Thursday, December 26, 2013

Venango County Conservation Hall of Fame

We were honored to be able to attend an awards presentation program for my Father-in-law, where he was inducted into the Venango County Conservation Hall of Fame. He was recognized for his years of service of teaching the 6th graders through a Conservation Camp that he began in 19709 and the camp continues today. This program has brought the outdoors to hundred of youth in our area and an understanding of how to care for our environment and how to appreciate what we have been given.  To be able to develop a program where youth are taken to the outdoors and getting them out of the classroom has been an exciting event at the school. To be able to teach the children in a hands-on way, makes it more real and important to the students.
 Congratulations Ed Schick!

The world is a better place because of your work! Thanks

Operation Christmas Child

I know that I have already posted about Operation Christmas Child, but I just wanted to share that our church reached Robert's goal of 200 actually the surpassed that goal and turned in 225 shoeboxes that will change a child's life somewhere in the world. We turned these boxes in during Collection Week towards the end of November, but I am just now getting time to sit and blog like I like to do.  Here is how the boxes were presented in our church before moving along to the next destination. So here is our "Operation Christmas Child Christmas Tree" with the shoeboxes from our church.
Merry Christmas and please continue to pray for the boxes as they are being sent around the world and for the children who will receive them, may they change their lives!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Clarion County Music Festival

Robert was selected to participate in the County Band Festival. He had a good time during rehearsal and the day out of school.  Here is the program, but they didn't perform the songs in this order and the director decided that he wasn't happy with the 1812 Overture and so they didn't perform it. The performance was very good  and I wish this would load the videos that I took of the performance, but for some reason the video won't load :(

Children's Sermon- What is Advent

To begin the Advent season, I had the Children's sermon. I was torn as to do I discuss "hope"- which is what the first candle represented or do I discuss "Advent." After some prayer and thinking things through, I decided "Advent."
So I asked the children what that wreath was called that they lite those specials candles on was called- one child came up with "Advent wreath" so I then asked "-okay but what does that mean? We have the Advent wreath, the advent calendar, the advent season, but what does that mean???" They looked at me with blank stares. So I asked if any of them were the big brother or sister in their families and they raised their hands. "So do any of you remember what you did before your younger brother or sister came along or maybe what your parents did before the arrival?" I got cleaned and paid attention to me. "Cleaned- exactly they cleaned the house because who wants a dirty house with a brand new baby? and did they get a room ready? Did they maybe paint the room, get a crib and furniture? So they got ready for the baby. Hmm What happens at the end of this month? "Christmas!!!" Right and that's who's birthday? So what should we be doing? Getting ready for a baby?!?! YES- Advent means to prepare or get ready for Jesus. Now does Jesus really care if our houses are clean and perfect or does he care about our hearts and minds being clean and focusing on him? Right - he wants us to focus on him. So throughout this month, when you hear the word Advent, I want you to think "get ready because Jesus is coming" and I want you to take a little extra time thinking about, talking about Jesus and his story of coming to the world as a baby.

I then shared that we had Advent Calendars available in the entry for families that didn't have an Advent Calendar and that there were Advent devotionals
available for the adults. And we closed in prayer.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Thanksgiving ideas and activities

As November starts our family has a tradition that helps us slow done and focus on the things that we are thankful for. We start with the overhead projector and enlarge a Thanksgiving picture, this year it is a Cornucopia, that we trace out and then post on the wall in the kitchen- when we get a chance we can stop and color in part of our picture. But each evening when we have dinner, we try really hard to sit down as a family and during dinner we take turns listing something/ someone that we are thankful for and it is added to our picture that come Thanksgiving will be completed. 

Robert has also led our family to be involved with Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes. He has lead our church to packing over 200 shoeboxes this year, but it helps us focus on something other than the things that we need but rather the simple thing that others might not have and how we can help provide those to others.  It makes us think a little bit about all the little things that we have- soap, wash clothes and running hot water. Pencils, paper and eraser- schools and books and soo much more, but it helps us be more thankful for what we do have.

