Friday, October 30, 2009

Allison's helmet

You may remember that Clarence helped put up some hay this summer. He really enjoyed it and was able to go help on another occasion, too.

Are you wondering what that has to do with this picture?

The people who were haying have horses. They recently got a horse back from having the Amish break it for them and need to ride it every day. The wife said that she'd like someone to ride her other horse when she takes the new horse out and asked if Allison would be interested.

Interested? Are you kidding?

Finally, she found something she really wanted to spend her saved birthday and Christmas money on. Her very own riding helmet, in a lovely light purple.

We've been slow about calling them to set things up and now, unfortunately, one of the horses is injured and can't be ridden for three more weeks. Allison is trying to be patient.
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Sunday, October 25, 2009


Well, almost.

The girls have discovered that Salvation Army and Goodwill are great places to find interesting and unique clothes. They love making their own fashion statements and both have a particular affection for paisley.

Julianne got these pink paisley capris last year. They are one of four different pairs of paisley pants she owns. Allison was lagging behind with only one pair. I tried to console her with the knowledge that Julianne would be handing them all down to her some day.

That was fine until she found a pair of paisley pants identical to Julianne's in our local Goodwill last week. I told her I didn't think I needed to buy them, since we already had a pair at home that she would eventually get. Mean, aren't I?

Yesterday we stopped in looking for something else I had seen the last time I was there (which, of course, was long gone) and everything in the store was half price. Allison went looking and came back with the pants.

I guess I'm an old softie after all.

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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Presto Change-O


This is our "new" van. The Montana was, indeed, totaled and we were happy to find this '03 Chevy Venture. We intentionally ordered the Montana mud-colored. This one is actually red but, as it's been raining since we drove it off the lot yesterday, you'd think it was the same old color (which gives you a hint as to why we ordered that ugly brown in the first place).

Some friends told us they'd seen a used Montana at a local dealer. We went to look at it Thursday night but it was a smoker's car, so not for us. This Venture was sitting next to it. We didn't want to look at something that old, as we were hoping to get at least 5 years out of this vehicle. However, the relatively low mileage made us reconsider.
It seemed like God was putting all the pieces into place, in perfect timing. We even got a much more generous settlement from the insurance company than we expected.

We are excited have both a cassette and cd player so we can listen to audio books in either format. There's also a dvd player, which means we won't have to haul the inverter, tv/vcr, and dvd player along when we drive to Florida. That will be a huge space saver, plus this has headsets so the girls can watch a movie and we can still talk or listen to the radio.

Our poor Montana was 10 years old and showing its age. Over 200,000 miles, the air conditioning, rear wiper, automatic door, and gas gauge had all broken, the driver's window would go down but had to be helped up, and some of the trim was loose where it had been repaired after the first deer ran into it. "But there ain't nothin' wrong with the radio." (Although I don't normally listen to Country, when I heard that song a few years ago I thought it was hilarious.) Having all those extras working makes this seem like a brand new car to us. We feel very blessed.
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Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Score

Deer 2

Clarence 0

Here's what he was wearing when he hit the deer Saturday morning.

Oh, the irony.
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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Allison's chickens

A few years ago, some friends bought some dollar store chicken yard ornaments and decorated our campsite with them at Family Camp. When we could sneak them over to their campsite, we "chickened" them in return.

The chickens have broken or been given away in a teen scavenger hunt until, last year, we were down to only one left. We left it at our friends' campsite right before we pulled out. This year they reciprocated, since they pulled out ahead of us.

Allison thought we needed more chickens but the place that used to sell them burned last summer. What to do?

She decided to make her own.

She has spent a lot of time in the playhouse painting since camp.

I find the "Chickens Rock" rock hilarious.

Clarence taught her how to use a saw to cut out shapes. For my own good, I was unaware of that at first.

She has them all packed away in the trailer, waiting for next summer.

Hopefully, we'll have room to pack the stuff we actually need.
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Monday, October 12, 2009

Shirt to Skirt

I saw an idea in a magazine a few months back and shared it with Julianne. It was how to transform a man's shirt into a woman's skirt. She was intrigued.

We picked up a couple shirts at Salvation Army for $1 each so she could experiment.

She chose to start with a red plaid.

I removed the pocket for her, then she started cutting. The project got put aside for a while for various reasons and when she pulled it out again, I was surprised to see that she had embellished the pocket. Cute idea, and not one that the magazine article had suggested. I love her creativity.

We finally got around to purchasing some cording for the drawstring, which was the final delay. Last week, she stitched the pocket in its new location, turned down the top and sewed it, then learned how to make buttonholes on my sewing machine and threaded the drawstring through.

(I'm kicking myself for not taking a detail shot of her crocheted flower on the pocket.)

The drawstring didn't look good to me with her fancy embellished pocket so I encouraged her to tuck it in. I'm thinking elastic might be a better idea the next time.
Overall, it was a pretty simple project. Julianne was able to pick up a couple new sewing skills in the process and is tickled with her new skirt.
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Sunday, October 11, 2009

October quiz

The first quiz of the season was yesterday.

This year they are quizzing on I & II Corinthians. We actually have a three person team this year, although the girls' teammate wasn't able to go to yesterday's competition.

In individual competition, both girls made it to the final round. Allison didn't place but Julianne took first place.

In team competition, the girls took first place in the young teen veteran division. The other girl who is quizzing this year is in 10th grade, so when she attends, they will be quizzing in the senior teen division.

Julianne quizzed out in every round she was in yesterday (7). Allison managed to get two quiz outs during the course of the day. They continually amaze me.
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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Everyday miracles

Yesterday was Allison's night to cook. She asked her dad to stop on his way home for an ingredient, as he often does for me. He took a slight detour from his normal route home to go to Sam's Club.
On his ride into work, he had been unable to avoid something in the road. He checked his tires when he got to work and again before leaving, then started his commute home.
As he exited the freeway, almost to Sam's, his tire went flat. He continued, driving slowly, and made it to Sam's Club safely. I saw several miracles in his adventure.
  1. He didn't take his normal route home, which would have left him stranded roadside, nowhere near a tire place.
  2. The tire didn't go flat until he was off the freeway, moving at a much slower, safer speed.
  3. He was the only customer in the tire dept. and was able to get the tire changed in mere minutes. (That seems like a huge miracle to me!)
  4. He was at Sam's Club, where the tire was originally purchased, so the road hazard coverage was usable, giving him a discount on the new tire.

Prayer for their dad's safety is something the girls often add when asking a blessing on their food at mealtime. Sometimes it seems so rote and repetitious to my ears, sincere though they are. I'm glad God doesn't look at it that way and orchestrated all the details so perfectly yesterday, allowing us to glimpse some of the miracles I'm sure He performs unnoticed every day.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

An anniversary surprise

The girls spent some time with their adopted grandma this past week. We have been so busy of late that we had a hard time finding a day they could go when she invited them.

There was a lot of whispering going on and when I asked why she wanted them to come over, there was no direct answer. Allison finally told me it was like "Grandma's craft day" that my mom has with the grandkids every Christmas.
Only this time, it involved baking instead of crafting.

The girls spent the afternoon there, after finishing their schoolwork. Clarence and I were invited to join them for dinner and were surprised by these cakes when we arrived.
Allison decorated "Happy" and Julianne did the honors on "Anniversary". The decorations were on top of cake called "Death by chocolate". It was delicious-and we lived to tell about it!
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