Thursday, June 30, 2011

Time To Make The Jam Again

Here it is the end of June, and it wasn't until about two weeks ago that I realized it's time to make the jam again for the next year. This month flew by and we've been so busy that it sort of slipped my mind. With everyone's busy schedules, just Liana and I made jam this year. Actually Elizabeth who has made jam in the past with us grew her own strawberries and made jam already. So the best day that worked the same for Liana and I was last Sunday. Greg's mom watched the kids for me so I could go pick berries and make jam.

Liana and I headed out about 10am to pick berries. Once again we went to Felzke Farms in DeWitt. I was glad that we went early because the weather was absolutely perfect. The sun was out, but it wasn't too hot yet. Once out in the fields we discovered that the berries were few and far between. There were a lot of smashed strawberries as well as bug eaten berries. This year we were a little later than in the past years, and a few days later sure made a difference. It was a good thing it was only Liana and I because the selection of strawberries to choose from weren't that great. We made a mental note to make sure we get out there earlier next year. The 20th-23rd of June seems to be the best couple of days to pick. It ended up taking us a little longer than we thought it would since we had to go up and down the aisles searching for the good berries. I knew I wasn't going to pick as much this year because I still have some jam left from last year. A little more than in previous years. With the slim pickings though, it worked out good to pick less. I ended up picking just over 10lbs of strawberries. Liana picked about 13lbs, 10 lbs for her and 3 lbs for her sister-in-law. Here's the berries we ended up with. Mine are on the left.

We headed back to Liana's to make the jam. It only took us a couple hours to make the jam. It went pretty fast since we didn't pick the normal 15 lbs we usually do, and there was only two of us making it this year. I ended up making eight batches this year, which is eight boxes of pectin and about 10lbs of sugar. Here's the link to the recipe again strawberry freezer jam. That gave me 18 containers of jam. I forgot to take a picture of the containers before I put them in the freezer. Instead of hauling them all back upstairs to the kitchen counter for a picture, you're going to get a crappy picture I snapped in the basement on top of the freezer.

Not the greatest picture, but at least you can see the jam I made. So another year of jam making is in the books, and we've got a nice supply to last us until next June!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Kick For The House Soccer Fundraiser

Last weekend we had a busy Saturday. It was kind of a good thing to keep the kids busy because Greg left Saturday morning for Maine. Yes, that's right. My other half went to Maine for work to attend a week long workshop. I was dreading the day that he had to leave, not only for me, but also the kids. They're not used to daddy being away for that long, and neither am I. It's the longest he's been away from them. He left Saturday morning and started his drive to Maine. Yes, he drove by himself! I think he's crazy, but he wanted to. He made a two day road trip of it and stopped in New York for the night on Saturday. Then he drove the rest of the way on Sunday. I knew it wasn't going to be easy for the kids so I figured the best thing to do was keep them busy.

Thank goodness Cars 2 came out on Friday! Evan's been waiting and waiting and waiting for it to come out probably since the first one. He loves the Cars movie. As soon as he heard the date it was going to be in theaters, he didn't forget it. Greg's mom said she'd take the kids to see it, so we went to the first show on Saturday. We had plans later in the day and so did Greg's mom so it worked well to hit the first show. We got to the movie and were surprised to see my friend Jess and her family. The kids were excited to see Grace and Matt too and wanted to sit by them. The movie was pretty good, and the kids loved it. I think I probably like the first one a little bit better, but overall Cars 2 was worth seeing too. It was quite predictable, but was entertaining.

After the movie, we made a stop at Meijer on the way home. I had to get stuff to make jam (which I did on Sunday), and Evan had seen there was a Cars 2 promo thing going on at Meijer on Saturday. He saw a sign earlier in the week when he was there with Greg and also saw a commercial. I tell ya, the kid doesn't miss a beat! They had some coloring activities and some giveaways of Cars stickers, tattoos, and coloring sheets, as well as some food samples. It wasn't anything spectacular, but I had to go to Meijer anyway.

