Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Last Saturday evening we ventured to the Red Bank area of Lexington to visit the Berry Hill Farm. We just learned about the blueberry patch last year and have been waiting patiently for it to open this year.

Everybody grabbed a bucket and set foot through the blueberry patch collecting as many ripe blueberries as possible.

Avery, of course, ate her fair share along the way!

Emma did a great job of selecting the nice ripe blue ones.

Unlike picking apples or even strawberries, picking blueberries can be rather tedious since they are so small and it takes awhile to start filling up your bucket. And...that is not taking into account the 100 degree weather!

The kids were getting hot and tired, so we grabbed our buckets to walk back across the street to pay for our pickings.

We did pretty well. We picked over 5 pounds of blueberries all together and you just can't beat the price...at a dollar a pound we only spent a little over $5.00 for it all.

We have been eating fresh blueberries every night for dinner and I am trying to decide what I am going to make with the rest of them. Blueberry pancakes, blueberry muffins, blueberry pie, blueberry cake...I love fresh fruit!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Building pirate ships at Lowes

Saturday morning we brought the three kids back to Lowes for another session of their "Build and Grow." This week each of them got to build their own pirate ship.

Michael helped Emma a little, but she was anxious to hammer away at most of it herself.

Ryan with his completed pirate ship...

Avery with her finished ship...

Of course we knew that Ryan would enjoy the activity, but it was funny to see what the girls did with their ships once we got home. Their ships morphed into a sort of Noah's Ark complete with animal Little People figures riding on it!

Coming up on July 11th, the kids will have an opportunity to build a treasure chest. Another of Ryan's dreams come true!

Our visit to Tweetsie

During our visit to the Blowing Rock, NC area, we spent a day at Tweetsie. Tweetsie is a pretty amusement park nestled in the mountains and is the perfect place to bring young children. They have the Tweetsie Railroad, a historic 3-mile steam railroad, "County Fair" amusement rides, Western themed shows and Deer Park, which has various animals the kids can feed.

Here is a view of the entrance to Tweetsie. Like I mentioned before, the weather was terrific - not too hot - and the park was not very crowded.

There was practically no wait for any of the rides and plenty of room to sit down for the shows.

And they had these horses staged outside the shopping district that the kids loved sitting on.

Deer Park was situated on top of "Miner's Mountain" which was accessible by chair lift, walking trail, or a short bus ride.

The kids each purchased an ice cream cup full of animal food which could then be fed to any of the animals in the park.

Here is a view from the top of Miner's Mountain. Of course you can see the chair lifts going up to the top. Aside from Deer Park, Miner's Mountain had a few more amusement rides, restaurants, gold panning, and shows.

The kids all enjoyed the rides and they were really the perfect age for it all. I think older children would be easily bored with the kiddy rides pretty quickly.

Below the girls went around on the boat ride...

Avery on top of the horse...

We let the kids pick out souvenirs to bring home. The girls opted for small stuffed horses and Ryan, as seen below, opted for a cowboy hat, vest, whip and gun. He had fun getting into shooting matches with other little kids in costume throughout the day.

He liked the jail - in fact, we visited it twice. Is that something we should be worried about!?!

Before lunch, we took the kids to the Palace Saloon for a snack of soda and cotton candy (nothing like a sugar rush before lunch.) They had a can-can girl show that lasted 15 minutes or so that we watched and relaxed during the snack.

Here are the girls getting into a show with music. At one point during the show, all three kids joined the "Locomotion" dance line.

We saved our train ride on Tweetsie for last. Here is Avery on Tweetsie getting ready to take-off.
Needless to say, the kids all loved the amusement park. I don't imagine us going back again (like I said, the park is definitely for younger children), but when we asked the kids their favorite part of the vacation, all three of them quickly answered "Tweetsie!"

Friday, June 26, 2009

Happy 10th anniversary to my husband

I just wanted to say thank you to my dear husband for the past 10 years. Happy anniversary, Michael!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Fishing and gem mining at Grandfather's

This past weekend we took a 3 1/2 hour drive to Blowing Rock, NC. While back at home temperatures were climbing to over 100 degrees, we were enjoying the comfortable mountain weather in the 80's.

On our first full day in the mountains, we drove to Grandfather's Trout Fishing farm where the kids were able to check out the trout fishing and also pan for gems.

We purchased a bucket of rocks that the kids shared. After scooping out a few rocks and placing them in your rock panning screen, you can wash them off in the water and try and identify small pieces of gems.

We were able to find rubies, quartz, emeralds, etc. which the kids then placed in their own bags. They did have a gem specialist on site who identified a number of the rocks for us and explained that for a mere $40-$50 he could smooth the stone out so that it could be set in a jewelry setting at a later date. We opted out of spending more money at that point.

While the girls played in a hilly and grown over miniature golf area, Michael and Ryan got busy with the trout fishing.

After several failed attempts using corn as bait, Michael switched to worms and it made all the difference in the world. It didn't take long before he snagged a trout and Ryan got in the action netting the fish and dragging it to shore.

The girls took turns baby sitting the fish. They enjoyed just watching the fish in the bucket. After catch number 2, we decided to call it a day.

