Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!!!

LittleJ has been waiting... and waiting... and waiting... and....

It's finally here!
Christmas morning.

And I ended up having to not only wake him up, but the rest of them as well.

Here he is looking barely awake, but ready to go!

So, here's just a little bit of our Christmas....
I ♥ new Christmas socks!
Lego Mini-figures!!
I can't believe I'm actually holding this!
...and I hope yours has been filled with a little bit of this...
... and a little bit of Him;  
Jesus, the Light of the World, Emmanuel, God With Us.
We wish you a very Merry Christmas.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Few Favorite Fall Pics!

It's been quite a while since I've posted any family happenings, so I thought I'd share some of my favorite pictures from this fall season. 

We love playing outside and our backyard is still one of my most favored places.  It backs up to a landscape nursery which makes for a nice quiet place to relax and play.

We have just enough trees and leaves to keep us busy in the fall too. 

It's not too often I can get a good "portrait" of BigJ, so when I do I'm pretty excited. 
I like the way this one turned out.
We've had some very nice fall weather days here, and this day we took a trail walk at the Wilderness Center.
We've had an enjoyable fall season, but like always, I wish the colors could last just a bit longer and winter would be just a bit shorter. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Who's That Chef?

Look it's Erica! 

She and her culinary class from the career center were cooking at the Wayne Co. Fair this year.  It's a senior tradition, and of course they get out of school for the day, so they are very happy!

Now, lets just say, no matter who's cooking at the tent, they can grill up a fantastic pork loin sandwich.  But last Wednesday the culinary students were cooking and serving up a few extras. 

Erica and one of her fellow classmates were serving cajun-style bourbon pork over rice, with some black bean concoction over it as well.

I wasn't so brave on the black beans, but I did like the bourbon pork and rice.  It was VERY good. 

Will she be cooking this at home?  Probably not.... I don't think she knows the recipe!  She did bring home some delicious cinnamon raisin bread today though that she made herself.  YUM!!!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Ohio State Fair

I love the fair. 

It must be from growing up as a 4-H kid and being at the fair every summer, but whatever the reason, I know I love going and looking at all the exhibits.
We travel to several different county fairs in our surrounding area every summer, and this year we decided to add on the Ohio State Fair.  The last time we went was probably about 10 years ago, so it was definitely time to go back.

Of course, I always have to check out the animal barns whenever I go to the fair.  Part of my 4-H experience involved animals and swine barns.  Yes, I was one of those kids who chased a her hogs around a show ring!  It's not the most favored places of everyone else in my family, but they are willing to humor me!

The swine barn looked newly renovated and so did the sheep barn, and had a beautiful show ring in the center. 
Check out that HUGE fan on the ceiling.
We also went through various display buildings, even though we didn't make it to the 4-H building until 5 minutes before it was closing.

One building had a large pedal tractor maze made from straw bales. 
LittleJ enjoyed his many trips through the maze.

In the open class building, they had a
"decorate a throne" contest..hahaha.

This was one of my favorites of the professionally decorated cakes.
 They also have an official Ohio State Fair Band, and since Tim was a member years ago, he wanted to listen to their concert on the lawn.  They also have a choir, made up of members throughout the entire state, that gave an excellent concert as well.
LittleE and LittleJ got in a nap while listening to the band perform.

We also spent time at the Natural Resources Park and was able to pick up a lot of brochures for our state history unit study this year.  We toured through the native Ohio animals section, which included this Great Blue Heron.  I've never seen one this up close before, usually only flying or on a distant shore, so I was glad to get a good picture.

I was also able to get this picture in the butterfly house. 
It butterflies were very active that day.
There was so much to see, and do...

... and eat!  I really could not believe this one!  Instead of a bun, there was two glazed doughnuts, and yes there were some people eating them.  I can't imagine all that sugary yuck on my burger.  What will they think of next?!? 

We had a very full day, and I know we didn't even see it all.  Next time I'll definitely be riding the Sky Ride. 
The Ohio State Fair is definitely another favorite Ohio field trip, and thankfully there was plenty of open lawn, benches, and picnic tables for relaxing and just enjoying the atmosphere.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What Do You Do on the First Day of School?

We have an annual tradition for our first day of school.... a field trip!  In years past we've been at the lake cottage, or have gone to the zoo or somewhere local, and one year we even went camping at Mohican State Park.  This year we went to the Virginia Kendall Ledges, part of the Cuyhoga Valley National Park Ohio.   

So, here is how we spent part of our "first day of school".

Entering the ledges trail.  Don't get too close to the edges.

LittleJ liked scouting the trails.
He liked climbing into all the crevices to see if they led anywhere.
The colors in some of the rock formations are really beautiful.

Moving right along and staying on the paths.... most of the time!
Relaxing at the overlook across the valley

Taking a break and enjoying the beautiful weather.

