Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Happy Birthday, Bryce!!

My little guy is 11 years old now!!  Here he is as a baby -- just about a month old . . .

and here he is at almost 11 years old!  This picture was at the blueberry farm on Labor Day weekend.

Where does the time go??  This is a big part of the reason we want to get on the road as soon as we can.  We want to capture these last few years we have with our boys, and spend as much quality time together as we can.

Since getting home on Sunday, we haven't done too much.  Back to school and work for a full week this week -- the boys have tests, book reports, and homework, and Tom and I are busy at work, too.  This weekend, we're having a combined birthday party with Tom's family for Bryce, our niece Kathleen (3 days younger than Bryce), and our nephew Joe (his birthday is a week after Bryce's, but he's 4 years younger).  It should be a nice time -- hopefully we'll have good weather.


Saturday, September 26, 2009

More shopping and dinner with my family

Today we started the day with haircuts for my three guys, followed by showers, and then we rode our bikes into Shipshewana again.  On the way out of the campground, I tried to call my Mom, but that wasn't going to work . . .

No Phone!!  LOL!!  The lady in the campground office said that the phone company came and took the phone away, but the campground wouldn't let them take the booth -- they wanted it for a conversation piece!  We certainly thought it was cool -- Nick and Bryce wanted to know what a phone booth is!! LOL!!

We checked out all the shops in town, had soft pretzels for a mid-day snack, and then headed back to the campground to switch from bikes to the truck to go to the bulk food store.  The bulk store is right next to our campground, close enough to walk, but I knew I was going to be stocking up for winter, so we took the truck.  I love this store -- we bought sugar, flour, oatmeal, dried fruit for the oatmeal, chocolate for making candy at Christmas time, spices, noodles . . . and all kinds of stuff!!  My mom, three of my sisters, my niece and my brother-in-law (the driver!) we in town too, and we crossed paths several times, and then met up at the bulk store.  They followed us back to our camper, so they could see it in person, and then we all went to dinner at Das Dutchmen Essenhaus in Middlebury to celebrate Bryce's upcoming birthday (Tuesday).

Diane and Danny

Mom and Kelly (my niece)

Tom and Sandi

Tom and Bryce

Nicolas (when I finally got him to hold still for a picture!)

We had a great dinner, and were all completely stuffed when we left there!  They all headed back to "Grandma's Lake", and we decided to walk around a bit.  This is a quilt painted on the side of the quit shop

and here's a horse patiently waiting to take somebody for a buggy ride.

We headed back to our campground then, and took another walk with Casey.  There was a foal and a couple of ponies at the fence next to the campground, so we stopped to pet them for a while.  I didn't have my camera, so I didn't get their picture.  A large group of campers near us had started a fire in one of the community firepits, so we joined them for awhile.  I came back to check in on blogs and to do this post, and Tom followed soon after.  We're going to try to get an early start tomorrow, so I'll finish here and get to bed.  Goodnight!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Shipshewana, Indiana

We arrived at Duncan RV Repair, in Elkhart, IN last night around 8:30pm.  Our RV was parked in a site right in front of the office, so we unloaded the truck and got settled in.  We missed "Survivor", but caught most of the premier of "Grey's Anatomy".  Afterwards, we all went to bed, so we could be up bright and early to meet the technician.

We met up with Dave, the technician, first thing in the morning and he reviewed all of our repairs.  Most of them were taken care of, except for a couple of small items.  One big item though -- our landing gear motor that seems to be a bit sluggish -- had still been under review by Newmar, and just before we arrived they finally decided that they would add a 2nd motor so that the 2 landing gear legs worked independently.  We decided that the best course of action would be to bring the RV back on Sunday and leave it here for them to work on again.

We left there around 11:30, and stopped to check out the American Farmer's Market before we headed to Shipshewana for the weekend.

