Monday, September 30, 2013

West Point GA-CC Club Volleyball Tournament

Saturday morning we left the house at 7:15 a.m. to drive to West Point for Erica's first club volleyball tournament of the fall.  She has tournaments for the next 6 weekends, I think.
Norfolk Catholic has enough 5 Graders signed up for club volleyball to field two teams some weekends.  This weekend each team played with six girls which meant everyone was tired by the end.
Erica is on Norfolk Catholic Red and their first game was at 8:30 a.m.  They played three games in a row in pool play and then had a break before tournament play started.  In pool play, the girls played West Point Guardian Angel Central Catholic, West Point-Beemer, and Norfolk Lutheran Black.
 In pool play, each game was two sets to 15 points.  Each game the girls hung tough and kept the sets close.  For their first tournament, we thought they played pretty well.  Some of the girls playing have never played before so it is a learning experience at the same time as a game experience.
The tournament was best 2 out of 3 sets to 21 points and the 3rd set, if needed, to 15 points.  Norfolk Catholic Red ended up playing Norfolk Catholic Black in the tournament for the first game with the Black Team winning.  But, it was a close 3 sets.
 Next weekend, Erica's club volleyball tournament is in Laurel and Cara's 7th Grade tournament is in Wisner.  Mom and Dad will be splitting up for the games.  Ashlin and Justin did not go this last weekend instead they went to Grandma and Grandpa Korth's house.  They had already spent time in the gym earlier in the week for two of Cara's games and they did not want to sit in the gym all day on Saturday.
Cara and Charli led the Norfolk Catholic crowd in a cheer while watching their 5th Grade sisters play volleyball.  We were definitely the loudest crowd of parents, but we sure had fun!

On a side note, Cara played Christ Lutheran this last Monday and lost in straight sets.  The girls played the worst games of their lives.  It was just awful to watch.  But on Tuesday, they played Norfolk Public in A & B matches.  The A team lost in three sets and the B team lost in two sets.  They played much better on Tuesday and kept the sets close.  They need to get a few more serves in play and to fight a little harder for the win.

Yes, volleyball is consuming our lives right now!  Keith and I both know that we need to invest in some good bleacher chairs if we are going to survive sitting in a gym three times a week.  But, we are having fun watching them play and grow in a sport that they love to play.

Take care,

Friday, September 20, 2013

My Other Jobs

When I was single and lived in Omaha, I used to do some jobs on the side as a mystery shopper.  A mystery shopper goes into a retail store, restaurant, etc. and performs a customer service check and then files a report and is paid. 
This summer I came across an advertisement for a company that finds mystery shops and store audits for you in your area and alerts you to these shops.  They wanted to charge me $29.99 a month for this service, which I had no interest in paying.  Then they contacted me and offered me the deal of $4.99 a month, then $2.99 a month and finally a month free.  I jumped when they offered a trial membership free for a month.  The first week I accepted two jobs.  One job was to complete a mystery shop at a local retail store on Hunter Douglas window coverings.  The job paid $40.  I also completed another job at our local Walmart store doing an audit on the Great Value brand of frozen pizzas.  The audit took me 20 minutes and I was paid $12.
I then started applying for other jobs in my area through this website and it has led me to other websites where I signed up to be a shopper for free.  At the end of my free month, I cancelled my membership with the original company.  No one should have to pay them to find a shop when so many companies offer the service for free.
Another job that I applied for was to become a store merchandiser for Foster Grant.  Once a month, I visit a store and check there stock of Foster Grant reading glasses and sunglasses.  I spend one hour in the store checking stock, filling stock, dusting the fixture, etc.  Then I am paid for my service by Foster Grant.

When I applied to complete the pizza audit, a representative with Advantage Marketing and Sales contacting me about becoming an employee for them and performing more jobs for them at my local Walmart store as they became available.  I said sure and filled out the paperwork.
Since the pizza audit, I have been contacted to put instant redeemable coupons on some Health and Beauty products, construct an endcap of Dial Soap products, and place a sidekick by the bikes.  I have another three jobs scheduled to be completed in the next 2-3 weeks also at Walmart.  Each time I spend 20 minutes to 90 minutes completing the task and then filing a report online to Advantage Marketing.

I have also completed another Hunter Douglas shop, checked a car dealership on customer service (received a fee plus was reimbursed for my oil change) and a few others. 

I will not get rich completing these shops, but it is a little extra spending money.  If we lived in a bigger city, the earning potential would be many times greater.  But, these shops do not require a lot of time.  I complete them in the morning before I go to work at school.  The best part is getting a check in the mail!  My previous retail experience is helping me earn a little extra money without having to actual work retail.