We headed home after Meijer for just a little bit, and then we headed out to Grand Ledge for a charity soccer event. My neighbor/friend Liana sent me an email about a soccer event with former MSU athletes. I thought the kids would LOVE to go to this, especially since Ev's favorite MSU football players Greg Jones and Javon Ringer were playing. The event was called Kick for the House and it raised money for the Ronald McDonald House of Mid-Michigan. It was held at the Grand Ledge Football field. There were various former MSU football and basketball players that volunteered to come out and play. This was our first soccer game we've been to so it was something new for the kids to experience.

The game was a couple hours long and there was also a chance to get autographs from the athletes. We got there a little early and we were able to get Greg Jones and Javon Ringer's autographs before the game. There was also "autograph alley" where the players sat at tables after the game and spectators could get autographs. We took a soccer ball to get signed and the kids also had little notebooks for autographs. I also threw in two of Ev's football jerseys in case we could get those signed which we did before the game started.

His #23 Javon Ringer jersey signed
His #53 Greg Jones Jersey signed

After we had gotten the jerseys signed, a guy from the State News (MSU Newspaper) came up to us and asked us if he could interview us. Our interview ended up making the paper on Monday which was pretty exciting. Evan reminded me all day that we had to go get a State News to check it out. We got a few copies to put in our "keepsake box." Here's the link to the article in the State News if you're interested in checking it out. State News Interview

We had a wonderful time at the soccer event. The kids loved meeting the athletes, especially Greg Jones. I was surprised how into Emmaline was too. She was right up there with her brother getting autographs. It looks like this will be an annual event so we really look forward to going again. It was a great Saturday afternoon. We only wished Greg could have joined us. I posted all the pictures on Facebook, but here's a few pictures from our afternoon at the soccer game.

The kids with former MSU football player Javon Ringer who now plays with the Tennessee Titans. What a really nice guy he is. I also had a great pic of Ev and Javon, but it's not showing up on my iPhoto for some reason.

The kids with last year senior MSU football player Greg Jones who will be playing this year with the NY Giants. Another great guy!
Greg Jones (center of pic) playing in the charity soccer game
Emme getting a high five from Greg Jones in "autograph alley"
The kids with former MSU basketball player Drew Neitzel

Monday, June 27, 2011

Ballet Class For Emmaline

Last Wednesday, Emmaline started her first ballet class with Miss Kate at Elite Dance Company. Kate is my neighbor, the Jim and Kate I talk about often. Her husband Jim is Evan's buddy. She owns Elite Dance Company in East Lansing and the eight week summer ballet class we signed Emme up for started last week. My little girl has been waiting and waiting to go to Miss Kate's class. She thought when Evan started t-ball she could start dance, but since the class didn't start until mid June she's been having to wait. She was so excited finally last Wednesday when she could finally put on her new ballet outfit. Here she is already to go to ballet!

Starting class and following Miss Kate's instructions!
"Follow the leader feet" which the girls were a little confused and thought they were supposed to follow Miss Kate so they were right behind her.
My little ballerina with her "pizza feet"
My camera wasn't working right for some reason so my pics didn't come out that good. I'll get more at one of her other classes. Just wanted to post a few for your enjoyment!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Father's Day Weekend Part 2

After our afternoon in Kalamazoo, we headed onto my sister's. We made a stop at the DQ on our way because I promised the kids ice cream if they were good in the car on the way down. They even got to get cones which they were pretty excited about. (I usually make them get their ice cream in a dish because it's just a lot easier and not a huge mess like the cones end up being.) Evan actually did pretty good with his cone. Emmaline of course got chocolate on her brand new shirt, but it wasn't too much and she did better than I expected. When we got to my sister's, we hung out there for a little bit, and then went over to my dad's for pizza dinner. After dinner we decided to do a bonfire at my sister's and the kids got to make s'mores again. Twice in one week, they were so excited! Thankfully the weather cooperated and it was a beautiful day and night for our outdoor activities.

On Saturday, my niece Kaite had a double-header softball game. We didn't go to the first game because it was pretty early, and we weren't all up and ready by then. We did make it to the second game though. Unfortunately I didn't take my camera so I didn't get any pics. Kaite did an awesome job and her team won both games. Evan was glad he got to watch her game. It's a little different than the t-ball he's used to, but it opened his eyes of what's to come if he keeps playing ball. We spent the late afternoon and evening at my dad's out on the boat. The weather was beautiful and just perfect out on the lake. The kids thoroughly enjoy being on the boat and they LOVE to drive the boat. We got in two boat rides on Saturday! First time around the lake they got to drive with grandpa. The second time we went back out they got to drive the boat with daddy. Below are some pictures from our lake visit on Saturday.

