things.  Making a pot of spaghetti or beef stew, though necessary and filling, is not nearly as fun as trying to create something new and different.

During the Super Bowl, Emily tried her hand at football brownies
with moderate success.  

We always make brownies from scratch, 
and scratch brownies didn't hold up as well as a box mix brownie would have.  
But she was pleased with the results...

and so was everyone else given how quicly the plate of brownie footballs disappeared!

For Valentine's Day, it was Grace's turn to try something creative.  She found a recipe for chocolate bowls on facebook.

This involved carefully dipping balloons into warm chocolate.

Melted chocolate applied to balloons was its own recipe...
for disaster!

After a few failed attempts 
and several minutes spent cleaning chocolate splatters
off of the counter
(you get the idea)

we figured out the proper technique to make chocolate bowls.

  Then the fun really began.  

Grace did a great job filling and decorating
her Valentine chocolate bowls.

Everyone agreed they were delicious and really cute too!

But the most fun was Emily's creative ideas
for a cooking competition held by the high school band.

It was part of a fundraiser the band does each year.
Teams gather for a night of fun playing Trivial Pursuit.

The meal for the evening is chili.  
Families submit their favorite recipe to be judged 
and prizes are awarded to the winners.

There is also a dessert competition for band students only.
Emily made these treats to submit in the contest.


and won first place!

Way to go Emily!

For winning first place, Emily received two passes to Kentucky Kingdom.
Not bad, Emily, for a couple dollars spent on Jell-o.

Grandma would be proud!

And my mini entrepreneur, Grace, is always looking for a way to make money.
She found the perfect way to meld her love of cooking with her love of money.

Not that her product is edible though!

She jumped on the recent craze of making homemade slime.

She made some for herself,

and then she proceeded to play with it on the bus going to and from school 

making sure to look like it was the most exciting thing to play with
 since the Rubik's Cube.

It didn't take long before Grace's friends were plying her with money 

asking her to make them batches of slime.

And so a business was born....
Slime, Inc.

Not a bad way to make a few dollars doing something you love!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Kindness Repaid

Back in the fall, our neighbor passed away.
 I shared here that Grant delivered a card to express his sympathies 
to Natalie, our neighbor's wife.

I was very proud of him.

Several weeks went by and one sunny afternoon in November
there was a knock at our front door.

Standing there was Natalie, Bill's widow,
whom I had only met in passing.

She asked if she had the correct house. 
She was looking for a Grant Shupe.
 We confirmed that Grant lived at this address.

Natalie then shared a very tearful and heartfelt moment 
with Grant and the rest of the family 
as we gathered around to hear her story.

Bill, her husband, had served in the Vietnam War.
He had suffered for many years 
from the terrible effects of exposure to Agent Orange, 
finally succumbing to its toll on his body. 

Natalie told Grant how much his sympathy card had meant to her and her family
during their time of grieving.

She then shared with Grant two items she wanted him to have
as a way to remember her husband and our neighbor, Bill.

Natalie gave Grant a two dollar bill because her husband 
had enjoyed sharing two dollar bills with people he encountered.
He would tell the recipient of the bill 
they would never be broke as long as they kept the two dollars he gave them.

Natalie also gave Grant a Vietnam Memorial silver dollar coin.
Bill had collected them during his life, 
and she wished to share a piece of Bill's personal collection with Grant.

Needless to say, we were all teary eyed by the time 
Natalie finished her story about Bill.

Grant's thoughtfulness not only provided comfort 
to a grieving family,
it also opened the door to a new friendship with our neighbors.

I'm ashamed to admit that after seventeen years living on the same street,
there are many neighbors I only know by name at best.
Given that our church emphasizes our need to 
"love where you are"
(meaning we should model Christ's love to everyone we encounter in our lives),
this brings to light my need to do a better job 
'loving where I am'.

Thanks, Grant, for teaching your mom

how to love those around us.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Horses and Turkey Hunting

 The weather has been SO MILD this winter and spring.


That has meant lots of days riding horses.  

These were taken on a Saturday a few weeks ago before we left on a ride.

 Grace and Grant have been riding our gentle giant, Romeo this spring because their horse is not able to be ridden right now.

Their horse is Hershey.  Here's a picture of Hershey from last year.

 And here is a picture of Hershey this week.

It makes me so sad (and angry) to see him this way!

Hershey is a young horse, and we don't have enough time to keep him ridden like he should be for the kids to use him.  So we took him to a horse trainer to spend a month.

I know the trainer was well intentioned, but I think he made every possible bad decision when it came to caring for this horse.  By the time we got him back, he had already lost a significant amount of weight and was not eating at all.  His health continued to decline for several days after we got him home.  Even the vet said he only gave him 50/50 odds of surviving.

 Poor fella!

But Hershey is hanging in there and is slowly starting to regain his health.  I'm certain we will not be riding him this summer as we spend the next many months nursing him back to health.  But I'm hopeful with a little luck and a whole lot of answered prayers he will eventually be his former robust self once again.

 David helping Grant with his invention convention
Book Brite Lite

 These two make quite a pair.
David took Grant turkey hunting Easter weekend at the farm.
They had a great time in spite of not killing a Tom.

Maybe next season!


Monday, April 24, 2017

Invention Convention Gone Bad

You might be a bit burned out as a parent

when your child needs ideas for 
the annual invention convention
and your best offering is


It seemed like a good idea at the time.

They flavor water with everything now.
Why not beer water?


 Bacon water?


So we came up with an equally lame
but much more socially acceptable invention...

The Book Brite Lite

So what does it actually do?

It's primary purpose is to 
keep my son in the good graces of his teacher.
Other than that, it's handy for holding your book open on your lap 

and lighting the book pages when reading in the dark.

(this was before we put lights on both sides of the marker)

By the way,
Grant got an A on his project.

I think he would have gotten an A
for inventing beer water too.

Just remember,
some day when you're perusing the cooler section 
of your local convenience store
you will find refreshingly cold bottles of
beer flavored water.

And we thought of it first.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Homey Homes and Cat Homes

 Since David was feeling so generous at Christmas,
I was able to add a couple tables and lamps to our living room 
in addition to our new sofa and chair.


I posted a picture of the new sofa and chair from the day they were delivered,
but I never got a picture posted once we added the extras.

It seems so homey now!
It only took seventeen years living in this house to furnish the living room. 

Do you think we procrastinated a bit too long
getting the job done?

With dogs, cats, kids and babies to care for and entertain,
having nice furniture never seemed very important.

I think it was pretty obvious 
from my abject lack of decorations.

Maybe I can make up for lost time by making it extra homey now.

Grace helped me with the living room decorations...

She used my lamp boxes to make a cat house.
At least the cats feel at home now!

Silly Grace!
Her middle school celebrated spirit week last week.
Here is her outfit that she wore for Decades Day.

It's great to have older kids that have already done these crazy things.
We only had to go as far as Emily's closet to find an outfit to wear.