Friday, August 26, 2011

Knox County Fair Fun

The Knox County Fair always falls the weekend before school starts so it is like their last hurrah before school.  They wouldn't dream of missing wristband afternoon at the fair.  Our kids ride for the whole five hours with only brief bathroom and snack breaks.  This year cousins Nick and Jake were staying at Grandpa and Grandma Leader's house so they got to go along for the fun afternoon at the fair.
Justin had to ride by himself this year because Ashlin took off for the bigger rides with the older kids.  No baby rides for her.
Justin didn't care one bit that he was by himself.  He just went from ride to ride and got in line.  His favorite may have been the maze.  He would get done and get right back in line again.
The hardest part of Justin may have been waiting in line.
The older kids rode for quite awhile before stopping for snacks.  After the break, Cara decided to go on the tornado right away and regretted it after the ride was over because her stomach was upset.  Ashlin did get upset because some of the rides you had to be 48" to ride on and she is about 1/2" to an inch too short.  It made her mad that they wouldn't let her ride even if she tried to ride with Nick or Cara who are both tall.
After riding for hours, we headed back to Grandpa and Grandma's house for supper.  The weather was perfect for an afternoon of riding.  Usually the temperature is so hot that we bake, but it wasn't bad at all, probably upper 70's to lower 80's.  Then after supper Keith and I headed back to the fair for the evening concert of Hairball.  This was an 80's tribute band that played for 2 hours and 15 minutes.  They were only under contract to play for an hour, but the band was having fun so they played longer.  This band was awesome!  We heard that they will be back at the fair again next year.

Take care,

Thursday, August 25, 2011

New Roof

One Saturday in April we left town for the day. During our time away, Keith received a phone call from a coworker telling him about the storm that had went through Norfolk. This storm produced large size hail and strong winds. The storm caused large trees to be knocked over, car windshields to be knocked out, and shingles to be blown off of roofs.

After waiting for three weeks our roof was looked at by the insurance adjuster and he declared our roof totaled. Then we contacted a few local contractors for roof replacement bids. After picking a contractor we have waited all summer for the new roof.

Yesterday at about 6:30 a.m. they started tearing off the old roof. By the end of the night we had a new roof. This morning the crew will finish cleaning up and put on our new gutters. Then they will move on to another house three doors down the street to replace their roof.

Take care,

Monday, August 22, 2011

Cara's 11th Birthday

Thursday was Cara's 11th Birthday! On Friday she got to invite a few friends over for a slumber party. Rylee, Jaydn, Reese and Piper came over for the party. Charli got sick at school and was disappointed that she couldn't come. Oh, and we can't forget that Cara's siblings also got to attend the sleepover.
We ordered two large pizzas and bread sticks for supper to feed them. Keith and Cara had made a trip to the store for snacks for the night. Keith also picked up a smores dessert pizza and a cinnamon wheel for breakfast the next morning.

Cara even picked out an oreo ice cream cake this year. After supper Keith took the girls down to pick out a movie at the video store. Upon returning home, they started watching the movie and that was the last that we heard from them all night. The girls hung out in the basement all night playing the Wii and watching the movie. Keith told them that bedtime was at 1:00 a.m. and he went to bed. I was so tired that I was asleep by 10:30 p.m.

This had to have been the easiest party that we have ever had at our house. Keith even commented how smoothly things went. We both think that it went so great because Cara and her friends are all older and more mature now.

Also on her birthday, Cara took birthday treats to school to share with her classmates. It is hard to believe that she is already 11 years old, until she stands next to me and is almost the same height as me.

Take care,


Friday, August 19, 2011

Produce, Produce, and more Produce

Last fall at our school's annual fundraiser auction night, Scott, Nicole, Keith and I purchased produce from a fellow parent's garden. For $50 per couple we could get all of the produce we wanted this summer from Vanessa's garden. She even asked us what vegetables we would like her to plant. All summer long we have been receiving fresh vegetables from her. She has been tending her garden all summer long. Nicole and I would go pick vegetables when the family was gone on vacation, but for the most part Vanessa has done all of the work. She has planted, weeded, picked and delivered produce to our homes.

Last Friday, Vanessa's family was blessed with the birth of a new baby girl. This was the 4th blessed child born to this family, therefore, Vanessa has not been picking and I have gone every day to tend the garden.

This garden has been producing an abundance of produce. It takes me about an hour each day to pick produce. I have been picking three kinds of tomatoes, green beans, green peppers, jalapenos, cucumbers, peas, onions, yellow squash, and zucchinis. Earlier in the summer we also had spinach, carrots and green onions.

Last week Nicole and I had our first canning experience when we made salsa. Our first batch produced 21 pints of salsa. This week we did another batch and made 22 pints and 1 quart of salsa. Today I am canning tomato juice. The tomato plants are really producing. I have even been giving tomatoes and other produce away to friends and neighbors because we can't eat all of it and it is really piling up at our house.