The trout farm supplied all fishing supplies for free - fishing poles, bait, net, bucket, etc. - and you only pay for what you catch. They quickly filleted the two rainbow trout for us and put them on ice.

We brought the fish home after vacation on ice and grilled them for dinner last night. Both Michael and I agreed - they were delicious. Of course the girls were a little confused about the fish we were eating, however, both of them tasted the fish and seemed to like it.

Last day of VBS

As I mentioned previously, Emma and Ryan participated in Mt. Horeb's vacation bible school program "Crocodile Dock" last week. Friday was their last morning and Michael was at home as well since we were getting ready to leave for the mountains.

So he was able to help me get the kids picked up and see what all of the commotion was about.

I had told the children that if they were good all week and walked in and out of VBS nicely with me I would let them each take turns sitting on the crocodile and take their pictures. So here is Emma's picture on the crocodile...

Above is a picture of Ryan in the church sanctuary where they were singing songs in a large group.

And of course, Ryan on the crocodile. The kids really loved the program. We purchased the CD of songs that the kids learned during the week and Emma sings along at the top of her lungs.
Now the question remains...to sign them up or not sign them up for VBS #3 in July!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Vacation bible school # 2

The kids have been participating in their second vacation bible school every morning this week from 9:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. at Mt. Horeb United Methodist Church. Well, Ryan and Emma have been attending. Avery just dresses the part.

When I went to purchase the other two kids bible school t-shirts to wear this week, it was obvious Avery wasn't about to be left out. So I picked her up a t-shirt as well and she gets excited about dressing up in her special shirt each morning just like her older brother and sister.

I had to take her picture the other day because she was so mismatched it was funny. Between the green t-shirt, pink shoes, red and white checked bloomers that you can't see in the photo, and red sunglasses that she insists on wearing everywhere, she is always sure to grab a lot of comments everywhere we go.

Each morning while Ryan and Emma are in VBS, Avery and I run all of our needed errands. It has been nice this week being able to get things accomplished without hauling all three kids around. This morning for instance, we were able to return DVDs to Blockbuster, make a library stop, swing by the bank to make a deposit, go over to a gift store for a little shopping and then made our way to the car wash to wash my car and vacuum the inside. Needless to say, she is generally worn out by the time we pick Emma and Ryan up and return home for lunch.

I'm going to miss morning vacation bible school!

Pool days

We finally made it to our neighborhood pool Sunday evening. Between the baby pool being out of commission for awhile, all three of my children being very novice swimmers and me being rather pregnant, it hasn't been a priority for me recently.

Since Michael was home and we had spent a long day out in the sun, a little pool time seemed like a good idea. Emma was very timid in the water and the polar opposite of her sister. Avery kept asking us to let go of her so she "could do it by herself." She just didn't understand the concept that she would more than likely sink than swim if left by herself. The good thing, though, is that she is very comfortable in the water and I am thinking she is going to need swim lessons sooner than later.

I plan on starting Ryan and Emma in swim lessons in the next week or so after we get back from our trip to the mountains. Once they get a few basic swim concepts down maybe I'll feel more comfortable taking them to the pool by myself. Right now three flailing kids in the water (one of which is insistant on swimming alone) is not my idea of pleasant pool time.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Corpus Christi annual church picnic

Every June our church holds their annual church picnic to mark the "Feast of Corpus Christi." There are rides, slides, water, food, karaoke and you can always count on the heat.

Every family is asked to bring a potluck dish to share and hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken, BBQ and drinks are provided.

Here is one view of the slides and rides setup...

And here is a view of the numerous tents and tables set up for people to lounge and eat out of the direct sun.

I believe this is our fourth year attending the picnic (we missed at least one year due to a vacation scheduled during the same time.) It is amazing to me how much it has grown throughout the years. I remember how in awe I was at the first picnic because of the vast amount of food and drinks provided. And then each year they kept adding more...the bouncy houses, the snowcone and popcorn vendors and eventually the rides.

One thing that has remained throughout the years is the swim and sand area pictured above. Of course the little ones love to spend all of their time digging in the sand, placing the sand in the pools set up and getting muddy. So due to the fact that you are going to face a large challenge keeping your children clean, it just makes sense to send them to the picnic in their bathing suits.

Of course our children take full advantage of the all-you-can-eat junk food. Plus it is so darned hot out, you can't help but gravitate towards the icy treats. They each had at least three snow cones during the course of the afternoon.

Ryan isn't so entertained by the water and sand area anymore so he spent most of his time running around, playing in the jump houses and participating in the games.

Here is Emma on the caterpillar ride that is basically like a train that takes the kids around the track a few times.

Even Ryan enjoyed the caterpillar ride. I tried twice to get Avery on the ride, but twice she started crying and insisted on getting off the ride at the last moment.

Snowcone number 2? Or 3?

They also had popcorn...yum!

We all had a nice time, but I must say I am looking forward to NOT being pregnant during the picnic next year. I can't even count how many people commented on how miserable I must be due to my "condition." I find it humorous how many people like to tell their stories of misery during summer pregnancies. What is even more humorous is the fact I used to tell people how much I was looking forward to being pregnant in the summer time. I thought, hotter weather, fewer layers of clothes, the better I would look and feel. Now I get it!