Tuesday, July 26, 2011

State Fair 2011

 State Fair for us has come and gone. Our State Fair is actually still going right now....it lasts for 3 weeks. Youth rabbits are only the first week so that is kind nice for us, only having our rabbits there for 5 days.

We had the breed show before fair opened; I left my camera at home (I am trying to use it less), so there are no photos. But we did well; we took 1st and 2nd place in New Zealand Senior Does and 3rd and 5th in Senior Bucks.

The next day, the day that State Fair officially opened, was the showmanship competition.

Every year is different and this year had a couple surprises. The judge was lightening fast, only asking the kids to check ear tags, the teeth, and the underside.

Here is Bookworm, checking her rabbit under his watchful eye.

Then he asked a couple questions and moved on. He definitely knew what he was looking for and Showmanship was done in an hour. We did not place but the kids did a great job!

After that we were free to explore the fair.

The fun exhibit this year was insects on steroids. Big ones. Complete with sound effects and even one that blew out streams of cool air.

Next up was some rides. Our Fair does a Read to Ride program, where children can read two books and write two book reports and then get two free rides. A great deal when you have 4 kids.

Here is Nutsy with a friend

Later that day I took a couple kids and we manned the 4-H booth with 2 of our rabbits.

We ended that night with our annual pizza fest by the barn and fireworks at 10pm.

We spent a day at home recovering and then went back for one final day. It is really fun having animals at the fair.....anytime we want the kids can take their rabbits out and put them on the table for people to see and pet.

We went on more rides with more book reports.

Bookworm shared her ticket with Dad so he could go on Bumper Cars

Nutsy is fearless.....

....and Mr. Lego gave me one of his tickets so I could go on the Fireball with him....lots of spinning and going upside down. I loved it.

We went to my favorite part of the fair, The Farm.

Oh, I wish my garden looked like this:

One great thing about our fair is that you can bring in outside food.

Dinner was a bean and tomato salad I made with salami sandwiches.

And since we didn't have to buy our dinner, we got some treats....

Dippin' Dots....

A warm cinnamon bun....

and our fried treat this year?

Deep Fried Snickers.

We all voted that we liked the deep fried Twinkie better.

I saw this treat there. Come on friends, agree with me. This is NOT right.

Another year of fair is done. We learned lots and are looking forward to 4-H beginning in September again. And then it all starts all over again...

Monday, July 25, 2011

Monday Musings

What I'm thinking: Right this moment? That my cup of Peach Tea I am drinking is lovely. I will drink coffee occasionally, especially if I was up until 2am talking or playing games (this has happened twice over the last 5 days), but tea is my morning beverage of choice.

What I'm reading: I have not picked up a book since last Tuesday. And I think that was a cookbook....I made a big coffee cake and a fun snack mix to take to our family reunion.

What I'm listening to: Humming in the kitchen. Do you hum? My kids hum a lot. And I love it when they hum; humming usually means you are happy and that is a wonderful thing.

What we're learning: We are on our summer break now, and this is our first full week at home with no learning obligations. But we are always learning....

What I'm watching: The weather heat up. We were in Oregon for a few days last week and I think the high one day was 83. On our 10 day forecast here, every day it will be over 90. Of course, I love it.

What's cooking: I am not sure. I did not plan a monthly menu this month for the first time since I can remember. Instead I am kind of doing weekly planning so today I need to sit down and think about what to eat this week.

What I'm buying: Except for our groceries, I can't think of anything I need to buy this week.

What I'm thankful for: I am so thankful for our extended family. We just spent a few days with about 25 of them during our family reunion and we had such a good time.

What I'm creating: I am thinking to do some fun stuff in the kitchen this week. Maybe making some fun ice pops with fruit for the kids, and maybe a watermelon granita for the adults.

What I'm praying: That even during the busy times, I would remember my relationship with the Lord. And that I would be more faithful to daily prayer and reading the Word.

What I'm planning: I have a couple big things on my to do list this week: finish planning out the science for co-op, and get caught up with my homeschooling review writing.

What we did this last weekend: We were in Oregon with our family....we ate yummy food, played games, had good conversations, swam in the pool, and relaxed.

What I'm looking forward to: A semi quiet week at home; I think we'll go swimming a lot, I'll have a game afternoon with the kids one day, and maybe we'll get together with friends.

A picture to share:

~My 94 year-old grandpa with all of his 9 great-grandchildren.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


 Drying Fresno Chilies from the garden

 Silly bands

 Tomatoes from the garden

Birthdays Celebrated

Monday, July 18, 2011

Monday Musings

What I'm thinking: That I am tired this morning. They don't release the rabbits from State Fair until after 10pm so that's where we were last night. I let the kids sleep in a bit this morning and I still feel like I am not completely awake yet.