Grandpa bought the kids bubble wands. Why do kids love bubbles so much?
Emmaline is ready to do some boating!
Driver number one...
Driver number two

Sunday was Father's Day and we spent it back out on the boat. It was a beautiful day once again. Perfect to be on the lake. The kids got to drive the boat again which made them very happy! After our ride we had a nice steak dinner, and then we hit the road to head home. It was a nice relaxing weekend. Sunshine, beer, and the boat doesn't get much better than that! These are a few of my Father's Day photos. I'll post the rest in my album on Facebook hopefully this week!

Greg got a nice Father's Day card that Evan made all by himself. My little guy does such a great job making cards!
Emme lovin' her daddy!
Grandpa also got the kids some hula hoops which Evan actually did quite well with.

Father's Day Weekend Part I

Our Father's Day weekend started a little early since Greg was on vacation. We were headed to my sister's and dad's for the weekend so we left Friday afternoon and stopped in Kalamazoo for lunch and then the park. Greg and I love Schlotzsky's which is no longer around E.Lansing. However, there is still one in Kalamazoo so once in awhile we'll stop there for lunch when we're passing through town. After lunch we took the kids to Milham Park again. We took them last summer one time and they loved it there. It's a huge park in Kzoo that I grew up going to all the time when I lived there. They played on the playground and fed the ducks. I forgot to take bread with us, but there was a family there that had a bunch of extra bread and they graciously gave us some. The kids were excited they got to feed the ducks. Emme's been wanting to go on campus for a couple months now to feed the ducks, and we just haven't gotten around to it. Here's some pictures for you to enjoy from our Friday afternoon at Milham Park.

Peek-a-boo coming through the tunnel
Emmaline chillaxin'
Em thought this was so much fun, but she didn't want daddy to let go of her.
Evan got a push from daddy and went flying across to the other side.
The kiddos throwing the bread to the ducks.
My two awesome kiddos! Aren't they cute?
What can I say? She loves to pose for the camera!

Stay tuned... part two of our weekend is to follow!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Camping & Summer Reading Program

Wow, there just isn't enough hours in a day! I'm going to have to give you the super duper shortened version of a couple of things over the past couple weeks so I can get up to date. I hate being behind on here! So almost two weeks ago (the week of the 13th) Greg was on vacation. It was more of a staycation because we weren't going on vacation anywhere, but at least he had some time off work. He decided to take the kids camping on that Tuesday night. They only went for one night because with Evan's t-ball and Father's day weekend it was pretty much all they had. This was Em's first time camping and she was super excited to go with her brother and daddy. They just went out to Sleepy Hollow about 20 minutes from here in case Em wanted to come home and didn't like it. I on the other hand opted to stay home. I'm not much of a camper. Maybe one time they'll get me out there. So with that said, the three of them went and had a fun time. They walked the trails, biked, played at the park campground, and made s'mores.

Greg text me about 9pm and said Emmaline told him she had just seen a cat take something from their picnic table. He went to chase it away and came back to the campfire, and asked her about it again. Then she told him it was black and white. He never saw it, but thank goodness he didn't because more than likely it was a skunk. He's pretty lucky he didn't get sprayed chasing it away. He thought it might have just taken a banana peel, but they weren't sure. When they got home the next day and we were putting food and stuff away I asked him where the loaf of bread was he took. He said he didn't know and thought I put it away already. So we determined that the "cat" a.k.a. skunk took the loaf of bread and not a banana peel. Here's a few pics from their camping expedition. I don't have time to post all my recent pics on here so I can get caught up. So hopefully over this next week, I'll be making an album on Facebook and adding pics to it little by little.
Ready to camp at Sleepy Hollow
Sweet sibling the tent all set up!
Almost s'mores time!
Time for bed! All snuggled up tight in our sleeping bags! They text me this picture... "Good night mommy!"