If you are interested in Operation Christmas Child here is the link to the website to get you started

Some of the boxes that our churches youth packed for Operation Christmas Child


Halloween as the boys are growing up has changed a little bit. This year it wasn't that much about the costumes. Garrett was the only on that was allowed to dress up at school for Halloween, and he decided that for school, he was just going to be a flag football player. That was pretty simple and he pulled together his costume- no help from me. For the community party he had a Knight costume from VBS this summer that he wanted to wear again. Robert as a 7th grader only need a costume for the Community Halloween Party so he decided that he would be a cowboy- that was simple too. My nephew had his all figured out- he was going to be "Uncle Si" and then there was my niece- she was going to be a pig one day and then a lion. I had the lion costume in the attic, but when we tried it on she was too tall so back to the pig. My sister had a fun foam pig visor and then pink shirt and pants all I needed to help with was the tail. Here's how they turned out...


Uncle Si

Little Piggy
The Cowboy

The Knight

 Since the kids took care of their costumes, I got to play with their food and help with the 4-H Clubs Halloween dinner. We had the following...

"Red Wiggler Sandwiches"

"Boogers and scabs"

"Baby Pooh"

"Brain and Brain Serum"


"Brittle Bones"

"Dog Food"

All of the food was real food with weird names, but it freaked out kids and adults just because of the names. But we had a great time!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Video posts of Marching Band

There are a couple of video clips of the Keystone Marching Band- they did well this season!!!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Robert's Marching Band Season

As of last night, Robert's first Marching Band Season is in the books.  The band marched in the Horsethief Parade, Kenneywood, Clarion County Marching Band Festival, Autumn Leaf Parade and for all the football games except for the 2 that are the furthest away. They played songs from the Beatles. They learned that working together and playing music can be a lot of fun and a lot of work.  They became a team that worked together- most of the time:) Photos are from the end of the season to the beginning
A beanie hat under his uniform hat- it was cold for the last game

Last Games performance

Last games' performance

Autumn Leaf Parade

Autumn Leaf Parade

Autumn Leaf Parade

Garrett's Flag Football Season

Last weekend, Garrett's Flag Football season came to a conclusion as a player on an undefeated team!!!! We had a great Flag Football season with warm games and only 1 game cancelled due to rain(It poured that weekend!), but we were able to make it up later that week. Last Weekends game was under the lights at the high school field and it was raining and windy for the K-2nd grade game, but the kids played well and it was a close game. Garrett got to serve as captain at the final "Championship" game. Garrett had some great games with several catches for touchdowns and a couple of runs for touchdowns and he was getting really good at pulling flags.
Tuck and Run!

It's mine!!!

I've got an open field

Drew and Garrett as Captains

Garrett is the one on the left and he has the ball.
Thank to the great coaches, Josh & Andy!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Apples/ cider - children's sermon

This children's sermon was a little bit different, but it is what I was led to talk to the children about.  I took in my bag with a hand crank apple peeler, an apple, a cutting board and a picture of a cider press.

After greeting the children I began by pulling an apple from the bag and asking how many liked to eat apples- which most of them, of course, liked apples. But I asked if there was something that was made from apples that they might like better than just a plain apple. To this the children answered- apple pie, apple juice.... I had 1 little one who said "no- I just like apples." Well I then asked the adults if any of them liked apple pies, apple cider, apple crisp or apple dumplings better than a plain apple. As I mentioned the items the adults were raising their hands and agreeing that these other apple items were better than a plain apple. I then explained that we don't just get an apple pie from a whole apple. The apple needed to change a little bit. So I pulled out the apple peeler and asked if any of them knew what this thing even was- few had ever seen such a contraption. I set it up on a stool and showed them how to place the apple on the peeler and had 1 little boy come and peel the apple for me. As he was peeling, I asked what the apple was feeling. The kids answered -"ouchy",  and "pain", but I explained that it might be feeling pressure. The pressure of the sharp edge cutting off the skin- it takes pressure to take that skin off.

Then I pulled out my picture of the cider press. And I explained that when this machine worked that the apples would feel the pressure of the chopper when it was cut or ground into little pieces, but then it felt the pressure of the plate when it was squeezed.

But what do apples under pressure have to do with anything? Well here is what I shared, that in James 1:2 it says "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of you faith develops perseverance."

