Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Concordia University Volleyball Camp

 Last Saturday, I drove a group of girls to a volleyball team camp at Concordia University in Seward.  This team camp was for our reserve team made up of freshmen and sophomores. 
 They played teams from David City Aquinas, Lincoln Lutheran, Palmyra and Lawrence Nelson.  They played three JV teams and two varsity teams.  It was a day to work on technique, get touches in and take chances.

 They played hard and got a few pointers from one of the Concordia coaches. Concordia has a wonderful facility for a small college.  The girls also played some games in Seward's new middle school.  Both excellent facilities. 

Now Cara has to get in 1,000 touches before practice starts in a few weeks.  Next week is max out week in the weight room, conditioning week the following week, and fall practice starts the week of the 17th. 
Take care,
Michelle

Friday, July 24, 2015

Afternoon at Willow Lake

The kids were looking for something different to do than go to the water park and Cara got home early from detasseling, so I came up with the idea to go to Willow Lake for the afternoon and hang out at the beach. 
 The neighbor kids, Aiden and Addyson, were just hanging out at home while their Mom was at work so we asked if they wanted to go along.  When we got to the beach area, there was only one other car in the parking lot so we had our choice of where to put our stuff.  I struggled getting the little boat inflated, but I kept trying and finally succeeded.  The kids forget that we have this little boat, but it makes an appearance every once in awhile.  They love it!
 Ashlin came up with the idea to take a few sand toys along for castle building. The sand at this beach has quite a few rocks so not the best. 
 They aren't required to wear life jackets in this roped area, but they pretty much did the whole time except for Cara.



 Naturally, there had to be a water fight that involved kicking water, splashing water, using a bucket of water, etc.

 Somehow there was also a chicken fight.  The teams weren't quite fair, but they were having fun.


 Ashlin wasn't involved in the fighting and pretty much took it easy.  She broke her nose on Tuesday on the neighbor's slip'n'slide.  Her nose connected with a neighbor boy's knee. 
After an afternoon in the sun complete with snacks and drinks, we were already to head home.  Hopefully, I can talk Justin into cleaning the sand out of the car for me.

Take care,
Michelle

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

JV Volleyball Camp

Cara was asked to participate in a team camp at Wayne State College.  The camp was played at the college and at the community center.  There was a JV team division and a varsity team division. 
 Each team was placed in a pool and you played each team in your pool.  Then the teams were re-pooled and you played each of those teams. 
 Cara played on the Norfolk Catholic JV team.  She was the only freshman playing with a group of sophomores.  It was a day of learning for Cara.  She played better is she played more aggressive.  She played middle hitter and had a few blocks.
 Cara is learning to adapt to new teammates, learning new techniques while playing the net, and adjusting to being a freshman on the team.  She came home one tired girl after playing six games of volleyball, but happy to be playing.
Take care,
Michelle

Monday, July 13, 2015

Winning a Grand Championship & Fair Recap

No one ever said that 4-H was easy or that completing projects for the fair is easy.  But, learning skills that will last a life time is not easy either.  There was complaining at our house, a Mom pushing and yelling, and some failures and some success, but in the end many, many projects were taken to the county fair and many ribbons were won.  
 Trust me there were moments when they all wanted to quit and give up, but I won't let them.  When you take your projects to the fair, each 4-Her must go before the judge and be interviewed about the exhibit.  This was Cara's second year to bake a chiffon cake.  Last year she received a purple at county fair and a blue at state fair.  The goal this year was purple ribbons at both fairs.  Therefore, Wednesday night when we walked through the 4-H building looking at exhibits, seeing a big purple grand champion rosette on Cara's chiffon cake was a shock and total excitement.  This is Cara's first rosette.  The smile on her face and the excitement in her voice made all the hard work totally worth it.  Now to earn that purple at state fair.
 This was Erica's first year to try canning.  The first batch of blueberry/lemon jam was a flop and didn't set up.  Therefore two days before fair, it was time to try again with some strawberry jam.  Cara's jar of jam received a blue ribbon because the head space was incorrect.  Erica's jar, however, earned a purple ribbon and the right to go to the state fair.  I think Erica's interview totally clinched it because she said that she shared with the judge about the flop and having to try again.
Cara's toilet paper roll cross and stenciled burlap table runner both are going to state.  This stenciled burlap table runner was also a re-do project.  The first table runner was not good, but I will still use it on my dining room table.

