Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Fall Farm Days

October 13th was a perfect day to go to the corn maze - a fall activity I can't wait to do every year. My favorite is Spooner Farms because they have a different theme every year, a goal of finding all the mailboxes hidden in the maze and a prize at the end!

The older kids and I journeyed the maze this year while Dada and Berg stayed near the free apple cider.

The theme was Secrets of the Pharaohs. The kids favorite part of the maze this year was a huge pyramid which had another maze inside that you had to go through to get to the rest of the corn maze.

We took a break half way through for some apple cider and a potty break and found out that Berg and Dada had been working on standing up. Berg showed off his new standing skills for us!

Horray for Berg and the very patient Dada who let us go through the maze all day while he stayed with Berg and and Opal as she opted to stay behind with them for the second half of the maze adventure.

Dada also bought us these yummy malted pumpkin spice candies which we enjoyed every time we found a mailbox.

We also found a Woolley Bear caterpillar that the kids carried around for the rest of the maze and showed to everyone we ran into.

The next day we took the Schocks, the McPhollands and grandma and grandpa with us on the bus to a new farm we'd never been to before. Lattin's Cider Mill is suppose to be famous for their apple fritters. And thankfully we were able to try some even though they were all sold out because of a kind lady who sold some of hers to us.

The apple cider doughnuts were delicious too. Although we got no pictures of the famous pastries, they were eaten way to fast. We did get to see the farm, lots of poultry, some sheep and goats, pigs and cows. Kivi even got to hold a duckling.

All the kids by the cows after going through a little fence maze.

We ended the day with a little trip to Johnson's Smoke House for salami, sausages and meat sticks and then went out for pizza!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Getting Ready for Fall!

Actually, it has been fallish for a while, we never really had a full summer. But that doesn't mean we get to skip out on our end of summer responsibilities. Right after Jasper's birthday party we decided to take the honey supers off the hive. It was about one of the last dry, warmer days left of the season and once it starts getting rainy and cold, the bees will start eating the honey. It felt really warm in that bee suit. I think Baby Wormie made me feel even hotter.
Since Peter was out of commission, Kim helped out as my bee partner. She was a pro shaking the bees off of each frame and lovingly handling "the girls". Look at all that capped honey!
We've been harvesting vegetables from our garden through out the summer, mainly a ton of lettuce and yellow squash. We did get some zucchini, one cucumber, carrots, lots of tomatoes and a basket full of peas. We still have some tomatoes, corn, romaine lettuce and acorn squash to pick. But we'll see what the cold weather does to them. They're not quite ready yet.
We had 2 cords of wood delivered and the amazing children stacked it all!! We really had no other choice, Peter couldn't do it and neither could I. They have 2 lame parents right now. I mean literally, we are lame. Well, I can walk, but not far as my hips and pelvic bone had already started the separating process and it feels like I will rip in half while I waddle along. They did such a great job with the firewood, though, they didn't complain and all worked together for the couple of days it took them to do it.
It really was a lot of work!
I just like this pic of the bigs reading to the littles. We usually have story time every morning before they get dressed. Jasper and Opal both get to pick out a book or two. This morning, I decided to let Eben and Kivi do the reading while I cleaned the kitchen and looking over at them made my heart melt. I love my kids!
I had to clean the kitchen so we could do honey extraction!! Usually this process takes a while but our friends that we share the extractor with updated our hand crank spinner with a drill bit. Much faster! I cut the caps off the honey with a hot knife.
The summer was short, so we didn't get as much honey as we thought we would. One whole honey super was empty, but we did get about 14 frames of honey.
Dada puts the frames in the spinner two at a time and the drill does all the work. Berg looks on mesmerized. And the other kids eat the honey and chew on the wax caps from the pan where I cut the frames.
Then we pour the honey through two different strainers and into the big honey bucket so later on we can fill our little jars.
Mmmmm. Honey.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Jasper's 5th Birthday!

Jasper is a cool boy. For his fifth birthday he requested a "Monkeys with Fedoras" themed party. I don't know why. He doesn't especially love monkeys, but he got fixed on this idea long ago, so we went with it. He does have a fedora that we got him in CA that he loves, so he wore that and his banana shirt and carried his monkey, Steve, ( that I actually bought as a decoration for the party, but turned into his favorite animal) all over the place.