Wednesday afternoon when they came home we headed to the library so the kids could get their "Reading Passports" for the summer reading program. They have to read or do reading activities for 20 minutes each day and then after they get their seven checks for the week they get a little prize each week. We did this last year, but this year the library is doing it a little different. We spent a good hour or so at the library and the kids picked out books to bring home for the month. Here's Evan and Emmaline looking for books, and the stack of books we ended up taking home!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Our 10 year Anniversary

Wow, what a difference 10 years makes! Today Greg and I are celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversary. Two apartments, two houses, two dogs, and two kids later, the two of us are still very happily married and going strong. It's hard to believe that 10 years has gone by. There's been lots of ups and downs (more ups than downs) throughout our marriage, but it's been a great ten years. I look forward to many many more years of wedded bliss. The weather was pretty crappy today. It rained off and on all day, and it was a bit chilly. Thank goodness 10 years ago it was a nice beautiful sunny day. We didn't have any big plans for today. I know right? We should have been going on some nice vacation just the two of us. Well when you have two kids that just doesn't happen right now. Greg did take the day off work so it was nice to have him home. We had a leisurely morning around the house with the kids. We celebrated with the kids out to lunch at where else of course, Noodles and Company. I love that place. It never gets old. They have some excellent new summer salads!

Then Greg's mom graciously watched the kids again for us so we could go out to a nice kid free dinner. We went to Ukai of course. It's the go to place for special occasions. It was actually our first time there just the two of us. Usually we're there with family and the kids. We were hoping for a nice pleasant dinner, but the group sitting at our table kind of ruined that. Four very loud, very annoying, very rude, Jersey Shore wannabe's was not what we wanted to share our Anniversary dinner with by any means. We decided to make the best of a not so good situation and posted some things on Facebook which got a few laughs. Seriously though folks, these people never stopped talking or drinking (and doing lots of shots), and they were so rude to the waitress and the cook when he was making our meal. (In case you don't remember, at Ukai they cook the food right at your table.) Thank goodness the food was excellent so we still had somewhat of a nice anniversary dinner. Greg told me I needed to take a picture of the "Jersey Shore four." So after a few attempts trying to get a decent picture discreetly, I was able to get one. My friend Jess told me I had to put it in the blog so without further ado, here's the Jersey Shore gang we had dinner with. LOL. It's kind of hard to see the girl on the left, but she really actually looked a lot like Snooki . (Just so you know, I do not watch Jersey Shore.)

The last picture is the surprise I got in the mail today. I got 18 beautiful red roses from Greg. The first time I ever got flowers in the mail from Greg they were red roses from the same place. Aren't they lovely? Thank you honey!

I've still got a couple things to catch you up on from last week which is my goal for tomorrow.

Monday, June 20, 2011

My New Wheels

I hate being so far behind on this blog. I'm working on catching up really I am. It's just how it is so bare with me. Soon I will be caught up... hopefully. Haha. So I'm going to give you a quick post about my new car. It's been just over a week since I finally got my new wheels. We got them a week ago this past Friday (the 10th). It was a long wait for this car. About 2 1/2 months to be exact. We got a new Ford Explorer and basically they're just nowhere to be found. It's a hot item among cars these days. We got the call two weeks ago that it was finally in, but we couldn't get to the dealer until the end of that week so a few more days we had to wait. It was well worth it though. I love my new Explorer. I think Ford did a great job with the redesign, and it looks beautiful. While I really really loved my Mountaineer and I do miss it, it's really not too hard to get used to the new car. It's got lots of new fun features, and I'm loving the dual panel moonroof. The kids love it too because they can look up into the sky from the backseats. I'm still learning how to use some of the new features, but in time I should hopefully have it all down. Here's a few pictures of my new ride.

Bye bye old car...

Hello new car!

Another angle...