Take care,

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Homemade Applesauce

Last Sunday, Justin and I went to the farm to pick some apples.  Justin picked up apples off the ground and fed them to the horses.  My Dad lifted my Mom and I up in the bucket part of the loader to pick apples up high in the tree.  It seemed like the biggest apples were toward the top of the tree.  I took home a 5-gallon bucket of apples to turn into something.
This bucket was full of apples when I started.
 I decided that first I would make applesauce.  I found a recipe online for crock pot applesauce that you can either can or freeze and went with it.  Yesterday morning I started peeling and thinly slicing apples to make the applesauce.
All the apples peeled and sliced in the roaster.
 The recipe required 4 lbs. of apples, 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1 cup of water and 1/2 cup of sugar.  I do not like my applesauce very sweet and I wasn't sure how sweet or tart the apples were, but I only added 1/4 cup of sugar to my applesauce.  I ended up taking the recipe times 4 to almost use up my 5-gallon bucket of apples.  Also, instead of using a crock pot to cook my apples since I had so many, I used my big electric roaster.
This morning after cooking my apples for 24 hours, I pureed them with a hand-held blender.  I don't like chunks in my applesauce.   Last, I put the applesauce in jars and then canned them in a hot-water bath for 20 minutes.  The result was 10 pints of homemade applesauce.  Now let's hope all the jars seal.

Next, I think I will make apple butter or pie filling.  Maybe tomorrow after school we can go pick another big bucket of apples.  Also, I did make a apple crisp with my apples.

Take care,

Monday, September 16, 2013

Lady Knight Volleyball

The 7th and 8th Grade Norfolk Catholic Lady Knights started their volleyball seasons this last Saturday competing in a tournament hosted by Hartington Cedar Catholic.  There were six teams in the tournament.  First the teams were divided into two pools of three teams each.  After playing both teams in your pool, then the teams were ranked 1st, 2nd, 3rd and played the team from the opposite pool with the same rank for 1st, 3rd and 5th place.
 The kids were excited for Cara's first junior high volleyball game.  They made this sign for the game to hold up.  Justin wanted the sign to say, "My big sister is #43!  Go Cara!", but Cara put a stop to that sign.  She said they could NOT make a sign with her name on it.  Therefore, she agreed that this sign was okay.  The sign was not really used at the games and I'm not sure if it will go to any other games, but they had fun making it.
 The tournament was set up with the 7th Grade girls playing in the Holy Trinity gym and the 8th Grade girls playing in the Hartington CC gym.  The grade school and the high school are connected by a hallway, so, we could go back and forth to watch each team play.
 The girls started play in Pool 2 with teams from Crofton and Homer.  First game, we played Crofton.  It was obvious that the girls were nervous the first set and the score reflected that with a loss.  They came back in the second set and won in a close set.  Then they lost in the third set.  But, they learned in that first game that they could win and gained some confidence by winning that one set.
 Next, the girls played the team from Homer.  They came away with a victory in two sets.  They were so excited and pumped up with confidence. 
 Then with a record of 1-1 coming out of pool play, they played the team from Ponca for 3rd place in the tournament.  They fought hard, but lost in two sets to claim 4th place in the tournament.
 They had a good day and realize that they need to continue to practice hard to get ready for the next game.  They don't play again until the 24th, so, there is time to work on some things.  We were proud of how they played and they showed good sportsmanship.
 The 7th grade only has 12 girls in the grade and 9 of those girls are out for volleyball.  A few of those nine have never played volleyball before.  One girl had never touched a volleyball until practice started two weeks ago.  They have come a long ways, but there is room for improvement.
 Cara, #43, starts for the 7th Grade as front middle hitter.  She played every set the whole day, never leaving the floor.  She was so tired Saturday night that she fell asleep on the couch at 6:30 pm and woke up at 9 pm to move to her bed and then slept through the night until about 9 am on Sunday.
 Coach Freese has changed Cara's serve.  Cara has a strong serve and the team relies on Cara to get them points off her serve.  Cara's approach has been shortened and she doesn't take as many steps.  Her serve improved with each game.  You could tell she was tight and nervous the first set.
 The 8th Grade Team from Norfolk Catholic came out of the tournament with a 1-2 record and a 4th place finish also.  The 8th Grade girls are running a different offense than the 7th grade girls.  Both teams tasted winning, but also defeat.
 I spent the day going between the two gyms being the official bookkeeper for the two teams.  The first game both teams played at the same time, so, I kept the book for the 7th Grade team so I could watch Cara play.  But, the 8th grade gym got behind in the schedule, so, I could do book for both teams.  The 8th Grade team really needed Ms. Freese to coach them through rotation and serve because they were struggling running a new offensive scheme.  The 7th Grade girls are running a 4-2 offense and Miss Dugan coached them all day with Mrs. Claussen (Jadyn's Mom) helping out to watch the rotation.  If you keep book, you are not allowed to coach.  The bookkeeper is not even allowed to cheer for the teams.  It is very hard to not cheer!
Cara, our #43, had a very good day!  She had her family and both sets of grandparents cheering her on in her first game as a junior high player.  We cannot wait to watch the next game.

Ashlin was the official family photographer for the day since I was busy keeping book.  She took 296 photos throughout the day!  I spent the whole trip home from Hartington deleting photos off the camera and came up with just these 12 photos for the day. 