We started off with a banana eating contest, which I think was actually Eben and Kivi's idea. Bubba wanted to just watch. Kivi's banana fell immediately onto the grass and we almost had a serious melt down, but thanks to self control we survived. Eben kept eating his hair. Opal just stared at her's. Dada could've eaten the whole thing in 2 bites but I think he was going easy on the kids. Cousin Victor (you can see the back of his head) won!
Next we played a toss the monkeys in the barrel contest. Which the kids loved because however many monkeys you got into the barrel that's how many pieces of candy you got.

Cousin Madison tossing a monkey into the barrel while Uncle Chris tosses a Berg into the air.

At Jasper's request we had peanut butter, marshmallow and banana sandwiches and Mac and Cheese. I made four huge casserole dishes of Tiffany Nevil's recipe and they were wiped out! And bananas were served of course.
While Jasper opened his gifts the kids went back and forth from watching the presents to jumping on the trampoline - always a favorite. Dada's rule is let all the kids jump on it, and don't watch. As soon as an adult actually checks to see it the kids are safe, one of them will get hurt.

Cake time! It's suppose to be a monkey with a fedora on it's head. And yes, Dada is using crutches. He broke his foot wake boarding just two days before and thankfully Grandma and Grandpa and Uncle Chris and Uncle Tonya and cousins came early to help Mama set up, because he was out of commission.

Does this boy even look like he could be five? He is way too cute.

Along with cake we also had a self serve banana split bar!

Here's a shot of all our friends and family who came to celebrate our man with us.

We love you so much, Jasper! You bring such joy to our lives. You are kind and loving and thoughtful of others. You make us laugh all the time. You are cuddly in your rough way. You get attached to crazy things and get super sad if anything bad happens. You love to share especially with your brother, Eben. Your favorite color is yellow. You want to wear shorts and sandals all the time. You wear size 3 clothes. You are reading like a pro and are almost done with your first Phonics book. You are a Lego maniac and can build anything. You are a child of God and He also thinks you're one amazing kid! Happy 5th birthday, Bubba!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Discovery Bay

Sept. 18-20th we drove across the bridge to Discovery Bay -it's in the Port Townsend area. We got a smokin' deal from one of Peter's officer friends on a WorldMark condo and had a blast for our 3 day mini vacation. The kids were really impressed because it was 5 stories tall! The first floor had our bedroom and huge bath with soaking-jet tub, the next level was the entry and laundry, the 3rd was a the living room, kitchen and dining area, the 4th was the main bathroom and the 5th was the kids bedrooms. It wasn't actually that gynormous, it just went up instead of out to get maximum viewage of the water. (I know I making up words.) But the kids were so amazed.
Berg, who had just recently learned to climb stairs was in baby stair crawling heaven. He spent the entire time going up and down all the flights of stairs.
The kids pleaded with us to let them have backwards day, something we've only ever done in Leavenworth, but we weren't going there this summer. So we went to the store and Dada bought awesome dessert for breakfast - French silk pie and ice cream with magic shell! Then we had stir fry and rice. For lunch we served up crackers and Dada cheese (that's any kind of cheese the kids normally don't get, because cheese is Dada's favorite snack and it's usually expensive to get a good one)! Dinner was omelets from our own chickens since eggs were about the only food we brought from home.

We spent our time relaxing, watching T.V., listening to audio books, sleeping and doing crafts The girls did mosaics and the boys made a wooden truck and catapult, and they painted rocks they found on the beach.
We took a walk along the bay and found some huge starfish and plate sized crabs.
We couldn't get to the huge ones, they were underwater, but we were able to catch some little guys.
Mama and Dada had a sling shot competition, to see who could hit a seagull off the dock. Don't worry, neither of us won.
And of course most of our time was spent where else - in the pool!! Always a vacation favorite. Kivi and Eben needed no supervision as their swimming was amazing by the end of this summer. We did still watch them though. And Jasper held on to a ball to keep afloat and kicked himself all over the place.
I finished knitting a scarf I started long, long ago - yay! And Berg fell in love with my skein of yarn. He really has a thing for the knitted feel.
The best thing was doing nothing anywhere else. We usually plan little trips to other places around. But we decided to just relax and see what happened. It was great. I had no high expectations so everything was enjoyable. I should try to do that all the time.