Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Happy 10th Birthday Luke!

Luke turns ten years old today! He is such a blessing to us. He is a wonderful big brother,a great student and reader. He loves playing board games and building. This past year he has learned to sail by himself, build a camp fire,and release fish he has caught. He is a great cook and baker as well!

Here are some pictures of Luke over the past year.

Like every birthday, he gets to choose the menu for the entire day. Here is what he chose.

Breakfast: Whole wheat banana pancakes

Lunch: Schlotsky's clone sandwiches

Dinner: Tater tot casserole.


Saturday, January 24, 2009

School Work

The following story was written by Jacob this past week for English. The assignment was to write a story with a main character,problem,solution,and dialog using quotation marks.

Missing Kayak

By Jacob

Grade 3

One Day Jacob was hiking near El Dorado lake. He saw something yellow in the tall grass. "What is that?" he thought. Wading into the grass,he found a kayak. How did it get there?

Back at camp, Jacob told his Dad about the kayak. They went to tell the park ranger about it. At the ranger's office Jacob told him,

"I found a kayak in some tall grass".

The ranger said, "A man just brought me a flyer about a missing kayak. Did it look like this?",he asked showing a picture to Jacob.

"Yes", said Jacob,"That's the one I found".

The ranger called the man and he came to the office. He told Jacob,

"Thank you for finding my kayak! I own a sporting goods store. Why don't you come in sometime and choose any knife you want as a reward?"

"Thank you sir!" said Jacob

The End

Those of you who know our family can tell this is a fiction story based on reality. Last August we had two kayaks stolen from a lake we were camping at. We e-mailed fliers to all the state parks and put them up at all the gas stations and bait stores between the lake and our house. About a month later the sheriff we had been working with, called to say that a camper had found them hanging in a tree at the lake where they were stolen.


Saturday, January 17, 2009


This past week we have been thinking about our priorities and came to realize this blog needed to be bumped back down a bit. It has gotten in the way of more important things,namely homeschooling the boys.

So starting this weekend, I will only update on the weekends.

Since my last post,we attended Lena Mae's service. It was the first funeral the boys attended. They did very well,sitting absolutely still and quiet.

Afterward,since we were in town Bri wanted me to go ahead and get the grocery shopping done. No problem. I quickly made up my list as we drove. The only problem I ran into was going up and down the aisles in my high heels. Before we had kids I worked at a Christian bookstore and wore dress shoes everyday. It has been 10 years since those days however and by the time I finished up at Wal-Mart, I was hobbling back to the Pilot!

Getting back to homeschooling, I am able to spend more one on one time with each boy and they are all benefiting from it. Luke and Jacob have both told me how much better they like the new schedule. I started the book Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy lessons with Caleb. He is having a blast learning to read. It is such a joy to see his excitement when he sounds out a word and it clicks. Jacob has really improved in his reading as well.

Have a great rest of the weekend.


Monday, January 12, 2009

In Memory

Lena Mae passed away early Saturday morning. She was 94 years old. She was a wonderful grandmother and great grandmother. We always enjoyed having her come to the boys' birthday parties. Up until the last year of her life, she was always on the go. Meeting friends to play bridge,and delivering meals on wheels "to the old folks".

She will be missed.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Favorite Recipe Friday

Ask anyone in my family what my favorite food is and they'll be quick to answer,"Dillon's Chinese!" And my wonderful husband indulges me almost every weekend. Where else can you feed a family of six for $7.96?

But as I am prone to do, I'll research on the computer for copy cat recipes and try and make it myself. Last night was time to try homemade egg rolls.

The recipe came from a friend on Taste Of Home's recipe forum. Her recipe makes about 60 egg rolls. I roughly made a third of it and got 20 delicious homemade egg rolls! Here is the full recipe.

Egg Rolls- This makes 60 egg rolls

2 lbs ground pork
** 8 oz glass noodles (also called Rice Sticks;I found them in the oriental aisle at the grocery store)
3 or 4 carrots-peeled
3 or 4 celery stalks-washed
1 large onion
1/2-3/4 t coarse ground pepper
1 t kosher salt
1 t sugar
3 T soy sauce
3 eggs
1-2 egg white(S)
60 egg roll wrappers (I found these in the produce section)
oil for frying

**Put glass noodles in hot water and let sit for about 15 minutes. Drain and cut with kitchen shears.

Put onion in food processor and grind. Cook onion in 1-2 T peanut oil until onion is clear. Put in large bowl to cool. Grind celery and carrots in food processor. Put in large bowl with onion.

Once the onion is cooked,use the same pan for the meat. Cook until no longer pink. Drain meat.

Add pepper,salt,sugar,soy sauce and eggs to the large bowl. Stir in meat.

