We had an interesting evening meal tonight.

With Dagmar off babysitting and the kids’ friend Brian here – Angel Girl and I were outnumbered at the supper table.

And since the guys had all been out working on Pedro’s truck – the conversation was littered with a strange terminology.

Angel Girl and I just took it all in.

Then we heard Brian describe this truck that he drove – his face animated:

“It’s a 7.3 turbo diesel 2000 Ford F350 super duty, bully-dog chipped, 500 horsepower machine.”

All the males at the table smiled appreciatively while Pedro responded with a very heartfelt, “Sweet!”

I just shook my head and said, “I have no idea what you just said.”

Brian answered, “It’s a really big truck that smokes when I drive it.”


Now that I can understand.

Sometimes you just need an interpretation.

Embracing the Craziness

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words.

I hope it’s true – ’cause a picture is about all I have time for!
4-HSo what’s going on?

My friend Kimmer’s here! And 2 of her kids. And Dagmar’s friend Lainers and a random nephew.

9 kids. At my house. Eating.

That’s the fun stuff.

Then there’s –

The county fair. 4H projects. Dead calf. Vet visit. Blown tire.  No rain. Stinky pigs.

But God is good.

And Kimmer and I picked up more chocolate last night. (sshh – don’t tell the kids or they’ll eat that, too!)

We’re loving the craziness and making some memories!

Girl’s Night

What do you do when your husband takes the boys for an overnight adventure, leaving you at home with the girls?

You invite Bethany over for a party!

Then you go thrifting and shopping and hit Sonic Happy Hour!


And you have pizza for supper – and ice cream – and Twizzlers.

And popcorn and movies – chick flicks of course.

And stay up really late.

You play hours of Pay Day while it rains.


And sing really loud when your favorite song plays on the radio.

And eat more Twizzlers.

And strawberries dipped in sour cream and brown sugar.

And when the rain stops – you have a mud fight. An epic mud fight. A “I’ll be washing mud out of my hair for the next week” kind of mud fight.


You make big messes in the kitchen trying recipes from Pinterest.

And eat brownie batter dip till your eyes cross and you lay on the floor and wish you hadn’t eaten the brownie batter dip!

And then you eat more popcorn and watch more movies and fall asleep exhausted.

Yep. That’s what.

It’s All Free Today!

Bib-lio-phile: noun a lover of books especially for qualities of format; also : a book collector

That’s me! 🙂

So when a home schooling friend offered me over 1000 home school books and resources for FREE – I was almost giddy!

So what does one do with boxes and boxes and boxes of books?

First you spend hours pouring through every box, touching each and every book and resource. This takes hours because you get distracting and start reading them.

Then you make big piles of the books that you cannot live without and try to fit them on your already full bookshelves.

Meanwhile – your children are also going through each and every box, touching each and every book  and also have large piles of books that they cannot live without – because you trained them from a young age to love books – especially when they are free. 🙂

More BooksThen you take the many, many, many boxes of books that still remain – and lay them all out neatly in the basement. All over the basement – as in – you must rearrange the basement to make room for them all.
FriendsThen you call your homeschooling friends and invite them over for a book party – an “everything is free so please fill as many boxes as you wish and take them to live at your house” book party.

Would you believe they went through each and every box and touched each and every resource and made big piles of books that they just could not live without?

And then their children did the same thing. 🙂

After a wonderful afternoon  they took their boxes of books and stuffed in the van with all the children and are probably – right at this very minute – trying to fit them on already full bookshelves.

How do I know this?

Because I’m a bibliophile. It’s what we do.

Hearing Elephants

I heard an elephant last night.

No – seriously – I’m not crazy.  I was sitting on my back step and heard an elephant, a lion, and some unknown wild bird.

And I’m not the only one. Pedro heard it first. I told him it was probably just the guineas at the Amish neighbor’s. But there it was again – an African safari in our barn yard.

Jan heard it. Angel Girl heard it. Buddy heard it. I heard it.

Maybe we’re all crazy?! Can eating too many ears of fresh sweet corn cause one to hear strange noises?!

No, of course not. We really heard it and we have a sneaking suspicion we know where it’s coming from.

Are you ready for this – (lowers voice to a whisper) – our Amish neighbors.

Yes – I’m serious. You remember these neighbors – the ones with the train horn that they blow at all hours.

Those Amish.

We think they may have – (lowers voice to a whisper) – a hidden tape player.

Or a CD player, or a record player.

They have something that they’re playing -probably battery operated – and this isn’t our only evidence.

A while back when my friend Kimmer was here to visit with her kiddos, we all heard what sounded like an auctioneer practicing- and it was coming from their house.

We knew there wasn’t an auction for miles.

Mystified, we jumped in her pick-up (so they wouldn’t recognize our vehicle) and drove slowly up the road – checking out their property without looking like we were checking out their property.

The place looked deserted and the sound disappeared when we got closer. It started again later when we got back at home. It sounded just like it was coming from their back building.