They were having their Harvest Weekend, with

tractor displays

pony rides

and lots of food and music.  We walked through the various vendors' booths and had pretzel dogs for lunch.  We also were able to check our email at a computer walkup station.  Before leaving, the boys just had to have some of "Carol's Confection"  -- delicious fudge -- we bought creamy praline, caramel apple pie, and vanilla -- YUM!

From there we headed over to the Shipshewana Campground - South.  We checked in and took a full hookup, pull-through site for 2 nights.  He gave us site 66, which is a very long pull-through.  It easily fits the RV and truck, with room to spare in the front and the back -- Nicolas was even able to open the dovetail door for a while this afternoon.

We decided to ride bikes into town for a little while, and our first stop was a battery store.  The Amish men working there were very helpful, and offered lots of good information.  They are distributors for Magnum and Iota, who make the inverter and charging system in our RV, and had some good literature that they were able to give us (Tom is studying it right now!).  Nest stop was Eash Sales -- a store that we've never been in before.  They carry a wide range of products -- from gas appliances and fireplaces, to beautiful paintings and statues for your home.  They also have housewares, and we found something that we've been looking for . . .

cast IRON pie irons for the campfire -- we bought 2 - a round one and a square one!  We had an aluminum one, and it is warped so badly that it really doesn't even seal the pies closed anymore.  We've been wanting to get iron ones, and were excited when we found them!

Outside, we checked out their outdoor furniture and playground equipment, and cabins

and then wandered over to find the

PUPPIES -- they were SOoooo cute!  They were so excited to have people around, and just kept wanting to be petted!  We could hardly drag Nicolas away from them!

After spending some time with these puppies, we decided we had better get back to our own puppy . . . and  it was about time for dinner!  After a quick dinner of chicken parmesean (during which we got a little bit of rain), we decided to ride our bikes the other way toward downtown and see if anything was open still.  None of the stores were open, but we heard some action at the Auction Grounds.  We parked our bikes behind the auction Restaurant, and walked around back to find ourselves surrounded by THOUSANDS of Amish . . . it was unbelievable!  It was a huge community fundraising auction to raise money to build a new hospital to study genetic disorders in amish children.  There were silent auctions and live auctions -- animals, furniture, appliances -- everything you could imagine!  I would have loved to have gotten some pictures, but didn't want to offend anybody, so I didn't.  We stood inside the main auction building for awhile, watching the action.  Now, I have to share a story here . . . 20+ years ago, Tom and I bought quite a bit of furniture for our home at one of the big amish stores here in town.  We worked with one of the furniture designers, Myron, and got to know him pretty well.  He eventually left the big store and opened his own shop at his house.  Over the years, we've visited him a few times, and when we needed additional furniture, we went right to him.  Well, I was standing there in this auction building tonight, watching all these amish men carrying furniture onto the stage, and I said to Tom, "That white-haired guy over there looks like Myron."  Tom watched him for a while, and agreed that it did look like him, but what are the chances that it is?  Well, Tom is curious, so he walked up to him and asked him -- and it was him!  We talked for a few minutes, and it turned out that he was the organizer for the whole event and he was pretty busy, so we let him get back to work.  What a coincidence that we would run into him!

It was starting to get dark, so we headed back to the campground.  We had to ride on the main road, which isn't too bad because they have a really wide shoulder for buggies, but you have to watch out for horse droppings!!  We made it back safely, and went inside to watch National Treasure on DVD, and catch up on blogs.

That's it for today -- a pretty full day!  The kids' DVD has ended, and I don't hear any movement in the living room, so I think they both fell asleep -- I'll have to wake them up so they can get ready for bed!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Another Live Writer convert

OK, I can't actually say that I am a convert yet, but I'm giving this Live Writer a try . . . I wonder if it will let me set a different default text size and color?  Hmmm . . . OK, it looks like I have to modify it as I go. 

OK, I watched Mrs. Geek's video tutorial on adding a map, so maybe I'll give that a try here . . .