What I'm reading: The last thing I read was my new issue of Cooking Light. I really like that magazine and the ideas and recipes I find in there.

What I'm listening to: If I listen real hard, I can hear chirping sounds coming from the garage. And that is because we babysat our friends baby chicks over the weekend. They are so cute and fun to watch.....someday I would love some chickens.

What we're learning: We learned a lot about showmanship this last week. The judge at State Fair was a bit eccentric, but gave some good tips on rabbits and rabbit knowledge. He was a completely different judge from last year, and was looking for completely different things, so the older two did not get called back. But they learned a lot.

What I'm watching: Red tomatoes from our garden sitting on the kitchen counter. I made a green bean, tomato and feta salad which we took to the fair one day, and I am so happy I had lots of cherry tomatoes from our garden to put in it.

What's cooking: With 3 days of State Fair last week, I missed my monthly shopping. So I really have no idea what we are eating this week....I am thinking something simple and easy.

What I'm buying: Just the normal things that are needed in life. Toilet paper...laundry soap....milk....pencils......

What I'm thankful for: I am thankful for my husband; who loves me, puts up with me, and does his best to lead and provide for our family.

What I'm creating: I am hoping to have some time to sit down and edit the photos I took over the last week. I am not sure if I will get a blog post out this week too; but I'll try.

What I'm praying: That God would continue to give His wisdom to me as a mom; as I train and nurture the children He has blessed me with.

What I'm planning: We have some busy things happening this week so I am getting things in order, making lists and planning fun times.

What we did this last weekend: We were at the fair all day Saturday. Then Sunday we went to church and had a relaxing afternoon and evening at home while we celebrated Nutsy's 6th birthday and my **th birthday. :-) Then back to the fair to pick up rabbits and home and in bed by 11:30.

What I'm looking forward to: I am looking forward to spending time with family this week. We are hoping to do some swimming, a few walks, and maybe a trip to the river.

A picture to share:

~Nutsy and me, celebrating our birthdays.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Monday Musings

What I'm thinking: That I can't believe it is July 11. And that State Fair is here again. We will be going a few days this week, but State Fair is not as crazy as our County Fair. But it will still be fun.

What I'm reading: Except for reading a few pages in my new Nourishing Traditions book, I have not read anything. I am seriously neglecting my summer reading.

What I'm listening to: Outside sounds. I have the window open to let the breeze in before it gets too hot and I can hear a lawn mower off in the distance and a dog barking.

What we're learning: We are officially done with our 2010-11 school year. But we'll still be learning this week....the older two will be studying their rabbit manuals and practicing showmanship like crazy because they are doing showmanship at State Fair.

What I'm watching: My tomatoes turning red. I think I'll be able to pick some later this week. And my two men put up copper tape all around the box and I think it is holding the slug army at bay....

What's cooking: Later this week I am making PW's Grilled Chicken and Pineapple Quesadillas. You can see the recipe here if you want. They are super yummy.

What I'm buying: Tomorrow I have an appointment for a haircut. I usually let it grow, and grow, and neglect to get it trimmed. So every so often I have to go in to get a few inches chopped off.

What I'm thankful for: The beautiful weather that is forecasted this week. It is only supposed to get into the mid 80's all week. Which will be so nice at the fair....last year it was 105° when we were there. (Thanks to my dad, I now know how to do the little circle for degrees! You push Alt, then 0176 on the keypad.)

What I'm creating: Lists so I don't forget things in the next couple weeks. The next two weeks are especially busy; I don't know if I will get to blog much but I'll update you on our adventures later this month. And it is always an adventure....

What I'm praying: That my life would reflect Christ. Over the weekend we went to my friend's memorial service. And it made me think: what do others see when they look at me? And so I pray that people wouldn't see what I do and think of me, but would think of Christ and His saving work.

What I'm planning: I'm still plugging along, planning out the science class for next year. And I am learning a ton about bird feathers, flight, bird anatomy and bird songs.

What we did this last weekend: We went to the memorial service, then helped our friends, who are deserting us in our town and moving to the next town, pack up their moving truck. Sunday after our church service and fellowship time a bunch of people went to their new house to help our friends again. And in record time, about 10 guys and 18 children helped unload the truck. Us women stood in the shade directing traffic. Then we went to a park with another family for some volleyball.

What I'm looking forward to: I am looking forward to State Fair.....to seeing the great exhibits, walking through the UC Davis Farm, watching different animal competitions, eating something deep fried, and picking out a couple rides to go on with the kids on the Midway.