Very suspicious.

Now – some time later – we hear the sounds of a safari coming from the very same location.

They have to be hiding something back there.

Unless of course – they actually have an elephant in there – and a lion – and some strange bird – and an auctioneer.  Which sounds more like the plot of a crazy 1960 Disney movie.

No – I’m thinking they have something hidden back there – and sooner or later we’ll discover just what it is.

I’ll keep you posted.

Stay tuned…

Trend Setters

We had quite an interesting discussion at the lunch table yesterday. (I should say that the kids had quite an interesting discussion because it was one of those times that made Jan and I feel a little like a ping-pong ball as we tried to keep up.)

Dagmar, freshly home from her wonderful week at TeenPact Endeavor in Colorado, was trying to inform her siblings what was hot – and what was not.

Just in case you were at all curious about what the newest trends are among the youth in our country – here is the lowdown as I understood it. (But be advised – this could change at any minute!)

Planking is out.

PlankingPlanking – quite popular at our 4th of July get-together – is when you lay face down like a plank on something, take a picture and post it on Facebook for all your friends to see. The object is to find the most obscure thing to plank on – like a tree limb or the wing of a bi-plane.

Also out is  “Toothpicking” – when you take a picture of yourself standing on your head next to something – like by a telephone pole or street lamp. Of course – you put it on Facebook so all your friends can see how creatively amazing you are.

“Owling”, however,  is in.Owl“Owling” is when you crouch down, preferably in weird places like the roof of your car or the mailbox, use your arms as wings and pretend to be an owl. And – you guessed it – you put these pictures on Facebook to impress all your friends.

I’ll have to admit that it’s hard to stay on top of all this, let alone participate. I mean – really now- I get dizzy when I put my head down to tie my shoes, how in the world would I put my feet above my head to “toothpick”?!

And honestly – even if I could get on top of my mailbox – I’m afraid that my “owling” would look more like a chicken trying to lay an egg.

Let’s face it people -the only way we’re going to be “with it” is to beat these kids at their own game.

So I propose that we come up with our own “ing” activity. Something easy to do for all ages. Something that can be done anywhere – in any obscure or random place.

Something like ….


Seriously people – just think of the possibilities!

There’s napping in the recliner, on the couch, in the hammock, at the table, while waiting in line at the grocery store…

Napping…mouth open, mouth closed, sitting up, laying down, inside, outside!

Then we can take pictures of each other and post them on our Facebook pages and all of our friends would be impressed at how cool and hip we were!

Finally – we would be the trendsetters.  🙂

Be Careful What You Wish For…

Just look at what happens when you confess on a blog post to being unable to grow zucchini…

…in less than 36 hours you are given 9  zucchinis!

BIG ones, too!

As my friend Martha said to me as she handed me a bag full of the veggies, “Be careful what you wish for!”

Right now I’m wishing for roasted Italian zucchini with Parmesan cheese – and thanks to my sweet friends – I’m going to get it!

Fruit Basket Upset

What a crazy weekend!

You could describe it a bit like fruit basket upset.

Let’s start with Friday,  Pedro’s 15th birthday.

Matt is gone to Summit for 2 weeks, Dagmar is on the couch with a 24 hour bug, and Jan & Pedro are frantically trying to get some hay baled before the rain comes.

Oh – and the heat index is about 101.

We pause in the craziness to sit around the dining room table in the air conditioned house with Nana and Poppa, eat grilled chicken and birthday cake, and watch Pedro open his presents, before heading back out to the hay field.

Crash's birthday cake

Saturday morning – Dagmar’s 17th birthday.

She’s feeling better so we prepare for her noon birthday party.

Jan is back in the hayfield. Buddy is on the couch with a migraine. Matt is still at Summit.

The heat index is 103.

We pause in the craziness to sit around the dining room table in the air conditioned house with Nana and Poppa, eat sweet and sour chicken and birthday cake, and watch Dagmar open her presents, before getting back to work.


Nana and Poppa head home.

The girls and I clean up the kitchen as fast as we can.

My friend Cinnamon drives in with some of her crew and a couple of extras. The teens disappear, the little’s disappear, and I get to relax a few minutes, play with baby Rosie and chat with Cinnamon.

Cinnamon packs up the crew –  leaving Gunnar and Daniel to spend the night with Pedro – and offers at the last minute to take Angel Girl to their house.

Okay – so I now have 3 teen boys in the basement, one 10 year old with a migraine on the couch, an exhausted husband on the tractor in the excessive heat baling hay, one daughter at a friend’s house and another daughter who is supposed to be celebrating her 17th birthday.

And Matt is still at Summit.

Sunday morning. The hay is baled. Nathan is better. The teen boys finally wake up.

The heat index is 105. We drive to church with no air conditioning (you may remember last weeks adventure!).

Daniel and Gunnar go home. We collect Angel Girl and head home in the excessive heat in a van with no air conditioning.

