Princess

Holly and Apples

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 Another great part of this past weekend was that we got to see Holly!

She came out to the farm after lunch at my cousin’s.

You could say that we had a happy little brother and sister!

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Who became even happier when Holly broke out the loot.

Her and her mom were doing some cleaning at her mom’s and they picked out some American Girl doll stuff for Angel.

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Angel has no idea who American Girl even is, but she was still so excited!

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The little brother was excited too because Holly and her mom got him a tractor and wagon.

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I don’t really know what this is.

I guess just me taking another picture of my amazing kiddos.

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Holly painted Angel’s nails with her new polish set that she had gotten the night before from Aunt Beth and Uncle Jack.

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Random picture.

Weird husband.

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After hanging out inside we ventured outside to pick some apples!

It was a little chilly but not bad after we got to work!

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Don’t try this at home kids.

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I’d climb a tree with you any day babe.

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The chickens like apples.

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It was actually pretty nice out so we just enjoyed sitting outside, watching the dogs chase the chickens and the chickens peck at the dogs.

I guess Max needs to learn a lesson eventually.

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See the big star? Mom and Dad had put it on their house every Christmas – their house was on a hill, overlooking the town, and you could see it from the interstate.

We certainly aren’t overlooking anything but cows, but we thought it’d be cool to carry on the tradition and put it on our garage or barn or somewhere this Christmas.

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We have so many apples!

I’m totally serious when I say that if you’d like to come out and get some just let me know.

We’ll be around the next two nights and most of the weekend. We hate to see them go to waste.

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I tried a quick and easy applesauce recipe and it turned out so yummy. Our apples are pretty sweet so I didn’t need to add hardly any sugar, which is awesome!

But it wasn’t the canned version so it won’t last in the fridge long.

I think I have all of the supplies I need to can, so we might have to give that a try.

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Hanging out with Holly, picking apples and just spending time together made the rest of our weekend so great!

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Road trip to the big city

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This past weekend we took a road trip up to Minneapolis to see Holly and Timothy.

I’m ashamed to say we have never been to church with them since they’ve been married! And with everything after losing mom and dad last summer, it’s been over a year (maybe two years?) since we’ve even been up there to see them.

Needless to say we were all very excited to get out-of-town. So much so that we ended up leaving Thursday afternoon, instead of Friday as we had planned.

Someone is excited!

Someone is tired!

And someone is mad that she has to ride in her kennel in the trunk!

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Holly and Timothy had something already planned for Thursday night. I think. Honestly I can’t remember now. Well anyway, I do know that we met up for supper at Wendy’s half way between us and them.

Oh ya, they did have plans since we weren’t supposed to come to town until Friday.  So anyway, we met up for supper on their way to see their friends.

And let the temptation begin.

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I wasn’t sure about starting the Better Body System the day we left for vacation. But I was so tired of feeling run down and gross and overweight and tired and… well you get the picture. I just couldn’t wait any longer. And it actually wasn’t too hard. The hardest part was since we were eating out for every meal finding a place that they all liked (junk food : )).

I didn’t eat with them at this meal. : )

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After supper we stopped by the grocery store to get me some groceries. Thankfully our hotel room had a full kitchen with a fridge and so I could get some healthy snacks.

And then we went back to the hotel to let the kids swim a little. Unfortunately I had forgotten their floaties again.

{Yes sister, I did. I know you are going to KILL me when you read this.}

We have like 14 pairs of floaties because every time we go swimming I forget to bring them. Thankfully Target has them real cheap.

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Friday morning we were up bright and early and in the car again. We took about a 30 minute drive to Hudson, WI, where Mom and Dad’s boat is.

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Caleb on a mission to find Papa’s boat.

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The kids were begging to go inside and we ended up letting them.

This picture brings me great joy and also great sadness.

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I can’t find it now, but the last mini-vacation the kids had with my parents (end of May/beginning of June last year), my mom had sent me a picture just like this. It was in the morning and the kids were having breakfast on the boat.  So after a few minutes I told Pat it was time we left, even though the kids could have stayed there all day.

Back in the big city, Pat found a place he was so anticipating going – BJ’s Hot Dog Shoppe! My man loves his Chicago dogs!