So what does that mean? What is a trial? Well a trial is a problem - so the Bible is saying "Be happy if you have problems?" Yep "Because God is making you better once the problems are over." This is much like the apple- The plain apple is good, but after pressure or some trouble- most would look at an apple pie or apple cider as much better than a plain apple.

This is much like things at school. Maybe you are having problems with spelling and you are feeling the pressure of trying to learn those words. Well that pressure will make you a much better speller and will save you time from having to look up those words. OR maybe you are learning you math facts- the pressure to learn those will make a world of difference when you are adding or figure numbers out.  Not all pressure is good- sometimes we have pressure to do things that are wrong, and this is pressure that we want to stay away from. But the good pressure is where God will work to make us more like he wants us to be. And we closed in prayer.

Upromise - FREE MONEY!

Shortly after Robert was born Upromise came out (or at least that's when I heard about it). I signed up and haven't really touched the account on a regular basis. okay I probably haven't touched it in 7 years since Garrett wasn't even registered until recently. But what an opportunity for saving money for college or furthering your education.

All you need to do is set up an account, then register your shopping discount cards, credit cards, etc. and they will give you money!!! A percentage of your purchases. You can also shop through Upromise, and get additional store credits to your account. It's just about as close to free money as you are going to get!! Check it out-

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Corn Silage Season- ag minute

The corn has grown very well this summer and now it is time to get it harvested and into the silos. Since we are making corn silage, we will be chopping the corn stalks and corn cobs into small pieces and blowing it into the wagon. When the wagon is unloaded it is again blown into the top of the silo, where it is stored until it is ready to be used as feed for the cows.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

PA Jr. Dairy Show and All American Showmanship Show

Last weekend, we traveled to Harrisburg for Robert to show is red and white Holstein heifer one more time.  okay 2 more times. Robert qualified to take her in July and has been working with her all summer. On Saturday morning into the ring he went and there were 18 other heifer against his. He started out in 5th, but the judge did notice her faults, and she dropped to 9th. But to be in the top 10 in the state in the 4-H program is AWESOME!!!!  More importantly, he received a Master Showman- which is where they are judging his ability to show his animal. 

Sunday morning he entered the ring against 150 other intermediate youth from 14 states, in the All American Jr. Showmanship contest. There were 9 heats in his age bracket and unfortunately he didn't move up to the 2nd round, but he did do a fabulous job - there were just others that did better.

Robert in 9th place

Robert & Endear

Robert and Endear in the showmanship contest

My nephew Andrew also qualified for the state show with his Guernsey heifer. He also showed in both shows. Andrew received 8th place in his 4-H class and then he was in the Jr division on Sunday morning and competed against about 150 other youth. He didn't move up in the heat either, but both boys did a good job and were willing to step up and take on a National Show and that is pretty cool all by itself!

Andrew and Orion

Andrew in the ring for showmanship

Sorting simple colors

I am currently babysitting my niece who is 3 years old. She and I have been doing all sorts of activities together. But today she requested playing a simple game that I had given her 2 weeks ago.  So since she asked for it, I decided to share it here. I have a large jar of glass beads of all different colors. We took 4 plastic cups from the cupboard and assigned a glass bead color to each cup just by laying them in front. Then we took a handful and let her sort those shiny glass beads into the cups. Nothing fancy and nothing expensive, but tons of learning. The hand-eye coordination, the color and shape matching and it was SO simple and quick.

After she had everything sorted we did check each cup to make sure that the colors were all the same. We also counted how many beads were in each cup. Next time maybe we will count and talk about which one has more...  This kept her busy for 10-15 minutes, not bad for no prep time.

Friday, September 13, 2013

50th Anniversary

We had the opportunity to recently celebrate my in-law's 50th wedding anniversary. We had a small gathering at Laura Ann's home in Irwin and family and very close friends were invited. It turned out to be a great afternoon. Brian and Tammy were able to make it for the weekend, much to Ed & Joan's surprise. But our family is so blessed to have that sort of example set before us and for our children to see that marriages really can make it through thick and thin. Hoping that Gary and I might see 50 years, but at this point we'll celebrate our 13 years and each day together!

Happy 50th Ed & Joan!!!

Brian's surprise arrival

Tammy's surprise arrival

Best man, groom, bride and maid of honor (wearing her dress from 1963)
Celebrating 50 years