This year we are doing an Ohio History unit study, so this made a perfect beginning to our year.  It gives us real life hooks to hang our reading on.  I like it that way.  I have found some wonderful living books we'll be reading in order to experience Ohio as well.  I'll be showing them to you as we move along.

This was another favorite Ohio field trip and we'll be taking many more trips throughout Ohio with our Ohio Historical Society family pass.   Up next will probably be something native american related, like the indian mounds.  We haven't been down to see those yet, so I'm excited. 

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Fossil Hunting

At Warren Dunes State Park, they have a park naturalist (that's him in the hat) that shared with the beach goers about the dunes, the reason for the fog the day before, and about fossils.

That's right.  There are coral fossils in Lake Michigan, and if you know what you are looking for, you can find them.  This day was particularly good for fossil hunting because there was hardly a ripple on the water.  The air was barely moving, no waves to speak of, and it was HOT.  There wasn't much else to do but sit in the water.
We actually have quite a few fossils in our collection, and we were able to add a few more this time as well.  I love this kind of stuff.  I think it's SO COOL that you can find something thousands of years old in a place where it really shouldn't be. 
How does that happen? 
Well, in my opinion, a world-wide flood followed by an ice age, and TA-DA! salt water coral fossils in a freshwater lake.  And I found a great one!
 We had a lot of fun in the water just trying to stay cool. 
It was around 95*F plus humidity and no breeze.
When you stepped out of the water it was only a minute before you started sweating again!
The sand was also a scorching 120*F according to the park naturalist.
I was so glad to be near a beach that week, and thankfully we took our fans for the tents.

LittleJ has never been a fan of the water when we go to the beach.  We figured out this trip that it's because of the waves.  This day, because there were no waves, he spent the entire time playing in the water (not just at the edge) and having a great time.  It was great!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Do Fog and Sunburn Go Together?

Why yes, yes they do! 
And we found out all too well on our second day
at Lake Michigan.

When we arrived at the beach, just a few minutes drive from the state park campground, it had a strange look to it.  We couldn't even see the large sand dune, Tower Hill, which should have been right in front of us.
Why?  Fog.  Lots of fog. 

We literally spent the afternoon playing, swimming, and "sunning" in a cloud. 
There should be beautiful, blue water and skies in the background of these photos, but not this day.  We could even feel mist from our "cloud" every once in a while. 
Now, we still had fun of course, and the fog kept the temperature at a nice 82*F.
So, what happens when you think you don't need any suncreen and you hang out at the beach having fun?
Note the smile on his face... he's only pretending to be sleeping, silly boy.

This shows the fog looking towards the dunes.  You can barely see the restrooms/snack building, and you can usually see the huge sand dune.
 Someone ends up looking like this.....
Others had some sunburn too, but nothing like LittleE!  The rest of us used some sunscreen, but LittleE didn't.  She was not a happy camper when it was time to go to bed. 
Can you say, "Where's the aloe?!"

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Arriving At Lake Michigan!

 After a long, hot 6+ hour drive, unloading 2 cars, and setting up 2 tents, we arrived at this beautiful sight.
The nice cool waters and beautiful shores of Lake Michigan.

This has become one of our all-time favorite vacation spots, and it was doubly appreciated because of the extremely high heat and humidity that was upon us.

We stayed almost until sunset that first night and I was able to get a great picture of the kids.
I thought this was perfect!!

Monday, July 25, 2011

It's Showtime!!

The community theater that LittleE participates in has been alive this summer
with a variety of wonderful programs. 
Last weekend, LittleE and another theater friend were asked by the director to organize a youth cabaret night.  They did a great job working with kids as young as nine and going through high school.  There were even a few college kids thrown in for good measure!

They put together a wonderful variety/musical theater show.
LittleE sang "Summer Nights" from the musical Grease.

The whole group also sang a finale of "Don't Stop Believin'".  LittleE choreographed it for them and they did a wonderful job.  It was a fun evening featuring lots of young talent.

LittleA also was in the show.  She sang "Mr. Wonderful" and did an excellant job.
I don't have a still photo of that because I was busy taking the video.  Next time I'll have to hand off a second camera to someone else so we can have still shots as well.  Thankfully, the above 2 photos were taken by another family.

LittleE is currently working at the theater helping with the young peoples summer
workshop of "Schoolhouse Rock Live".
Then, throughout the month of August, she'll be participating in the teen summer workshop.  They had such fun with "You're A Good Man Charlie Brown" last summer, so this summer they will be performing the musical "Snoopy".  It should be a great way to end the summer!

A Little Hip Hop... A Little Ballet

LittleE continues to take dance classes in both hip hop and ballet.

 And if you didn't know... she loves it!
This year's recital was wonderful.

Well actually, every year has been wonderful, because 
Shirley's School of Dance always does a great job showcasing their dancers.

Sometimes I can't believe this is my LittleE!!  I'm so proud of all the things she's accomplished and I know there will be more wonderful things to come as she enters her senior year of high school.  YIKES!