Our destination for the weekend -- Shipshewana, IN

OK, I've got the map in there, but I'm not sure how to center it . . . and why did my text go back to small???  It's not, you say??  Well, that's because I figured out how to fix it . . .

I've read that several bloggers out there have had trouble with the Picassa Plug-in, so I guess that's the next thing I should try.

Well, I think I downloaded it, but I don't know where it went!

OK, I had to close Live Writer and re-open it again.  Then my Picasa plug-in was there.  Now I'll try to use it to insert a picture.


Well, I inserted this picture from our camping trip in South Haven, and I made it bigger, but I'm not sure how to center it, or add a border like some others do.
OK, there we go . . . it's centered now, and appears to have a border around it, although I'm not sure how it got there! LOL!  I did add "margins" -- maybe that's how I got it there.
Well, overall, I think Live Writer is pretty easy to use . . . I'll keep experimenting with it.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Another busy week

Well, it's been a busy week at school and work, but nothing really exciting. We did buy a pool table that Tom found on craigslist for $30 -- we got it for $28! Good buy!

From Football and Pool Table

The boys, and Tom and I, have been enjoying it ever since!

Yesterday, Tom and I went to a "Homeschooling Highschool" seminar in Midland, MI, which is a couple of hours north of us. It was very informative, and the speaker was great. She is one of the highschool coordinators for the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), and she shared lots of great tips and resources. We learned about selecting the right kind of homeschool philosophy for your kids, finding courses and curriculums, keeping accurate records, and preparing for college. It was a really worthwhile day.

Today, some of the boys' classmates were playing in football games, so we went to watch them. The JV Team (5th & 6th grade - Bryce's friends) gave it a good try, but were defeated 26 - 6.

From 200909_JV football

Bryce had a good time throwing the ball around with some of his friends between the games.

From 200909_Varsity football

The Varsity Team (7th & 8th grade - Nicolas' friends) have abeen having a rough season, but were pretty motivated today.

From 200909_Varsity football

The score was 0 -0 into the 4th quarter, but then the other team scored a touchdown and missed the extra point, so they were ahead 6 -0. We thought it was going to be a loss again, but the Saints manged to take possession of the ball with 55 seconds on the clock and scored a touchdown just as the clock went to zero! They made the field goal and won the game, 8 - 6. They were very happy, and so were the moms -- who made a "tunnel" for the winning team to run through!

From 200909_Varsity football

One of the dads really got into his job of selling 50-50 tickets!!

From 200909_Varsity football

Nicolas and his friends after the game.

From 200909_Varsity football

After the games, we headed home for an early dinner, and then took Casey out for a walk. Tomorrow, we go back to school and work. I wish we were in Texas with the RV-Dreamers, but . . . at least we're going camping next weekend. Our last trip for this year -- sad!! OK, I'm going to watch the end of King Kong on tv, and then I'm headed to bed!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Where did the week go???

We got off to a little bit slower of a start on Tuesday than we wanted to, and it was 10am by the time we rolled out of the Sunnybrook RV Resort. That got us to Duncan RV Repair around 11:30am (I wanted to be there by 10!! Oh well . . . ). We checked in, itemized the items we needed looked at, and were ready to meet with the Technician to go over everything . . . just as he left for lunch! LOL Our timing was just great! Oh, well, that gave us time to get parked in a spot, un-hitch the truck, and moved our stuff that was going home from the RV to the truck bed. It was threatening rain, but everything (with the exception of Casey in her crate) fit under the tonneau cover. Hopefully the rain would hold off, and she wouldn't get too wet!

Ron returned from lunch just as we finished up, and we went through our list with him. We were out of there around 1:45. Now, the boys were supposed to have their last golf lesson at 5pm, but it was raining at home and we would have to really push it to make it there on time. So, we decided to call and re-schedule their lesson, and we had a leisurely lunch-dinner in Shipshewana at the Blue Gate Restaurant. YUM!

