Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sometimes random is nice

Please note that these desserts were made in about a three year period. as we are NOT sugar junkies. The above picture is of whipped cream on top of strawberries, with a drizzle of chocolate syrup.
A carrot cake made for my friend Becki's birthday.

An apple pie for Mr. Boots 16th birthday.

A raspberry chocolate cheesecake.
A 'swamp' cake for Elizabeth's 4th birthday.

A lemon pudding.


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Ping Pong at the Mangos!

We finally got the ping pong table. It is so nice! We don't have a lot of room with all the things we have stored in the garage. There is only about 10 inches of clearance on the one side and nothing on the other.
We have to make allowances for replays when the ball goes into the 'junk' on the edges and is nonreturnable. But the children now have something to do that is active and that is NOT in the living room. Hallelujah! I also now have a place to exercise,

as the children take turns being beaten by Mom. HeHe! I still got it! Mr. Boots can give me a run for my money sometimes, but he's not there yet. I really enjoy playing ping pong. Thanks DH for setting it up and clearing all that stuff out of the garage to make room.

I was Supposed to do a Winter Post But...

I was getting tired of white pictures and wanted to see green grass again. So I am delaying the winter post a little.
I am sorry that these pictures are not in order.
Being a puppy is hard work!

O.K so I did do one snow picture.
Eating again.

This looked alot more comfortable to him than the grass.

Dallas brushing his teeth.
Enjoying his snack.
Does anybody know Dallas' full name?
Everybody gets up to five guesses. Have fun.

Friday, February 12, 2010

December-January Birthday Party

JoAn and Mr. Boots had birthdays. JoAn is now 19 and Mr. Boots is now 17. We combined their birthdays and had the party on February 6th. Doesn't make much sense to me either. We had to find a date that the rest of the family could come. Mom and Dad are still in Florida, but we aren't sure when they are coming home. They are waiting for it to warm up down there. They haven't gotten into a pair of shorts yet.

My Nephew Ian had a rough evening. He spilled his strawberry shortcake on the floor. He was willing to eat it from there, but those mean adults wouldn't let him. He also managed to get into our craft closet and found a container of finger paint. He couldn't get the lid off, but that didn't stop the mess. He dropped the plastic container on the floor and it broke. There's a book about a purple crayon, but the book he read must have been about purple paint. Fortunately, it was on a wood floor and cleaned up easily.

JoAn and Mr. Boots had a homemade pizza and salad dinner and strawberry shortcake for dessert. Everything was delicious. Poor JoAn had to do all her own cooking for the party as I was stuck in the blizzard away from home.

We played 'The Great Dalmouti'. A fun card game that accommodates up to eight players at a time. It is a game that never ends, but the person who is winning changes with almost every round. My DH really likes this game. It is easy and a bright 6 year old can figure it out.

Heidi is growing up quickly and well. She is looking forward to getting her braces off before she leaves for the Philippines.

Todd is busy taking LOTS of pictures with the camera he got for Christmas. We are all well documented now.

This is my beautiful niece Sadie. No, I didn't touch up this picture. Her eyes are really this blue.
We enjoyed a nice evening of family fellowship.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Caught in a blizzard

This past weekend a big snowstorm blew through Ohio. I was driving down in Amish Country on my usual errands. The storm wasn't supposed to arrive until late afternoon or early evening. They lied. It started about 1:30. I hurried along but I had a lot of stops to make. When I turned around to head in a homeward direction it was 6 PM. The snow was coming down heavily. I stopped at one house to make a drop off and got stuck in the driveway almost against a house. Two young Amish men came out and helped push the van as I drove it. It took about a half hour, but I was finally on my way again. At my last stop, things were going well. As long as the roads were relatively smooth, I was going along OK. I decided to head home. I tried to plan the best route with the fewest hills.

We drive a big van and I was pretty well loaded up with weight. I headed up a moderate grade and about one third of the way up, my van's back end started to fishtail toward the ditch. I got it stopped before trouble arrived, but the van was at a 45 degree angle relative to the road. Hmmm. Now I couldn't back down the road and the van wouldn't go up the hill. Fortunately, there were no other vehicles on the road, everybody else was smart enough to stay off the road. I learned later that there was a Level 3 road emergency and nobody was supposed to be out. Oooops. A four wheel drive pick-up headed down the hill and he stopped to see if I needed help. I was working on gradually getting the van up the hill. He asked where I was going, and I told him. He got quite a laugh at my optimism.