Following is the salsa recipe that we used:

32 cups tomatoes - peeled and quartered (Roma tomatoes work best)

8 cups chopped onions

4 cups chopped jalapeno - remove seeds or will be HOT

4 cups bell peppers

2 cups sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup pickling salt

1/4 cup chili powder

3 TBS garlic powder

4 TSP chopped garlic

2 TBS black pepper

4 TBS ground cumin

2 TSP alum

5 cups white vinegar

2 large cans tomato paste (the more you add the thicker)

Mix in a big pot, stir and cook at slow simmer for 2 hours (or until you are sick of it). Jar & seal.

Take care,


Thursday, August 18, 2011

1st Day of School

Yesterday was the 1st Day of School. It was the day that we gave our children back to the teachers and staff at Sacred Heart Elementary School. It was definitely time for them to go back. They need and sometimes crave that structure and discipline in their lives. Plus they were ready to hang out with all of their friends again.
Each school year has a theme and this year the theme is "Go Wild for God". The school principal and staff dress up the first day to go along with the theme. As you can see, the principal dressed up as a gorilla.
The kids were all up bright and early the first day and dressed and ready to go within minutes. I was very impressed with how smooth the morning went. We'll see how long this lasts. They had to pose for the mandatory picture before heading out the door.

Since I am a staff member at school, I take their photos with their teachers at "Meet the Teacher Night". On the first day of school I am busy helping and don't have the opportunity to snap pictures. Ashlin started 1st Grade yesterday in Mrs. Miller's classroom.

Erica went on to 3rd Grade this year with Mrs. Anderson. Erica has now moved from the bottom floor at school to the top floor.

Cara started school yesterday being one of Mrs. Jessen's "fantastic" 5th Graders.

Take care,


Monday, August 15, 2011

4th Grade Field Trip

It is a tradition for the 4th Grade class to go on a field trip to Lincoln. In 4th Grade Social Studies they study the history of the State of Nebraska so it is fitting that the grade travel to the state capital and view historical state places.
One stop for the day is Memorial Stadium, the home of the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Cara was excited to view the stadium.

Some of the class outside the stadium. While on the tour, they ran into an alumni athlete from Norfolk Catholic. Jarren Heng was doing a workout. He runs cross country and track for the University of Nebraska.

On the way to Lincoln, Ms. Freese ran into a few ducks that decided to cross the road at a bad moment. This duck killing may have been the highlight of the trip. The kids, teachers and parents are still talking about the bus trip experience.

Another stop on the trip was the State Capital Building. Nebraska is the only state with a unicameral legislature. The class got to meet with the Speaker of the Legislature, Mike Flood. Mr. Flood is from Norfolk and welcomed the students to the capital. Mr. Flood is also an alumni of Norfolk Catholic and his oldest son, Brenden is one my preschool kids.

I wasn't surprised to see this photo on Cara's camera. Suh was an awesome football player for the University of Nebraska winning many collegiate awards. He now plays in the NFL for the Detroit Lions.

A few of Cara's classmates goofing around outside the stadium.

The last stop for the day was Morrill Hall. This museum shows many animals that once roamed the state of Nebraska is also a huge history lesson for the grade.

Take care,


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Good School Advice

Special request to all you kids returning to school in the next few days: If you see someone who is struggling to make friends or being bullied because he/she doesn't have many friends or because they are shy or not as pretty or not dressed in the most "in" clothes -- PLEASE step up. Say hi or at least smile at them in the hallway. You never know what that person might be facing outside of school. Your kindness might just make a BIG difference in someone's life!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Kindergarten Graduation

Kindergarten Graduation is an emotional day for the students, the teachers and the parents. The students get to dress up for the occasion instead of wearing uniform. Ashlin picked her dress out the night before in honor of the big day.
Ashlin waiting for the ceremony to begin. The kids were a little nervous standing in front of all of the parents and grandparents in attendance.

The three teachers read an ABC poem about Kindergarten. It caused them to have a few laughs and tears.

Ashlin receiving her diploma from Mr. Berryman the school's principal.

After the ceremony, the graduates and guests were treated to cookies and lemonade by the parents. Then each student had to return to their room to end the day. This note was on the board from Mrs. Hammond for her students. Then she read them another poem about leaving Kindergarten and moving on to First Grade. Mrs. Hammond cried, some students cried and a few parents cried.

Ashlin receiving her last Kindergarten hug from Mrs. Hammond. She gave each student a packet of things to do during the summer.

Ashlin on graduation was sad about leaving Kindergarten. But after a summer of fun she is ready for First Grade next week.

Take care,


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Sock Hop

On the last day of school each year, the Home & School Association sponsors a family hot dog feed and sock hop for the elementary students. The night has a theme and kids can dress up for the dance. There are prizes for the best dressed students.
My kids love to go to the dance and hang out with their friends in a fun atmosphere. Some of the teachers even show up to kick off the summer right.

The students all blow off steam by dancing and running around the gym as a way to start their summer off right also.

