Sunday, September 29, 2013


Labor Day weekend always seems to be filled with fun stuff to do. This year the weather was unseasonably warm. So we took advantage of the heat and went boating with friends! We had a blast and enjoyed one last "summer activity" before the cooler fall temperatures arrived! 

Water is not Allison's friend. She wouldn't get in the lake and didn't know what to think of water skiers. Perhaps she's concerned with bacteria in the water like her mom. :) However as the night went on she relaxed a little. Hopefully next summer she'll enjoy the water more. :)

All the other kids loved the lake! Ethan even tried water skiing. After a few tries he was up and loving it!

We had to limit his turns or he would have been out there all night!

Another fun Labor Day Activity was going to Mark's Aunt and Uncles camp out. They had a obstacle  course going when we arrived. Mark, Ethan and Amelia quickly teamed up and ended up taking 3rd place. 

All the kids under 18 at the camp out that night.

I'm in my third year on the Mahaska County Farm Bureau Board. This month we did a highway clean up as part of our community service.

Amelia's 2nd grade class was asked to do a creative movement with the 8th graders for chapel last month. Amelia enjoyed this and loves to be with the bigger girls.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Chicago Trip

A few weeks ago Mark and I made a quick trip to Chicago to represent Farm Bureau Young Leaders at the Growmark Annual Meeting. We had a great time and always enjoy meeting new people. I have to admit though, I felt a little old with this group of young people. :) Most of them were FFA members in college studying in an ag related field. Only a handful of us were out on our own farming. Several of the FFA leaders gave speeches during the meeting and did an amazing job! All had passion and ambition, something that many of today's youth lack. American agriculture certainly has some fantastic young people coming into the business in the next few years!

The Young Farmer Representatives from Iowa Farm Bureau.

My favorite restaurant ever! If you love meat like I do, this is the place for you! It's a Brazilian style restaurant where gaucho chefs go from table to table serving 16 cuts of meat. Everyone gets a little card, flip it to green they stop by with meat, when your plate's full, flip it to red and they let you eat. :)  

After a fantastic lunch we quickly walked back to our hotel, the Chicago Hilton. We got a behind the scenes tour with our Young Leaders Group, which was very interesting. The picture above is of a chandelier in one of their meeting halls. This particular room has an $80,000 deposit to rent, yes $80,000!!!   

We toured part of the kitchen and one of their chefs demonstrated how he makes food sculptures. He made it look very easy, but you probably won't be seeing any food sculptures on my next fruit and veggie tray. :)

The view of Navy Pier from one of the penthouse suites,  this room will cost you $6,000 per night.

Several of these sculpture heads lined Michigan Ave. 

Chicago skyline.

The view from our hotel room. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Creek Cruising

A few weeks ago a bunch of us went riding down the creek with our Rangers and 4-wheelers. Both kids and adults loved it! A good part of my childhood was spent playing in the creek and I still enjoy exploring nature with my kids today!  

Things didn't get started off well. We locked the keys in the truck. It took a bunch of people a long time to finally unlock it.

This was a common site. You would be driving along nicely and all the sudden just sink. Thankfully Kurt had a winch and was able to pull everyone out.

Gotta use those muscles! :)

This beaver dam was where we decided to call it quits. The kids and guys had fun breaking it down and letting the water out. 

It's impressive how much water the beaver dams hold back. We decided it wouldn't work out to head back the way we came with all the extra water so we climbed up the side of the creek and found our way to the road through the timber. Which was also an adventure. :)


My pretty little redneck. :) Thankfully she let me put that tooth out!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Summer Summary (August)

Finally, I'm getting a little closer to being up to date with the blog! August was another busy month. The kids enjoyed having friends over a couple times, Ethan did football camp and of course shopping for school supplies is always a treat. :) Here's of few pictures of the end of our summer!

Watch out for these crazy drivers!

The kids got some fun experiment kits for their birthdays this year from Aunt Ang. Here they are creating a volcano. We are also growing crystals, which has been a lot of fun too.

Another end of summer event, the Dekalb Supper. This year Rick Santorum joined us.

Allison enjoys dumping out all the toys so she can stack the boxes. Seriously what fun is that? She also loves building towers out of blocks and knocking them over. Which seems a lot more fun to me, a lot smaller mess too. :)

Some of my flowers turned out pretty well this year, despite the lack of rain this summer.

Love zinnias!

We spent lots of time in the coalmine watching the guys ride.

Elijah is getting faster and faster!

If you're friends with me on Facebook you've already seen this one. The big kids told me one day that Anton was using a shovel to lift a mean chicken we have, so he could get her egg. I thought this was hilarious so a grabbed my camera next time he wanted to gather eggs. 

See it works! :) This kid is crazy about gathering eggs! Next year we'll have to get more chickens so he has more eggs to gather.

Amelia's first day of second grade. 

Ethan's first day of 5th grade. 

Elijah's first day of preschool!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Summer Summary (July)

We're gaining on the catch-up posts! I'm up to the 4th of July with a few others to follow.  Some July events that I've previously posted about include the County Fair and our family vacation to Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

Homemade slip and slides are the best! Need a tip for going faster on a smaller hill? Try soap!

Although more isn't always better. These soap covered kids thought they would be smart and use the entire bottle of shampoo so they could go extra fast. It helped them go fast, but also flew up in their eyes.

 Watch out Ethan!

Cousins picture.

Poor Uncle Alex got a work-out throwing kids in the pond!

Let the water balloon fighting begin!

We noticed Allison eating with her feet on the table and had flashbacks to 2008 of Amelia doing the same thing. Silly girls must be related! :)

We hit the sheep training hard this month!

Lucy all cleaned up and ready to shear.

Amelia turns 8! I made her zucchini bars to celebrate.

A very cool piece of art my dad and his friend built for display in Pella when Ragbri came through.  My picture isn't the greatest but its a windmill made out of bike parts. It honors the dutch heritage of Pella and the thousands of cyclists riding through!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Summer Summary (June)

I knew I missed some pictures over the summer but I didn't realize how many! So the next three posts are going to be "catch up" posts. I'll go with the "better late than never" theory on this one. :) We'll start with June. This was our easier month, we didn't have a lot of extra's and enjoyed being outdoors most of the time. Elijah and I both have June birthday's, I turned 35 and Elijah 5, we're getting old! :) Check out the next few pictures for some of our day to day happenings. 

We enjoyed having our second cousins over for the day! The Ranger had quite the crew to haul to the creek. :) 

All nine of them had a blast playing in the water, the clay bottom is perfect for walking in. 

The clay also worked well for a dam. I enjoyed watching them work together. They had several "clay gathers" and who would bring clay to a couple "dam builders".There were also several quality control supervisors. :) They had so much fun and each of them willingly took turns doing different jobs.

It was a good year for strawberries! Mark's Aunt was kind enough to let us pick some of her strawberries.   We made jam, a pie and a new recipe, strawberry syrup! The kids enjoyed picking the berries and helping clean them, at least for a little while. ;)

Almost done!

Allison having a "potato party". 

Elijah turned 5 years old!

Mark and I went on a trip to Charleston, SC. (previously blogged about)