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And then we were back to the hotel again. Thankfully Pat went swimming with the kids so I could have some time to relax and write.

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Friday night Holly and Timothy came over to hang out with us at the hotel.

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Poor Timothy. This is what the kids do to him. He’s such a good sport!

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Friday night we found a neat place close to our hotel. It was a BBQ place and it had some very interesting décor!

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Caleb was not impressed. : )

But the food was great and then I think we all headed home for bed.

Saturday morning we went over to Holly and Timothy’s apartment. They had moved earlier this Spring and so it was our first time seeing their cute little place.

They wanted to take us to a beach near them and so that’s what we did! Unfortunately I didn’t think about bringing suits or towels or anything sensible like that.

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But Angel and Caleb didn’t care.

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Enjoying the nice company and weather!

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There was a walk/run/benefit for lung cancer going on at the time and they had a dance and drum corps from a local college perform. Angel and I went over to watch and she was so captivated! She starts dance again in a few weeks and is so excited!

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We stopped somewhere for lunch and then went back to the hotel so the kids could swim.

Thankfully Timothy is a very patient person and enjoys his little brother and sister. So he went swimming with the kids while Holly and I got to relax and visit!

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Saturday night we had plans to go see my uncle and aunt, Pat and Vivian. (Pat is my mom’s brother.) And we were all so excited when my cousin Jenna, her husband Matthew and their 2-week old precious baby girl showed up too!

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While my cousin Patrick entertained the kiddos, the grown ups got to ooh and aah over Margaret.

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Mama Jenna and her baby.

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Can anyone say baby fever?

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Don’t say it to this guy! He certainly loves babies, but there’s no baby fever in this house!

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The sweet family! It was fun to talk with them about becoming new parents. And we might have shared a birth story or two. Poor guys!

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My cousin Ben cooked us up a fabulous meal!

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The three Patricks.

My Patrick enjoyed teasing my aunt Viv. Anytime she would ask one of her Patricks to do something, he would say, “No!”

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Not only is he good with babies, but he’s good with birds that don’t usually like people.

I think I’ve got myself a keeper!

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The kiddos with their cousin Dominic (Ben’s son). They had so much fun playing together.

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Sunday morning we drove into the big city to go to Holly and Timothy’s church.

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Yes, Lord!

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It was a God honoring worship service and we were blessed beyond measure.

(We heard the last of a sermon series on conflict resolution. Good stuff if you want to listen!)

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After church I asked Pat if we could please stop by the Mall of America before leaving town.

He’d be amazing even if he had said no, but he surprised me and said yes!

We might have had a little fun on the escalators. I’m pretty sure that’s why my kids like the Mall of America.

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It could also be because we see things like this guy…

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And ride a few rides…

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And see cool things like this…

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Don’t they look good with kids? Hee hee.

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As you might have already read about, Angel got her ears pierced.

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And then it was time to go home. : (

But not before a few last pictures!

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We had such a wonderful time!

Join us in praying for Holly and Timothy as they serve the Lord through CRU (Campus Crusade for Christ).

They are both on staff as full-time interns this year and would covet your prayers.

If you want more information about how to help support them prayerfully and/or financially, you can go here!

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What happens in the barn stays in the barn

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I found the most amazing shirt at Tractor Supply the other day.

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That’s right. We shop at Tractor Supply now.

And even though you are probably getting extremely bored with farm news, here is a little overview of our week, which of course includes farm news.

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I have alot of rhubarb. This picture doesn’t really do justice the humongous pile that I picked last night. I already have three bags in the freezer, plus this, plus a whole bunch more to pick. Yeah for lots of strawberry/rhubarb jam through the fall and winter! And yeah for Grama Barb who’s offered to show me how to make it!

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The kids are loving have kids their age as neighbors. We got out the slip-n-slide the other day. Which turned into slip-n-slide-cover-ourselves-in-mud. I have a picture of me and my siblings covered in mud when we were little. Except we were in our underwear.

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Don’t you love Angel’s pose.

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 The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, huh?

Speaking of apples, we have apples!

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Little bitty baby ones. I guess last year all the apples in the area were wiped out by a late freeze, so we are so excited that we’ll be getting some this year!