 The girls each had entries in the floral area taking annuals (marigolds) and perennials (Shasta daisies).  Erica gets to take flowers to the state fair.  All flower beds will be raided for state fair entries.  Ashlin also took vegetables to the fair for the first time.  She entered yellow onions and rhubarb.  The judge told Ashlin that she had excellent interviews and knew all about her products.  Her onions received a blue ribbon because some had double stems and her rhubarb received a purple ribbon.  Next year we will try to get more vegetables to the fair.
 These are not good photos.  But, Erica and Ashlin made whirly things to hang in the garden or trees.  They used empty water bottles, colored them with Sharpie markers, and then cut them.  They are cute and I hung them in the trees today.
It was a great year at the fair!  Cara made $65, Erica $58 and Ashlin $63 in 4-H premiums.  They each made a few more premiums in open class.  Justin earned $15 in open class on his Lego entry and a bunch of floral items.  Now we will get state fair items ready to go in August.  Cara and Ashlin were asked to write articles for the Norfolk Daily News 4-H Edition this fall.  Then we will start looking for items to take for next year.

Take care,
Michelle

Thursday, July 2, 2015

League Champions

The baseball season came to an end last night with Justin's Canham Maytag Twins winning the coach pitch championship game 14-4 over the Phillies.
 The end of the season tournament started last week and each game is win or you are done.  In the first game, the Twins won a defensive battle over the Angels 5-4.
 Then the next game, the Twins beat the Tigers 25-13.  Justin's team has been up and down all season.  They would win one and then lose two, but when it was tournament time the defense and the bats came to life.  They didn't hit this well all season long.
 During the regular season each batter is given seven pitches and if you don't hit the ball the tee is brought out to hit off.  But, during the tournament, no tee is used, so, if you don't hit you are out.  These kids did not want to get out, therefore, the bats were swinging and connecting.
 It was fun to watch them improve as the season went on and winning is always a good thing.
 At the end of the game, when they were told to line up to shake hands, they were asking if they won or lost because the score isn't posted anywhere and they have no clue what the score is.  They all jumped up and down when they found out they had won the championship.
 The team received a trophy and each player received a medal for winning.  Justin was pretty proud of his medal!
 This little boy is Caleb.  Justin and Caleb were the only kids on the team from Norfolk Catholic.  They were talk, play catch, and have fun together.  Caleb is an excellent ball player!  His dad was the team's assistant coach.  Caleb usually was the lead off batter and played first base.  He catches anything close and hits like a champ.  His Dad, Brian, played college baseball at Wayne State College and also coached for awhile.  You can tell the time he has spent working with Caleb by watching this little boy play.

Take care,
Michelle

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Few 4-H Fair Projects

Last Saturday was the 4-H entry day for all non-perishable projects.  The girls had a fast and furious couple of weeks to get everything completed.  There was one day that I think you could have gotten high from the paint fumes in the garage.  We had projects all over the house in various stages of completion, but in the end, Cara got everything done, Erica had everything except for one item, and Ashlin didn't get two things completed.  This isn't bad considering how many entries the girls had.
 This year the girls did quite a few of the same items with variations to each of them.  For example, they each made these wooden letters.  Three purple ribbons on these letters.

 They each did a project that involved recycling an old softball and turning it into a flower.  The one pictured above is Cara's.  All three girls received purples on this project.
 This burlap stenciled table runner caused Cara and I fits, but it received a purple ribbon and Cara said the judge loved it.  This was NOT as easy as I thought it was going to be.
 All three girls used modge podge to adhere fabric to terra cotta pots.  The judge was not thrilled with this project, although, it was completed at a 4-H project day.  After the judge had looked at a few of these pots, she was questioning her ribbon choice on the first few pots.  I am wondering if she went back and changed some ribbon placings because many kids completed this project.  I can't wait to put actual plants in these bright patterned pots.
 Another recycled project the girls completed was one that involved using empty toilet paper rolls and turning them into designs.  Cara and Erica made crosses and Ashlin made a sunburst design.
We will be back at the fair the week after the 4th of July to enter all our baking, flowers and gardening.  More photos of projects and ribbons will be coming later. 

Take care,
Michelle

Monday, June 29, 2015

Boating with Cousins

 We headed to Lewis and Clark over the weekend to get some boating in and we picked up cousins Nick & Jake on the way from Grandma & Grandpa Leader's house.  They were up for the weekend with their family.
 The water is still not the warmest and the wind was blowing more than usual, but the kids were ready to tube, swim and have fun.

Hard to believe that these two, Nick and Cara, are going to be freshman this fall.
 After boating for a few hours, it was time to head home.  Erica had to babysit early and Nick & Jake had to head back to Lincoln.  Plans are in the works for the next boating adventure.

Take care,
Michelle