On work surface,take one wrapper and use 1/8 cup of the mixture. Place in the middle on the end closest to you. Leave about an inch space of the wrapper so it doesn't spill out. Before folding,use a pastry brush and brush egg white on sides and top end of wrapper. Fold in 3's. Do this by bringing the bottom corner up over the filling, then fold over each side, then roll closed. The egg white acts as glue to hold the wrapper closed.

Place about five at a time in 350 degree oil. fry until golden ,turning once.

Place on paper towel lined baking sheet.

Can be frozen and reheated as needed.

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, January 8, 2009

Back to Normal Life

Well, the entire vacation has been posted for the world to see. What's left to talk about? We are officially back to normal life.

Yesterday Luke and Jacob had their teeth cleaned at the dentist. Today is Caleb's and my turn. The boys don't mind going to the dentist. After each cleaning they get the free toothbrush plus a little gold coin to get a small toy out the the gumball type machines. The waiting room also has a good sized toy box filled to the brim with all kind of stuff we don't have in our collection.

After yesterdays visit, we stopped by the library and loaded up on new books and a couple dvd's. Today we are leaving early for our appointment to stop by and visit a friend and return her dvd's she graciously loaned us for the drive down to FL.

This afternoon is school time and hopefully my first attempt at homemade egg rolls.

Have a great day.


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Driving Home From Florida

This picture is of our family about 2 minutes before we left Mom and Dad's house at 5am December 31,2008.

When we drove down to FL, we took the southern route to avoid possible bad weather. That drive took us south through OK and TX. Then east on I 10 all the way into FL. We got kind of board so coming home we took a different route.

We took 92 up to 75 then north up through GA to 20 and across Alabama and Mississippi,skirted across TN via Memphis,into Arkansas and OK, finally up to KS.

We saved a ton of money by packing a cooler and eating our meals and snacks on the road. For breakfast, we had bagels and flavored cream cheese,boiled eggs,and fruit. Lunch was summer sausage,cheese and crackers. Dinner was ham or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches,chips,fruit. Snacks were homemade trail mix, which consists of dumping the following into a gallon size baggie: 1 can mixed nuts,1 large pkg M&M's,and 1/2 large box of raisins. We also had sunflower seeds,chex mix, and carrot sticks.

We celebrated New Years Eve with a half gallon of Jamoca Almond Fudge ice Cream from a fuel stop/Baskin Robbins just outside of Memphis. We picked up some Styrofoam cups and plastic spoons. Bri scooped and distributed after we made it through Memphis and back on the highway.

Soon after,the boys went to sleep. I drove up and down and through the ozark hills of Arkansas. We rang in the new year by crossing the state line into Oklahoma. I made it to a little past Ponca City before having to ask Bri to drive "Just an hour" so I could rest my eyes. He ended up bringing us all the way home. We pulled up to our gate about 5am. Driving straight through including the time change took exactly 25 hours.

Five minutes after walking in the door, we were sorry our vacation was over. The time went entirely to fast. We had so much fun visiting Mom and Dad,playing in the ocean,and being warm the end of Dec!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Our Florida Vacation Day 7

Our last day in Melbourne. In the morning we did the laundry and started packing. Mom and I made ham,egg and cheese english muffins. Then I started a pot of refried beans to have for lunch. Later in the morning, Mom and I went back to the store for a few items and supplies for our trip home.

That afternoon Dad took us on a tour of the hospital where he and Mom volunteer.

Back at the house Nathan and Caleb took naps. Bri and I went out for a while and took pictures of the town. He bought me a new Florida outfit, and we got an ice cream cone.

Dad took the boys for one last ride in the golf cart.

Super that night was meatloaf,mashed potatoes and gravy,and corn. Later in the evening,we had popcorn and ice cream. Off to bed for an early start in the morning.

Our Florida Vacation Day 6

On Monday morning, Dad worked an early shift at the hospital,from about 5-9:30am. He and Mom both volunteer at the local hospital. They work in the dispatch department. When people are ready to go home, Dad is one of the folks who take them to their car in a wheel chair.

When he came home, we loaded up again to drive an hour up the road for lunch at a great sea food restaurant called Corky Bells. Shaun and Matthew met us there and then we followed them to Jetty Park Beach for an afternoon of surfing. Jetty Park is near Cape Canaveral. It is also close to a port where the big cruise ships leave for their cruises.

Luke and Jacob got the hang of it right away. Who would of thought two KS boys would be such great surfers?! Bri and I took awhile longer. But I did get up two times by the end of the day.

The amazing thing about the ocean is that it stays shallow for a long way out. Just the waves come up over your head if you don't jump. So when falling off the surf board again and again an adult is just in waist or ankle deep water. Caleb had a blast with the boogie board running into the waves time after time. Of course Nathan was happy to play in the sand up with Grandpa and Grandma.