A picture to share:

~This was 4 years ago, at my grandpa's 90th birthday. Look how we have changed. And last week he turned 94....Happy Birthday, Grandpa!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Water-Bottle Fight

Water fights are fun. Especially on very hot days. And last Sunday, it was burning hot here. Instead of hitting our neighborhood pool like we normally do, my Sweetie challenged our sweaty, hot offspring to a water fight.

Now when I think of water fights I think water balloons. But there are some disadvantages to water balloon fights.

It takes forever to fill them, and by the time you get enough for a decent fight, your index fingers are numb from stretching each and every balloon around the faucet. And if you are really trying to cool off, a water balloon fight is not the best answer; my kids have found that they usually just bounce off of the attackers and explode onto the ground, getting your ankles and feet all muddy. And those water balloons can hurt too.

So our family partakes in water-bottle fights.

All you need are those plastic, disposable water bottles.

And buckets of water.

And strong arms and good aim.

The trick is to blow the bottle back up after throwing the water.

That's why in this next photo my Sweetie looks like he's singing karaoke into the bottle.

Then you reload your bottle in the bucket of water and attack again.

Of course, there is smack talkin' too.

Which of course, leads to this:

Like all water fights, the ammo changes to bigger and better things as the fight progresses.

Enter the buckets.

Remember this photo from Tuesday's Musings?

You all know what happened next.....

And of course the buckets aren't enough, so the hose becomes part of the arsenal.

As you can see, our family takes water fights quite seriously.

They also learn pretty quick that every action has a re-action.

In other words, if you get Daddy, you are going to get soaked.

At this point the buckets become shields.

Notice that Dasher, Nutsy and obviously me, are not in the fight anymore.

They were off on the side, throwing water up into the air on themselves.

The fight wound down after a while, and we all sat on the deck in the sun that didn't seem so warm now.

The water-bottle fight a distant memory....

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Monday Musings (On Tuesday)

What I'm thinking: That it is going to be another hot one today. Yesterday it was 102, and today it will be 103. And I saw on someone's Facebook status that they typed that little circle you put after the temperature to mean degrees...anyone know how to do that?

What I'm reading: Except for very light reading of some cookbooks and a frugal living tips book I got from the library, I haven't done any reading. And the summer is slipping by.

What I'm listening to: Spoons clanking against bowls at the breakfast table. This doesn't bother me at all...it is the chewing that drives me up the wall.

What we're learning: This is our last week of formal school. After this week we only have a couple days every week that we could do school, so I am saying that this Friday is the last. I am pushing a couple of my children to get to a certain point in their math books, and the two older ones have one last history test to take.

What I'm watching: We rarely rent movies, and I get most of the ones we watch from the library. This is hit or miss....especially when I pick up a movie that neither of us has ever heard of before. So last week I picked up As Far As My Feet Will Carry Me. When I got it home I was even more doubtful when I saw it was a German film; sometimes those international films can be weird. But this one was pretty good; it was about the true story of a WW 2 German soldier who is imprisoned in the Russian Gulag; he escapes and then walks 8,000 to home over three years. And thankfully it did have subtitles...

What's cooking: I am doing something a little different this week. I am going to have my Sweetie grill lots of Hoisin Chicken one day. That night we will eat it in Asian wraps, then the next day the leftover meat will go into a stir fry. Hopefully this plan will keep the kitchen a bit cooler.

What I'm buying: I can't think of anything I need to get his week....

What I'm thankful for: Good friends and good conversations. We spent a lot of time this weekend with our friends and I am so thankful that while we can have a fun time playing games and laughing, we can also talk about deeper things and encourage and admonish one another.

What I'm creating: Tomatoes! We picked the first of our tomatoes over the weekend. They are the Early Girls and are little cherry ones. But I see about 30 green large ones, some Romas, and the heirlooms so I am really getting excited.

What I'm praying: That I would remember that my voice is not the one everyone always want to hear, and that my ideas are not always the best ones. Romans 12:16b "...do not be wise in your own opinion."

What I'm planning: I have this great idea to do all my planning for school this month so I can relax in August and enjoy the summer. I'm not sure if it will work.....we have the State Fair next week, then a family reunion later this month so I am not sure if I can do it all in July.

What we did this last weekend: We went to our friends annual 4th of July party on Friday....we talked, ate great food, stayed up way too late, played volleyball, the kids had a water fight, and my Sweetie and I got pushed into the pool. With our clothes on. Sunday we went to church and then spent a nice quiet afternoon as a family. Monday we went swimming and had a huge backyard water fight, then went to our friends for a BBQ, then back home for our neighborhood's block party and fireworks.