My sister Tee and niece Mil are waiting when we get home. We pause in the craziness to sit down at the dining room table in the air conditioned house and enjoy ham and potatoes and ice cream cake.

The kids disappear and I get to relax a few minutes and visit with my sister.

Jan and Pedro head out in the van with no air conditioning in the excessive heat to the fairgrounds to pick up all of the 4H and open class exhibits.

Tee and Mil take Dagmar home with them head for a few days in the big city.

Jan and Pedro return, hot and tired, just in time for our traditional Sunday night meal of popcorn and sandwiches.

I now have one tired but happy  husband who spent a long weekend baling and missed his Sunday nap, one happy daughter in the big city celebrating her birthday with cousins, one tired but happy daughter who had a great overnight with friends, one tired but happy son who had a lot of fun with his buddies, one tired little guy who was just glad his migraine was gone, and one tired mom who would be quite happy to singlehandedly finish off the left-over ice cream cake.

And Matt is still at Summit.

I told you it was a fruit basket upset!


Mental Slippage

I seem to have a bad case of mental slippage this last week.

Brain burps. A momentary lapse of thought.

Or just plain forgetfulness.

On our trip to the big city last weekend I had meticulously written out a detailed list for every store I needed to go to – and left them in the car. Except for one store – I remembered the list but had forgotten to put several important items on it.

That wasn’t nearly as bad as my mental lapse on Sunday. My friend Cinnamon just had the sweetest little baby you ever did see – and I was supposed to bring her a meal on Sunday.

Totally slipped my mind.

Then I discovered that the gal who was bringing their Saturday meal forgot too. Ouch. Two days in a row. Her kids even said, “Melinda won’t forget – she’ll bring us something yummy.”

Double ouch.

I did bring them a meal on Monday – but forgot the pile of movies and the extra Easter script I was going to bring along.

The rest of the week continued like that -forgetting to put the pan of scones in the oven, walking into a room and forgetting why I went in to it, the kids needing to remind me several times to correct their math.

The list goes on and on.

I don’t know what my trouble is – but I blame senioritis.  You know –  having a graduating senior in the house.

My mind is full of ACT scores, financial aid packets, college visits, and senior pictures.

All those numbers, the dates, the decisions!

Just looking at the price of college tuition is enough to freeze some brain cells.

Or <gasp> maybe the senioritis is mine.

After all – I did just have a birthday.  You know – they say the mind is the first thing to go.

No – on second thought – let’s all just forget I said that.

Here’s hoping that a nice quiet weekend and a few good nights of sleep will restore my cognitive prowess.

But until then – I’ll keep slugging away at my to-lists.

That is – if I can remember where I put them. 🙂

Birthday Blessings

I celebrated a birthday yesterday. 🙂

(But I won’t tell you which one! My husband keeps track of that for me – it involves numbers and you know I don’t like numbers – especially when you have to borrow in subtraction!)

The numbers don’t matter anyway – you know the saying, “Count your life by smiles not tears, count your age by friends, not years.”

If that’s true – then after the last few daysI must be very old – and blessed!

The surprises started on Sunday when a sweet friend walked into church carrying a chocolate almond cheesecake for me!

chocolate almond cheesecake

Dorothy – the amazing cheesecake fairy – left me speechless. Trust me – that doesn’t happen very often! It tasted just as wonderful as it looks! (And yes – I shared!)

That just got the ball rolling!

The birthday fun started at breakfast with hot, fresh chocolate strawberry scones. <contented sigh>

And continued with the e-cards and Facebook messages that kept flowing in all day- so many of them chocolate-covered! Including the one from my friend Cinnamon who informed me that all chocolate eaten on my birthday has NO calories.  Now that’s a true friend!

All though there were a few I questioned – like the one from my niece Mel who said,” Happy birthday Auntie M!!! Hope you have an exciting…wait, when you are – however old you are now – I suppose you prefer relaxing…second try! I hope you have relaxing, fun and chocolate filled birthday.”

So you think I’m old – huh, Mel?

Good thing she doesn’t know that I spent part of my birthday afternoon sitting on the couch reading.

Yes. Reading.

In the middle of the afternoon.

On a Tuesday.

It was wonderful!

Meanwhile in the kitchen, Dagmar was preparing a scrumptious Mexican feast for my party – including chimichangas with enough heat to burn out my sinus’s and enough fat to close up every artery. Fabulous!

And of course, Mommy’s traditional Chocolate Cheesecake Pie for dessert.

Mom's Birthday

(By the way – for those of you still trying to figure out my age – the candles are not a clue! The girls used up the only pink candles we had left because they knew it was my favorite color!)

After the birthday pie there were presents – all of which were surprises!

And you want to know the best gift of all? I went an entire day without doing any dishes at all! 🙂

My sister Becky wrote in her card to me, “Hope your love tank gets filled to overflowing!”

Oh – it did!

Pressed down, shaken together, and running over!

I feel so blessed.