And one more picture... all week I didn't want to put too much gas in the Mountaineer because I didn't want to turn the car in with a full tank. Not with the price of gas these days. So when we pulled into the dealer this is what was left...
I think I did pretty good.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

End Of The School Year Ice Cream Party

I'm back trying to get caught up still. I told you about Evan's last day of school. It's hard to believe it's already been a week since they've been out. Now for the end of the school year ice cream party. I told Evan since he did so good in school this year that we could have an ice cream party at the neighborhood park with some of his friends if he wanted. He thought that was a very cool idea. Plan A was, I told him he could invite ten kids from class and we'd have the party at the park. If it rained then we'd just do at the house. Then it ended up being that I didn't have everyone's contact information, and I couldn't have him pass out invites to just some of the class at school (that's frowned upon at school). So we went with Plan B which was we'd just invite the whole class. I decided to put a rain date on the invite because there was no way I was having the whole class in this house. Then we crossed our fingers that one of the two dates would end up being a nice day. It was a little last minute throwing it together so I figured more than likely half the class wouldn't be able to attend. The plan was the kids could meet at the park and play for a little bit and then they could build their own sundaes at the ice cream sundae bar!

We ended up having about half the class (yay I guessed right), and I invited Jess and her kids to join us. The weather cooperated and last Thursday evening turned out to be nice and sunny (yay again)! We had chocolate and vanilla ice cream. The toppings included chocolate syrup, strawberry syrup, three kinds of sprinkles, crushed Oreo cookies, and marachino cherries. The kids played for probably about 45 minutes, then they made their sundaes and ate, and then played a little more. They all had a really good time and the parents thought it was a great idea and way to end the school year. I'm so glad we decided to do it! Here's some pictures from the fun evening. I didn't get as many as I would have liked.

The boys were playing tag. Evan going after his friend Ko, and Ben up on the stairs.
Emme found a friend in Jaidyn (Evan's little crush) and they played together all evening.
Emme even got Jaidyn's dad to push her on the swings.
Evan's friends, Joey and Ben were first in line to make their sundaes.
Evan making his sundae!
Some of the girls eating their sundaes. Notice Emmaline sitting next to Jaidyn. I was scooping ice cream so I had Greg snap a few pics, but the boys were too fast and by the time I got done scooping they were already back on the playground.

Before I leave tonight, just a little fun tidbit. It was five years ago today that we moved into our house. It's hard to believe in a way. At times it seems like we've been here forever, and at other times it doesn't seem like it's been five years.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

We Have A 1st Grader!

Last week brought the end of the school year for Evan. Where oh where did the year of kindergarten go? It flew by so fast! I remember my little guy going off to kindergarten on the first day of school, and now he's all done! We now have a first grader in our house. That seems so weird to say. Thursday was Evan's last day of school and the kindergarten classes had picnics out on the playground. Each student could bring their family to the picnic which was really nice. Greg was able to leave work for a little bit, and he, Emme, and I went to the picnic. Emmaline was so excited to get to go to brother's school. She was too cute just making herself at home in Evan's class. It was just like she knew what to do. Here's some pictures from our morning at school on the last day!

Heading out for the picnic. Yep, that's Emme! She jumped in line with all the other kids.
The kids getting their picnic lunch!
Emme was off to play on the playground with all the other kids!Evan and Em wanted to watch Mrs. Mills open her present!

Mrs. Mills' presents are in the photo below. Evan gave her this cup that said, "thank you for quenching my thirst for knowledge" which I saw the idea on Pinterest. He also gave Mrs. Mills a Biggby gift card, and then I put a UL bee on this jar and filled with M&M's. Evan's class was the Bee Room. Evan also made a really nice card too which I forgot to snap a picture of.
The students got beads which meant they are officially 1st graders! Here's Evan getting his!
Mrs. Mills had to get a hug from Evan. She told me she's really going to miss him.
Leaving school for summer vacation! Yep, Emme even got some beads too!

Evan had a fantastic year in Kindergarten. We couldn't have asked for a better teacher. Mrs. Mills was wonderful and we're really going to miss her. I'm so proud of my little guy and how much he grew over the school year. I never imagined how good of a reader and writer he'd be by the end of Kindergarten. He brought home his report card on the last day of school and for the third time in a row he got a perfect report card with all "M's" (Meets expectations- the highest letter one can get on their report card). Lots of great memories from Kindergarten for him. Mommy, Daddy, and Emme are all so proud of you Evan. Keep up the awesome work in first grade!