I persevered up the hill. It was rough as the van never really could go straight. It pushed that angle right up that hill. I realized that going further was foolishness. I called DH and told him that I was going to pull in . Fortunately, I had some good Amish friends in that town. I pulled down their road and into their driveway. I got the van off the road by about 2 feet and couldn't make it any further into their driveway. Michelle and I were glad to be able to stop.

We went up to their door and asked them if this was 'a bed and breakfast'. They graciously took us in and fed us. We had a wonderful bed and slept like logs. It felt so good to be off the road. We had a nice visit.

The snow stopped about noon. We still weren't able to head out until after 2:30. As we headed home we heard that the snow emergency had been lowered to a level 1. I wish so much that I had a camera with me. It was absolutely gorgeous to see the farms and woods covered in the deep snow. Overall they got 18 inches where we were. We got home by 5 PM. Just in time for JoAn and Mr. Boots Birthday party.
We thanked the Lord for His safety on the roads.
P.S. the snow photos are from the snow last night, not over the weekend. I really liked the top picture which was taken in the dark with an infra red light.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Winter and Snow Books

Here are some book reviews of some of my favorite children's books about snow and winter. I am reviewing them in order of complexity and books for younger to older readers.

'Bear Snores On' is a board book that is written in a rhyming style that tells the simple story of a bear in his lair sleeping for the winter. Many of his friends come in and have a party there while he hibernates away. See what happens when he awakens. This is one that the little ones like to hear repeatedly. It is a short read and good for even very little listeners.

'The Snowy Day' is a simple story about a little boy exploring the natural world of snow. It is a simple book, and shows what winter is like in the city.

This story shows a big snow hitting a town and how they dig out. It is a story that 3 or 4 year olds will enjoy.

'Newf' is the story of a big Newfoundland dog that swims ashore an island up north during the winter. There is a little white kitten there that is starving and freezing. Newf and the kitten build a relationship and become friends. These animals are not personified. This is more of a nature story picture book.

'The Log Cabin Quilt' is about a pioneer family that live in a cabin. When winter happens they are freezing and the wind blows through the cracks of their walls. The father must go hunting to feed them. Find out how they come up with a unique way to keep warm. This is a good story in picture book format.

This is a read alone for a child who is comfortable with chapter books. This is a sequel to Robert Lawson's 'Rabbit Hill'. This is the story of how the animals play and thrive in the winter. There is animal personification. This is a fun story. (128 pgs larger print and many illustrations).

'Lost in the Barrows' is about some Eskimo boys who get lost in the Arctic and their struggle to survive and return to their people. If you like adventure stories, this is a good one. This book is written for about a 4th grader. There is about 150 pages and fewer illustrations than 'The Tough Winter'. This would be a good read aloud for younger children.

Lois Lenski is an excellent author. I have enjoyed and reread many of her stories even as an adult. 'Prairie School' tells the story of children growing up on the western prairies. The story tells about a year in their life, but one of the most exciting stories is about when the children are stuck in the school during a blizzard. The whole book is excellent, but a few chapters read on a snow day is also a lot of fun. This book is out of print and more difficult to get a hold of. Do not pass by an opportunity to read or buy a Lois Lenski Book.

I have read this book to my children several times during snowstorms. It is short (about 80 pages) but is not a chapter book. It is the 'true' story of a group of school children who are coming home on the school bus over the western plains and they get caught in the middle of no where in a blizzard. The teacher who is driving the bus has ~9 children of various ages. The oldest is a 16 year old boy and the youngest is a kindergartner. She has to take care of them and survive despite frostbite and illness and almost no food. It is a great story and everything ends well.

Stephen W. Meader is my favorite children's author. He writes 'boy' stories for readers fourth grade and up, and is a wonderful author. My favorite story of his is 'Trap-lines North'. It is the true story of two teenage boys who have to take on adult responsibilities when their dad is injured. They each run their own trap line in Northern Canada. They have many adventures and have to survive frigid temperatures and storms alone with only what they have in their backpack. The book does contain pictures of these stalwart young men. I have read this book at least 8 times. This is a keeper if you can get a hold of it. Stephen W. Meader books are out of print, but a company is reprinting them, unfortunately at a premium price. :-( If you can find any of his books at a reasonable price (less than $20), BUY THEM! You'll be glad you did.
I hope you found these reviews useful. I know this is not an exhaustive list, but I thought I'd share some I have enjoyed. What are your favorite winter stories?

