Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Knox County Fair

 Not a year goes by that we don't attend the Knox County Fair in Keith's hometown of Bloomfield.  We especially wouldn't miss wristband afternoon at the fair.  We buy four wristbands and our kids ride the carnival rides for about 4 hours.  They go from one ride to another with a break for a snack at some point during the afternoon.
 This year we were joined by cousins Carson and Kamree at wristband afternoon.  The cousins had a great time riding on the carnival rides together.
 This year was by far the coolest afternoon I can remember for wristband day.  Normally the weather is hot and humid.  This year it even rained every once in awhile.
 After riding the rides for hours, the kids finally called it quits and we headed to Grandpa and Grandma Leader's house for supper and some relaxing time.  After supper, the adults and Cara headed back to the fair to enjoy the concert.
 The featured concert for the night was "Hairball".  They are a 80's tribute band.  Keith and I first saw this band last year at the Knox County Fair.  We also saw them earlier this summer at the Divots Concert Series.  Cory and Jodee had never seen them perform, but had heard us rave about their performances.
 It even started to rain pretty good during the concert, but the band kept playing.  They put on a great show for the big crowd.

 It was another great year of fun at the Knox County Fair!  We can't until next year.
Take care,

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Cara's 12th Birthday

 Cara's 12th birthday was on August 18th.  The weather was cold and dreary all day.  She wanted to spend her birthday boating at the lake with some of her friends, but since the weather was too cold we had to come up with another plan.
 She invited over two of her friends, Charli and Audrey, to spend the night and have some fun.  First we took the group out to Bailey's for a nice supper.  Cara loves the walleye that they serve on Friday and Saturday nights as the special.
 Cara didn't pick a traditional cake.  She picked out this cookies-n-cream ice cream cake.  It was really delicious.
 After eating supper, the girls picked to go bowling for awhile.  They bowled two games with Ashlin joining in for fun.
 Ashlin had a cheesy smile because she won both games of bowling.  The other girls complained it wasn't fair because Ashlin got to use bumpers while they didn't.
After bowling, the girls rented two movies from the Redbox and we all went home to chill out.  The night can be considered a success because these three girls stayed up until 4:30 a.m. before falling asleep.

Take care,

Monday, August 27, 2012

Canning Summer Produce

Early last spring I asked my parents if I could plant a garden out at their farm.  The response was "Yes".  Then we began plotting and planning what we would plant in our garden.  This was a joint garden adventure with my Dad, my Mom and myself.  We each wanted different produce grown in the garden.  Dad had two different plots tilled by my Uncle Frank.  Then we waited for my plants to arrive that I ordered and we each purchased some seeds to plant.

In the small plot, we planted spinach, green bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, cucumbers, onions, and big hearty tomatoes.  Then the girls helped me plant marigolds all around the outside of the plot to keep the rabbits away.  Rabbits do not like the smell or taste of marigold flowers.  We also put wire cages around the tomato and pepper plants.

In the large plot, we planted green beans, peas, beets, sweet corn, pumpkins, Roma tomatoes, cantaloupe, squash, and gladiola flowers.  At one point, Dad and I had to put up a chicken wire fence around two sides because something was eating the tops of my green beans.  I have told him to leave the fence up for next year.  We have been eating produce from the garden during the summer.  

Now that the tomatoes have ripened, I have been canning salsa.  I tried my hand at canning last year and I am giving it another go this year.  The salsa that we made last year was almost all gone.  So far this year, I have canned three half batches of salsa.  I have only been able to do a half batch at a time because of how many tomatoes are ripe at one time.  Next I think I will can a batch of tomato juice to use in soups over the winter months.

We have already started talking about what to plant next year and how to arrange the plants differently in the two plots.  The kids and I have spent quite a bit of time at the farm watering and picking produce, but we sure do like eating what we have grown.

Take care,

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

1st Day of Preschool

Standing out front of school on Preschool Open House Day last Thursday.
 Our little boy isn't little any more.  He started preschool yesterday and he couldn't wait to start going to school like his sisters.  He has been counting the months and then days since last January when we enrolled him in preschool at Sonshine Preschool.  His preschool is located in the same elementary building where his sisters attend school.  
 Justin's Preschool teacher is Mrs. Dene Nedrow.  She taught each one of the girls in preschool.  Actually, Cara was in her first preschool class.  Previously she taught other elementary grades.  
 Mrs. Sheila Keiser is Justin's other Preschool teacher.  Mrs. Keiser is the para for the morning preschool class.
Justin was so excited for his first day of school on Monday.  He picked out his clothes that morning and wore his new tennis shoes.  He also had his new backpack.  Justin wanted to walk into school by himself, but Dad met us at school to walk him in on the first day.  On his second day of school, he jumped out of the van with his sisters, turned around and waved and said, "See you later, Mom!" with a huge smile on his face.  Our little boy is definitely a big boy now!

Take care,

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Meet the Teacher Night/First Day of School