The DJ plays requests from the students most of the night. Therefore, the kids not only dance, but sing along to their favorite songs.

And of course the line dances are a huge hit!

Take care,


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Pie in the Eye

Since the countdown is on to the start of school next week, for the next week I will be posting events from the end of last school year.
Every year the PE teacher, Ms. Freese, sponsors a Jump Rope for Heart event at school. This year Cara and Ashlin participated in the event. Usually kindergartners do not get involved in this event because some of them cannot jump rope very well. Each participant is placed on a team and one team member must be jumping at all times. The event lasts three hours. Throughout the event the kids have chances to win prizes in drawings and for raising the most money. At the end of the school year, the school has an assembly in which the student who raises the most money in each classroom gets to choose a teacher to receive a "pie in the eye" from that student. There is a group of teachers that volunteer for this event. Ashlin raised the most money for her classroom so she got to sit in the front row for the event. Ashlin's class is sitting in the row behind her.

Cara and Erica had been working on Ashlin for over a week on which teacher she should pick to "pie in the eye". After all of the teachers participating had put on trash bags, protective eye wear, and taken a seat in the gym, I knew which teacher she would pick.

Ashlin chose to "pie in the eye" Mrs. Pfeifer. She teaches 2nd Grade, but she is also one of our neighbors. My kids know Mrs. Pfeifer as Nicole or Tyler and Jackson's Mom. The kids at school love this event!

Take care,


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Family Boat

Last night Keith and I purchased this . . .

2000 Sea Ray 210 Signature 21' boat.

When we got married, Keith had a jet ski that he loved. But, when Cara came along, Keith sold the jet ski to a co-worker because it would be just too hard to use with a baby. Last spring Keith had mentioned that he was seriously thinking about buying a boat for the family. But, with the flooding of the Missouri River we thought that we would wait another year.

Until some friends told us about a boat that was going up for sale a few blocks away. Sunday night the owner called to see if we were interested in taking a look. Monday night we went and looked, which all led up to us agreeing to purchase the boat last night.

We are ready to make new family memories and have lots of fun with our new boat sometime soon.

Take care,


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Adventureland 2011

Every other year we head to Des Moines, Iowa, and go to Adventureland. We love this theme park! When they designed this theme park they did an awesome job. The trees and park benches are placed just right so that you always have a place to rest in the shade.
Our first stop when we enter the park is the carasol. The kids and I boarded the ride first thing.

Justin and Erica riding the trucks. The first time Justin tried to go on this ride the ride wasn't working, but later on he got to ride.

Justin loved riding on the Red Baron airplanes. He learned quick that if he wanted to ride again to get off and run to get back in line. I would hate to guess how many times he rode the tea cups that day.

All four of the kids on the Frog Hopper ride. This has to be their all time favorite ride! We talked Cara into riding one time so we could take this picture. Justin would get on and giggle when the ride started.

Cara and Erica rode a lot of rides together. I can't even guess how many times they rode the Scrambler that day. After being at the park for a little over 7 hours, we headed for home. We were all hot and tired after a fun day at Adventureland.

Take care,


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Kamree's 5th Birthday

On Saturday afternoon we headed to Lincoln to celebrate our niece, Kamree's 5th birthday. The theme for the party was daisies and everything was yellow and green.
The kids took their swimming suits because they also have a big water slide. The day was extremely hot and the cold water felt good to all of the party guests.

Aunt Jodee had a side table set up where every child could paint a terra cotta pot to take along home. The guests also got to scramble for candy when the daisy pinata broke open and everyone got a bag of treats to also take home.

Uncle Cory was again a great chef for everyone. You could enjoy pulled chicken sandwiches, chicken wings, potato salad, pasta salad, chips, etc. If you went home hungry it was your own fault, because the food was fabulous. I almost forgot to mention the cupcakes and homemade ice cream served for dessert.

After a few hours of fun, we loaded up our four tired kids and headed for home. Thanks for the fun and Happy 5th Birthday Kamree!

Take care,


Monday, August 1, 2011

Hot Summer Nights

A few years ago, Keith purchased a water slide for the kids to use in the backyard with friends. The temperature must be very hot outside for Keith to put up the slide because the water is so cold. This summer Keith had to do a few repairs to the slide. The plastic tubing that carries the water to various parts of the slide needed to be replaced.

A couple weeks ago after much begging from our children and a few neighborhood kids, Keith put up the water slide one Saturday night. This photo shows the line of kids waiting for their turn to go down the slide and cool off.

Some of the parents of these children came over to help supervise the fun and also to drink adult beverages on our deck. The slide entertained the kids for hours.

This is Justin's first year to enjoy the slide. Last summer he was still too chicken to go down, but not this summer.

The temperature in Nebraska for the first part of the week is extremely HOT! Temps in the upper 90's with the heat index reaching into the 100-110 degree range. After being on vacation for the past two weeks, Keith headed back to work this morning. I think that the kids and I will be hanging out at the swimming pool for the next few afternoons.

Take care,