That morning Mom had put soaked beans and a ham shank in the crock pot for dinner that night. On the way home we stopped and picked up some fresh jumbo Florida shrimp. So super that night was a feast of ham and beans,fried potatoes,cornbread biscuits,and shrimp.

To be continued....

Our Florida Vacation Day 5

Sunday morning we have a quick bite of cereal for breakfast and then all load up in the Pilot and take a three hour drive across the state to visit my brother and his family just outside of Tampa.

We arrived and got reacquainted with everyone. My two nephews are all grown up and in college now. We toured their beautiful home and had a delicious lunch of company chicken,mashed potatoes,corn, and pumpkin pie for dessert.

After lunch, the older boys and Bri changed into their trunks and went for a swim in the pool. Soon Shaun brought out a surf board and the boys learned their balance and had a ball. Bri and Shaun each stood at one end of the pool and would push the board back and forth.

Nathan was perfectly content to stay in the house and play with the Thomas train and read Thomas stories with Debbie and Andrew.

Leaving for the drive home, Nathan was asleep before we got to the highway. Back in Melbourne we just had sandwiches for dinner before going to bed.

To be continued....

Monday, January 5, 2009

Our Florida Vacation Day 4

Saturday morning we woke up and had biscuits and gravy. Then we packed a picnic lunch,put on our suits and headed out for a day at the beach! Mom came with us. Dad stayed behind to mow and run some errands.

We had a blast splashing in the waves,collecting sea shells,and taking walks along the beach. On one walk,we found a washed up jelly fish. At first we thought it was a kids plastic toy.

That evening Dad took us out to dinner at a restaurant called Friendly's. Every meal comes with a sundae afterward. The boys all got a mini monster sundae. It was a scoop of mint chocolate chip ice cream with a Reeses PB cup cut in half for the ears,M&M's for the eyes,and a cherry nose. So cute. The back home and into bed.

To be continued....

Our Florida Vacation Day 3

We woke up on Friday morning and Mom and Luke and I did a quick grocery store run so we would have food to eat during our visit, and more importantly,breakfast. That done,we came home and I made breakfast burritos.

Leaving KS in 6 degree weather, I had packed miserably. I just couldn't get my mind to realize that FL weather in winter is like late spring/early summer here. So after breakfast,Bri,Dad,Luke,Jacob and Caleb set off to do some sight seeing around town,searching for cool sail boats. Mom, Nathan and I headed to a nearby Beall's outlet for some shorts for me. Everyone was having after Christmas sales. I got a $6 pair of shorts for about $1.50! A couple doors down was a thrift store. They too were having a sale. Everything was half off. I found another summer outfit and got the boys each a pair of shorts.

Back at the house, Nathan and Caleb laid down for a nap and Dad, Bri and the boys went riding in the golf cart. Luke and Jacob were in hog heaven when they were each given a turn to drive!

That evening I made spaghetti,salad and french bread for everyone. Then Bri and I went out. After a bite to eat,we found Melbourne Beach and went for a walk. The sound of the waves crashing is so amazing. Being ever the gentleman, Bri walked closest to the water. Whenever the surf came up farther than usual we'd jump and run out of the way.

To be Continued....

Friday, January 2, 2009

Our Florida Vacation Day 2

We drove off and on through the night. Stopping for a couple hours at rest stops. Florida has very nice rest stops. At night they have security guards who patrol the area.

Several hours later,after navigating the nightmare which are the Orlando toll roads, we decided to stop and play awhile in Cocoa Beach.

The sea birds are amazing. A man was throwing crumbs into the air,and not a one ever hit the ground.

After getting knocked down by a wave at Pensacola, Nathan decided the ocean was not for him. He was perfectly content to play in the sand.

An hour down the road, we reached Melbourne.

We got to Mom and Dad's about 4:30pm Christmas Day. The boys got reaquainted with Grandpa while Grandma made us some hamburgers.

After super, a friend of Mom's came over and took the boys for a ride with Mom in her golf cart to look at Christmas light in the park. Bri and I rode with Dad in their golf cart.

Then it was back to the house for a good night's sleep!

To be continued...

Our Florida Vacation Day 1

Our vacation started about 10 hours earlier than planned. We thought we would leave about 5am on the 24th. Due to weather moving on the night before we left at 6:44pm on Tuesday night. It actually worked out great to start driving in the evening. The boys slept most of the way, and we avoided heavy traffic in the big cities. Bri drove till about 2am than I took over for several hours. Stopping only for gas and potty breaks, we crossed into Florida early afternoon on Christmas Eve day.

Bri couldn't wait to show the boys the beach. So our first stop was at Pensacola Beach.

We were mesmerized watching the waves just continually forming and crashing.

After a few hours playing in the waves,checking out the town,and a picnic supper on the beach, we loaded back up to continue driving.

To be continued....