We got home around 7pm, still stuffed from our lunch/dinner, and got the truck unloaded. I started laundry while the boys took care of some homework, and we all tried to get to bed early. We were still very tired on Wednesday, as we got back into the routine of work and school . . . and I'm not sure where the rest of the week went!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day Weekend comes to an end

Today we started the day with the reward of our labors yesterday

From 200909_South Haven

blueberry pancakes!

They were delicious, and we were all stuffed and ready for the day! Most of the campground, including our friends, were packing up and getting ready to go home. Public schools in Michigan start school tomorrow, so everybody with kids needed to get home. Since ours have already been in school for 2 weeks, we didn't feel too bad about having them miss a day. We're staying the extra night so we can drop the RV back off at Duncan RV Repair in Elkhart to finish up the warranty items we've found.
We were on our own today, so we headed into South Haven to the beach!

From 200909_South Haven

From 200909_South Haven

It was a beautiful day, and lots of people were enjoying one last day at the beach! Tom and Bryce were trying to dig to China - but they didn't get too far before they gave up and went for a swim! LOL

From 200909_South Haven

From 200909_South Haven

After a few hours in the sun, we packed up and headed back to the campground. Bryce wanted to swim in the "warm" water of the pool, so we went there for awhile, and then took showers in the bath house before returning to the RV for dinner of BBQ chicken and rice pilaf. We went ffor a walk after dinner, and stopped to check out the other X-Aire. It's a nice one, too, and Tom learned a few things to check out on ours. We had a little bit of wood left, so the boys got a fire started and we joined them to make pies and roast marshmallows before calling it an early night.

We're headed out early tomorrow, so we can get the RV dropped off and get home in time for the boys' last golf lesson at 5pm. It'll be a quick day!!

Fishing, blueberries and ice cream!

Saturday was a pretty relaxing day for us. Tom and the boys went fishing in the catch-and-release pond in the campground, while I caught up on reading blogs and posting on ours. When I finished, Casey and I joined them at the pond. Bryce was having great luck, while Nicolas was struggling a bit, but they were both having fun.

From 200909_South Haven

From 200909_South Haven

Then, Nicolas started catching a few also, and things got even better. Bryce ended up with a count of 20 fish caught (not sure how many were repeats -- LOL), and Nicolas snagged 8!

From 200909_South Haven

When they ran out of worms, and Casey tired of trying to catch the little fishies herself, we headed back to the camper for lunch, and then to the pool for the afternoon. After a few hours at the pool, we had burgers and corn for dinner followed by samores at the fire . . . and an ealier night!

On Sunday, we went to 9:30 mass at St. Basil in South Haven, and then stopped off at Speedway to fill up the truck for the ride home, and at Wally World to pick up some milk, bread and cereal. Back at the campground, we headed to the pool with our friends where Tom and the boys, along with a half dozen other men and boys, enjoyed a rowdy game of "keep-away" with a little water ball -- it kept them entertained for over 2 hours, and surprisingly didn't bother any of the other swimmers! Later in the afternoon, we all decided to go pick blueberries at a local farm.

From 200909_South Haven

From 200909_South Haven

From 200909_South Haven

The boys love blueberries and had a blast picking them -- and eating them! The four of us picked a total of 9 lbs. of blueberries -- I guess I'll be freezing a few when we get home! We couldn't compare to our friends though -- with each of their families picking almost 16 lbs. each!

From 200909_South Haven

From 200909_South Haven

From 200909_South Haven

After blueberry picking, we stopped at a local dairy down the road to have ice cream cones -- the line when we arrived was unbelievable!

From 200909_South Haven

From 200909_South Haven

From 200909_South Haven

Once we had our cones, we could understand why the line was so long -- YUM!!

From 200909_South Haven

That pretty much filled us up for the day, so we opted not to cook dinner, and instead had pizza pies and hot dogs on the fire. We stayed out at the fire for awhile, but not too late. Bryce got marshmallow in his hair, so he and I left to go back to our camper and wash it out -- LOL.