 Our Meet the Teacher Night is always the Monday night before school starts.  All the students can bring their backpacks loaded down with school supplies to their classroom and meet their new teacher for the year.  This eliminates having to carry it all on the first day of school.  The girls each got new backpacks this year.
 The laundry basket was loaded down with all of the supplies that did not fit into the backpacks. It contained 8 boxes of Kleenex, 3 reams of copier paper, and 3 containers of disinfecting wipes.
 Ashlin is in 2nd Grade this year and her teacher is Mrs. Nicole Pfeifer.  Ashlin was very excited to get Mrs. Pfeifer as a teacher because she is also one of our neighbors.  This is a big year for  Ashlin because she will celebrate and receive 2 holy sacraments this year in the Catholic Church.  She will celebrate the Rite of Confession and First Holy Communion.  She is excited and ready for a new school year to begin.
 Erica is in the 4th Grade this year and her teacher is Mrs. Vonnie Arens.  Mrs. Arens was sick on Meet the Teacher Night, so, we took her photo with Erica on the first day of classes.  Each year the school has a theme and the teachers dress-up according to the theme.  Our theme this year is "I Want to Live Like That".  We are starting a new anti-bullying program this year called "PeaceBuilders".  The teachers dressed up in tie-dye shirts and also builders uniforms.  Erica is excited to start 4th Grade and is ready for her class trip to Lincoln in the spring after learning about the history of Nebraska in Social Studies.
 Cara is in 6th Grade this year and her teacher is Mr. Dusty Korth.  Mr. Korth is also my first cousin.  As you can see, both Cara and Mr. Korth have red hair.  Cara was not ready to go back to school, but she was ready to see her classmates.  Cara is still a student in the smallest grade in the entire school with only 35 students.  Cara is looking forward already to the end of 6th Grade when she will be promoted at Mass to junior high.
 On the first day of school, I always take the girls' photo with Mr. Troy Berryman, the elementary school principal.  He always dresses whole-heartily with the theme for the school year.  Plus, the girls will remember the year's theme when they see the photo.
Another ritual, I always take their photo before leaving the house on the first day of school.  As you can see, Ashlin did not want to cooperate that morning.  Justin insisted on being in the photo since he gets to go to pre-school this year.  Another first day of school is in the books!

Take care,

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Kansas City Royals Baseball Game

This was the view from our seats.  We sat up high, but we were right behind home plate.
 This was Keith's and the kids' first trip to a professional baseball game.  Keith bought tickets for $11 a piece at the box office.  Upon entering the stadium, we showed our tickets and we each received a Kansas City Royals baseball cap, plus a coupon for a free combo meal at Taco Bell.  Keith scored quite the deal on the tickets.
 Waiting for the game to start.  Justin and Erica wore their caps through the entire ballgame.  Justin must have asked a few hundred questions before the game even started, not to mention how many questions he asked during the game.
 This photo is of Alex Gordon.  He is the starting left fielder and lead off batter for the Royals.  He is a graduate of the University of Nebraska so we wanted him to do his best since we are from Nebraska.  Alex did not disappoint.  He ended the night batting 3 for 4 and made a great catch in left field.
They were constantly giving away free stuff during the game.  The mascot came up into the stands and through baseballs into the crowd.  They gave away gift certificates, t-shirts, food, etc. all night long.  Even with the temperature at 100 degrees when the game started, we had a great time at the ballgame that evening.  It was our last night in time before heading home in the morning.

Take care,

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Sea Life Aquarium

 Next, we went to Sea Life.  Sea Life is located in the same building as Lego Land.  Sea Life is an interactive aquarium.  There is a lot of reading of signs and nameplates on the walls to figure out what kind of sea life you are looking at.  For children they had a scavenger hunt map to be completed.  The kids had to answer questions along the route through the aquarium.  To answer the questions, they had to read various signs on the walls. 

 There was a pool where you could tough starfish, snails and sea anemones, etc.  This is Justin's arm going into the water to touch.
 These fish reminded the kids of some of the fish on "Finding Nemo".

I love the jelly fish.  At the end of the maze through the aquarium, was a kid friendly play area before entering into the gift shop.  Why do they always put a gift shop at the end of any tour???  I hate them.  We have already paid money to enter and then they know that every child is going to want a toy at the end of the tour.

Take care,

Monday, August 13, 2012

Crown Center

After finishing up at Lego Land, we went across the street to Crown Center to find some lunch.  Everyone was starving by this time since it was past our normal lunchtime.
 The lines to eat everywhere were long, but we decided on Crayola Cafe.  While waiting to be seated, we browsed through the Crayola store next door.  After lunch, we headed to the Hallmark Visitors Center and to Kaleidoscope.  Upon arriving we found out that a session had started about 10 minutes before, but they let the kids go in and start creating.
 All four of the kids really loved Kaleidoscope.  First, they each made fish out of the materials provided.  They explored a dark room and usually neon colors to draw on the walls.  There were tables to create a picture on cardboard and then crank it through a machine which cut it into a puzzle.  You could paint masks, draw, paint, and create at all kinds of tables.
Justin was creating with starfish and sea horses at this table.
 Bear with me on these vacation posts, only a few more days to go.

Take care,

Friday, August 10, 2012


 On the second day of our trip to Kansas City, we went downtown to Crown Center to check out some of the attractions there.  Our first stop of the day was at Legoland.  This interactive display of Legos was just opened in 2012 and the line outside the building was long.  We waited in line for about 45 minutes to get in the building.  There was a line again right after lunch, but about an hour later the line was non-existent.
 Your first stop is an area where they tell and illustrate how Legos are made and the history of them.
 Next you move on to a ride similar to a video game.  Guests ride in cars and shoot bad guys while trying to save the princess.  The game records your shooting score.
This photo shows downtown Kansas City.
 After exiting the ride, you get to explore a city made out of Legos which was really amazing.  
More Legos depicting downtown Kansas City.

A Kansas City Chiefs football game out of Legos.

 Then Justin and I went on this ride depicting flying wizards.  You rode in these cars and then powered the ride to go up and down by pedaling.  The faster you pedaled the higher you could go.  If you quit pedaling or slowed down you would fly lower.
 There were many areas for you to build with Legos.
 They showed a 15 minute 4-D movie featuring Lego characters.  You wore 3-D glasses, but you got to feel snow, wind, rain, spit, etc.  It was a very cool little movie.
 Guests could make cars out of Legos and then race them down ramps.  Legoland was very crowded, but had some cool aspects.

Take care,