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Holly, Timothy and one of their friends came over last night. We made kabobs on the grill and corn on the cob. The kids had fun helping Hols assemble the kabobs.

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Life is too short to not let the kids ride their scooters in the house.

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I had found this on Craigslist last year. It was actually a bench. The kids and I painted it white but I still wasn’t sure what to do with it.  Then when I was looking for something to put my herbs in, I thought I’d put it to good use.  I ripped the lid off and drilled a few holes in the bottom. So far, so good!

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Well hello Buck. You stay in your pen, you little stinker.

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Hello Mrs Chicken.

Our poor chickens look horrible. I think we might have gotten scammed by Craigslist man in the Hibachi grill parking lot. Alot of the missing feathers is because they fight all the time. So there’s some stinky purple creme stuff we’ve started putting on them. And hopefully once we get their coop all nice and cozy with a level roosting bar, they’ll stop fighting. But this morning I also saw some suspicious looking poop…

yes. yes I did just say that.

…and so we’ll have to figure out what’s going on.

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This week the kids got to spend some time with Uncle Tracy. As you can see from this picture, they didn’t have any fun.

We were pretty impressed with him. He took them to Hu Hot for supper, to the arcade, to a movie and then to Falls Park. Uncle of the year, I’m thinking!

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Angel had dance camp all week. She was so excited. As you might remember, we took a break last year from all our activities. She’s definitely ready to get back in to it. Today was her mini recital. Seriously how is she growing up so fast?!

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The sunsets never get old.

Today we had some time after Angel’s dance until I had to go to work. So we decided to try out one of the pools in town.

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The kids had fun, but honestly not $10 worth of fun. From now on we’ll stick with the free pools.

But hanging with my kiddos is priceless!

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Saving the world is one thing. My daughter is another.

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The best movie line I’ve heard in a long time was just recently from the movie Battleship. (Spoiler alert.)

(Is there anyone in the world who sees “spoiler alert” and doesn’t continue reading? I mean, come on.)

(Anyway.)

The main guy asked his girlfriend’s dad if he could marry her. The dad said no (sound familiar Prankster?).

“But sir, I saved the world.”

“Saving the world is one thing. My daughter is another.”

That’s right! Preach it brother!

What does that have to do with anything? Well absolutely nothing of course. I just thought it was a really good line.

So how ’bout those summer bed times!? I always used to say that my kids will go to bed at the same time even during summer. Ya, ok. It’s been 10-11 pm before they conk out but at least they’ve been sleeping in a little more than usual.

And in other news our house is officially on the market! Which means we have strangers coming in to our house at all hours of the day. It also means that I have to actually do my dishes, make the beds and sweep every single day. I’m trying to chill out about it a little because I don’t want the kids to remember this summer as the summer of the even more crabbier than normal mama.

Today and tomorrow we had/have a garage sale. Yes. Yes I did say last year that I would never have another garage sale. This doesn’t really count though since we’re, ya know, moving into a small apartment. We actually did really good today and sold alot of the big stuff.

Since getting the house ready for showing, we’ve tried to do stuff away from home as much as possible. The library always has good stuff going on – story time, puppet show and other cool things.

Like… a special appearance by The Cat in the Hat!

Angel and Caleb were pretty excited!

And then Caleb freaked out when I asked him to go stand by the big guy to take a picture. So here is Angel and the Cat.

We’ve been swimming at home alot and also going to the pool a few times but the water at the pool is still pretty cold. This mama is a wimp. Thankfully it’s a toddler pool and so I can just sit on the edge. We also have a spray park that we’ll try to go to each week.

And the kids started gymnastics! Our first day was this week and, well, it was very interesting. I’ll share more about that next week.

This weekend my amazing hubby is running a 5K and then we are going to visit a dairy farm and have a free lunch! Saturday night is movie in the park and then on Sunday our Ed dog goes to his new home. Which of course I’ll share more about in a separate post.

Ooo ooo I just found this picture!

We miss Princess and Prankster! Keep them in your prayers as they are busy this summer raising support – Prankster will be working full-time with Campus Crusade for Christ (Cru) beginning in the Fall!

That’s life lately. Hope you are enjoying your summer!