We are going to be living and breathing volleyball for about the next 6 weeks.  All three girls are playing volleyball this fall.  Cara is playing junior high ball, Erica is playing 5th & 6th Grade Club volleyball at school and traveling to tournaments on weekends, and Ashlin is participating in a volleyball clinic at the YMCA being led by the local Northeast Community College volleyball coach and players.

Take care,

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Tomatoes Galore!

This year was a blockbuster year for tomatoes in our garden!  I would hate to guess how many tomatoes my Mom, my Dad, Cara and I have picked out of the garden.  It took forever for them to start turning red, but once they did start, we would pick a half to a full 5-gallon bucket full every other day.
I have peeled the skins off many, many tomatoes in the last month.  I have canned three big batches of salsa, one batch of tomato juice, and one batch of spaghetti sauce.  I have used the onions, green peppers, jalapeno peppers and tomatoes from our garden, except for the one time that I was short on peppers.  I traded tomatoes for green and jalapeno peppers that time from a guy that works with Keith.  The tomato plants are winding down on producing, but there are still a few left.

Next, our attention will turn to apples.  The two apple trees at the farm are loaded with apples ready to be picked.  A few branches have already broken due to the weight of all the apples.  I am trying to decide what to make with all of them.  My Mom and Dad will freeze numerous ready-made apple pies.  Cara would like me to make apple butter.  I may decide to can applesauce, apple slices and pie filling.  We'll see how ambitious I am!

Take care,

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Grandparents Day

Yesterday was Grandparents Day at school for lunch.  Our kids were lucky to have all four grandparents at school for lunch.
 Unfortunately, our grandparents were at school for the whole lunch (meaning three lunch groups) since Ashlin, Erica and Justin all eat in different lunch groups.  Ashlin is in the first lunch group, so, both Grandpas went through the line with her.  Ashlin brought cold lunch, but both Grandpa Roger and Grandpa Bob wanted the hot lunch of chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes with gravy, cheesy green beans, dinner roll, and fruit.
 In between my recess duties at school, I would drop by the Parish Center and snap photos and visit.
 Justin is a cold lunch kid.  He is not willing to try hot lunch yet at school.  Grandma Leader went through the line with Justin to get his milk and to get her hot lunch.

 Erica is in the last lunch group and Grandma Korth joined her in line.
 There were two empty chairs at our table so Sienna, one of the girls in our neighborhood, and her Grandpa Sohler joined our table for lunch.  Sienna has started calling Grandma Korth "Grandma" since her Grandma Sohler passed away last May. 
Mr. Korth, a 6th Grade teacher and my first cousin, invited his Grandpa and Grandma Wragge to have lunch with him at school in honor of Grandparents Day.  His grandparents will be joining Mr. Korth's nieces and nephew in Hartington at Holy Trinity for lunch on Thursday in honor of Grandparents Day.  I heard more than one grandparent say that they had visited more than one school for lunch last week and this week for a Grandparents Day.

It was a great day at school for the students as well as the grandparents!  There were so many grandparents present.  The grandparents were invited to the classrooms after lunch, were treated to a presentation on the history of Sacred Heart School, and they could come outside to recess with their grandchildren.

Take care,

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A Hot Weekend

 The Labor Day weekend was HOT!!!  When are the cool fall temps going to come our way, we are not sure.  This week and weekend are going to be more hot weather also. 
 Our water slide had not been up all summer because Keith thought that it had a hole in it and would not hold the air, but he put it up to check it out.
 It worked pretty good for these three to enjoy the cool water.  Only one person could be on it at one time and they had to watch the water hose closely, but they had a great time.

Take care,

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Back-To-School Dance

Keith and I could both could tell that school had started on Friday night when all of the kids had made plans with friends for the evening.  Keith and I were left to be their taxi drivers for the night.  In between drop offs and pick ups, we just relaxed at home by ourselves (it was so peaceful).
 I dropped the three youngest off at the high school gym for a back-to-school dance sponsored by the High School Show Choir.  The choir is raising money to buy new performance outfits.  They had decorated the gym in a Hawaiian theme with palm trees and lights.  They had an area for the kids to get their photo taken with a background.  The kids could purchase leis and glow necklaces.  They also had a snack table with snacks available for $.50 to purchase with lemonade free.  The dance was for all grade school students Kindergarten through 6th Grade.  Admittance was $3 per student.
Justin with his friend, Kaden.  Notice they both had to get glow necklaces.
 The evening was very well run and I was totally impressed.  There were parents at each gym door monitoring the students so that they could not leave the gym.  If they needed to use the restroom, a parent escorted them.  I have to admit that Keith and I were both a little reluctant about just dropping our children off and leaving them for three hours.  But, after checking out the gym and the set-up, I was confident about the supervision provided.
Ashlin ready to dance.
 The high school students danced with the students, took photos, worked the music and helped supervise the younger students.  Our kids had so much fun and were so excited to attend!
Erica with her friend, Cece.
The dance was attended by quite a few students.  It was a great way to start off the school year.

Keith was Cara and Charli's driver for the evening.  They decided to go to a movie and then hang out at our house.  I am waiting to find out what plans they make for this week.

Take care,