Mom's Away- Time to Clean the Refrigerator

The guys were cleaning out the garage in order to put the ping pong table in. We had two refrigerators in there and we needed to get it down to one. We used this refrigerator to store vegetables, dairy and eggs. Over time it got a little gross. We didn't clean it much as out of sight is out of mind. Now we needed to clean it out before moving it on. Mom's not home... Who should clean it? Looks yucky. How about Dallas?

He came into the garage and was 'Johnny on the Spot'. He was more than happy to clean out the bottom.

He even cleaned in the back corners. He did a good job for a youngster.

After all that work, he was ready for a nap in the back hall. It's a dog's life!


We have been getting a lot of snow lately. we have at least a foot and it keeps coming! Us kids have been doing a lot of shovelling. because of our mommy's business we have to keep the driveway cleared for them. Our only snow blower belongs to Mr. Boots, and it is VERY old and does not like to run when there is snow on the ground. Last year it decided it would not work anymore, and Mr. Boots was not home to deal with it. Unless we find a specific part it will never run again. We are in cahoots with our neighbor children. we help them shovel their driveway and they help us with ours. Brooke, Chance, and Ulysses have been sick lately so they have only come once so far this week. we have been enjoying all this snow. Last night we took Dallas and went over to play at the neighbors. We're going sledding today.
How much snow did you get?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Wild Goose Chase

This is really the story of a swan song. My sister Miriam and her family feed a swan while the owner goes out of town. They also end up feeding half the geese and ducks in the area.
Miriam's family was heading out of town for the weekend so Michelle agreed to feed the swan. At the last minute my sister stayed home as she wasn't feeling well.

Michelle went over to the pond and got the food out and fed the ducks and geese, however, the swan was missing! They searched high and low, but the swan was gone and there was no sign of her. No feathers or blood - a good thing.

Elizabeth and Levi were along to watch. The pond is surrounded by gravel and a fence. The swan has her wing clipped and so she can't fly. Where could she be? They called Aunt Miriam, and she got out of her sick bed to come look for the swan. In fact she went twice. She also contacted the owner to ask where she wandered to when she got out. No help there either. They deduced that she had swam out the little creek and had left and was probably looking for company. The male swan had died several years ago. Where do you look for a swan? My sister had no idea and so she left.

She decided to go to Pat Catan's to buy knitting needles to work on a project. Pat Catan's is about 1.5 miles from the pond up the creek. When she came out there was a crowd gathered in the parking lot. She went over to see what was going on and saw they were surrounding and looking at a swan. HMMM! We didn't know the swan was into crafting.

The police were called to help catch it and after multiple tries they threw a net over her. Apparently the police in this area are not familiar with capturing swans. They finally got her contained, wrapped her in a blanket, put her in a box and gave her a lift home. They then had to use a tarp and block off access to the creek so she couldn't escape again! The story ends happily. Sarah the Swan is home.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Winner Announced!

We are happy to announce the winner of our little contest. It is our friend Sandy! We will be shipping it out this week. Now the story behind this plant. What you can't tell from the picture is that the pot is only about an inch across. The plant is about 8" high. It spends about half it's life floating in a bowl with the pot off. Not sure how it has survived the neglect and abuse. We got this plant about two and a half years ago (July 2007) when our friend Davis moved from Ohio to Texas. When he lived here in Ohio he spent time everyday at our house for almost four years. We could have used him as a tax write-off. He became a part of our family.

We had a 'going away' party for him and in the center of the tables were these little plants. We took two home and so far have only been able to kill one. Davis returned this summer for a very brief visit on his honeymoon trip. We got to meet his beautiful wife Christina. They would appreciate prayer as she has been very sick (nauseated) during her pregnancy - she's due in April, and still is very ill with 'morning sickness'.

Why the picture of Dallas? My DH constantly calls the dog Davis instead of Dallas. I think it is the first 'D' name that pops into his head. He loves it when 'Davis' greets him at the gate in the evening. Or when the pup miss behaves it is 'Davis' that gets yelled at. The most interesting and humorous moments occurred when 'Davis' got fixed, we had him neutered. I wonder what Christina would think about that? He He.