What I'm looking forward to: It is only 8 in the morning and I am getting warm. So I am really looking forward to getting in the pool this afternoon. It is a quiet week ahead; Saturday we have the memorial service for my friend, which I know, will be bittersweet.

A picture to share:

~This was taken during our backyard water fight.  What's going to happen next in this picture? Stay tuned to my blog to find out.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Another Family Adventure

If you have a child, and especially if that child is a boy, (or an insect/reptile loving girl) then you are bound to have a few adventures.

I remember one time when I was maybe 6 or 7, my sister and I filled a plastic cup with those rolly-poly potato bugs and tried to feed them ants so they would be our pets. Of course they all died. I also remember being a bit younger and letting a Daddy Long-Legs walk up and down my arm because it tickled.

It was probably a good thing that my mom couldn't see.

But I've grown up and now and am of the opinion that the only place for the bugs is outside. Reptiles are still up for debate....I actually love snakes, but am not so excited about lizards, scorpions and things that bite you.

God gave me a son. Which I know equals mud, grass stains, bleeding knees and elbows, and the occasional creature that makes its way inside. He also blessed me with a daughter that loves every created thing, and will try to rescue the unfortunate spider that freaks me out in the sink.

It had been a while since we had a visit from outdoor critters, and I should have been on my guard, but that's when they get you.

So last week the kids were playing in the front yard and all came running in to tell me that there was a snakey lizard, 2 feet long, that had slithered across the street and hid himself in our front bushes. Smart lizard. He knows kids, and my kids are notorious for killing things they capture.

They poked around the bushes a little but he was going nowhere, so we forgot all about him and went on with our day and evening.

Next day. We are out running errands and come back, leaving the garage door open so I can empty the trunk. About 30 minutes later I hear an incredible commotion in the garage and yup, Mr. Lizard had decided to make our garage his vacation home.

I am not squeamish or anything so I go out and look, and the 2 foot report from the day before was a bit exaggerated; but he was still a pretty good specimen of a lizard.

Here he is amongst the roller blades.

My first reaction is to chase it out of the garage, but what kind of fun is that? My kids know this, so they begin Operation Lizard Catch. It only took 5 minutes before they got him.

And then they put him in this container.

Now this is where my head went out the window. Do you see where we are in this picture?

We're in the house. Not the garage, the house. That's the piano bench in my living room.

No, I don't know what I was thinking.

Looking back, I think it was a pretty hot day, so we all went inside with him. Fellow Moms, tell me that this is a good excuse for bringing a 15 inch lizard into the house.

And you can imagine what happened next.

Yes, he escaped, and headed right for the sofa.

And I will tell you that since he was a little bigger he did slither back and forth, like those big lizards in Indonesia.

Of course you can't just grab him by his tail, because he will miraculously loose his tail, and you are left holding a squirming tail, which sounds pretty gross and painful to me. 

So Mr. Lego lifted the sofa and the others tried to trap him.

He was a fast little guy and even tried to go behind the piano. We would have never gotten him out if he went back there because the piano weighs a ton.

Finally they got him under something. At this point I was standing on the coffee table.

This was the tricky part....sliding something under the container to pick him up with. Mr. Lizard was having none of it.

But my children were trickier and he was back into a bin....this time a deep bin.

My brain was still out to lunch because this bin is in the school room. But there was reason he was there....as soon as the crisis was over, the kiddos started going through our nature books, trying to figure out what type of lizard he was and what to feed it.

Feed it?!? That means it is staying in our possession for longer than fifteen minutes and that part was up for debate. But the kids came back with the reason that they wanted to show Daddy, and I can't resist that one.

Meet Mr. Alligator Lizard.

See, he was a pretty big guy.

So Mr. Alligator Lizard went out into the garage in his bin, where the kids gleefully put branches, dirt and leaves for him to hide under. Then they all went outside to find slugs from my garden and other insects to give him.

The slugs were doing what they do best... hiding from me ( I am having an all-out war with them right now over the tomatoes), and the only creeping thing that Dasher could find was a fly that was missing a wing.

The end of the story comes sooner than you think; in their over-zealousness to give him a proper habitat, they put larger branches that hung over the side of the bin and Mr. Lizard decided that this vacation spot wasn't working for him so he skedaddled.

The kids were disappointed that Daddy couldn't see him in person, which made me happy that I had taken some photos.

So, when your lovely children bring a guest in from the outdoors for inspection, don't scream, freak out or yell; but examine it, try to learn about it and keep it in the garage.