Sunday, December 7, 2014

Operation Christmas Child 2014

This year Operation Christmas Child has grown even bigger here at our home. Once again Robert was the key person of our church's Shoeboxes. Once again the congregation was very generous with their resources and between our Kids Klub packing party and the shoeboxes brought in by individuals we had 218 shoeboxes this year.
The Kids Klub after packing shoeboxes

Robert with part of our shoeboxes at our church

But Robert had set a goal of wanting to go to a distribution center and working there this year. I had thought about it but wasn't sure how that was going to happen. I didn't know how to make the arrangements. But God works in mysterious ways. The night before the registration began, Robert's friend's mother called and invited him (and his parents) to go to the Baltimore Distribution Center with their Church the First Baptist Church of Clarion. Without hesitation Robert said yes (even though it would fall over the first weekend of hunting season!)

Well we just returned this evening from serving at the Baltimore Distribution Center. And what a blessing. We worked checking boxes that they only had appropriate items in them and then taping them shut and boxing them into cartons both Friday and Saturday nights from 5pm- 10pm. We received training upon arrival on Friday night and then went straight to work. The goal for Friday was to check and box at least 40,000 shoeboxes. Well by being the last group of the day we had the privilege of knowing if we had reached the goal- when the packed number was announced we had helped pack 41,954! In one day!!!! When we went back in on Saturday night, we heard that the goal for Saturday was 50,000 shoeboxes. Well once again we were there til the end and when the time came it was announced that we had helped pack 50,116 shoeboxes on Saturday.
Robert entering Distribution Center

Checking boxes for appropriate items

Work station #16

Taping the boxes shut! Ready for cartons

Part of the other work stations

A few more work stations

The young woman from Honduras who had received a shoebox
 This just seemed amazing, but the neat part was hearing from a woman who had received a shoebox when she lived in an orphanage. She was so excited to have her own toothbrush so she didn't have to share with 25 other children and she received a package of 10 pencils. She thought she was rich because the orphanage usually allotted 1 pencil and 1 tablet per child per year. But she had received 10 pencils!!! She was so protective of her pencils that she hid them in the ceiling so no one else would find them and she would always have an extra if she needed it.
Packed cartons ready to load on semi's

Robert and his friend Caleb

The Schick's at
Operation Christmas Child Distribution Center - Baltimore

This just seemed amazing, but the neat part was hearing from a woman who had received a shoebox when she lived in an orphanage. She was so excited to have her own toothbrush so she didn't have to share with 25 other children and she received a package of 10 pencils. She thought she was rich because the orphanage usually allotted 1 pencil and 1 tablet per child per year. But she had received 10 pencils!!! She was so protective of her pencils that she hid them in the ceiling so no one else would find them and she would always have an extra if she needed it.

It's so hard to understand that a simple shoebox with life's basics, that we take for granted, soap, washcloth, toothbrush, toothpaste, schools supplies, can be the tool that will bring salvation to the life of a child and in some cases completely change their lives, from something so simple - as a SHOEBOX!  We were very blessed and humbled this weekend. And once again I am reminded that in the Bible (somewhere I never remember where) it says "and a child shall lead them" and once again Robert has led us on yet another adventure in serving the Lord.

4-H in the Mall

Once again Venango County held it's 4-H in the Mall. Where 4-H clubs from the county set up displays around a theme to promote 4-H and to explain to the general public what 4-H is all about. We currently are involved with 2 small clubs, but both clubs did very well with their displays. Garrett did his first 4-H demonstration about his Woodworking project

Garrett giving his 1st demonstration

Robert giving his demo

 and Robert presented his demonstration for his Money Matters (not certain of that name, but money management) project. The club had a great display about the theme "Join the 4-H Scene in 2015." One club went with a CSI take on the theme and the other club took the Hollywood scene.

That night our outstanding 4-H'ers are announced along with scholarship winners and project book winners. Garrett received his first 2 scholarships which he was very excited about! Robert received several scholarships for 4-H events, 2 project book awards and was named Outstanding Intermediate 4-Her for Venango County.  SO proud of both of their accomplishments!
Outstanding Intermediates
Robert & Emilee

Young Americans back in Knox

The Young Americans program returned to Knox and the Keystone High School in October. The Young Americans is a group of young adults who travel across the US and around the world working with school students in improving their singing, dancing, and performing skills. This year Keystone had 305 students participate from 4th -12th grade. They began on Sunday afternoon, all day on Monday and the a Tuesday afternoon rehearsal and then 2 performances. Robert had the chance to participate once again, but Garrett wasn't quite old enough(maybe next time).

This is an amazing program especially if your children enjoy the performing arts!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Halloween and Halloween Food 2015

Halloween was a little difficult at our house since it fell on the last home football game at the high school, but I think we got everything covered. Robert and Garrett are both big enough to work on their pumpkins on their own with some supervision, so they made their Jack-o-lanterns.

Garrett with his pumpkin

Robert cutting his pumpkin
 Now costumes- well Robert didn't wear one this year but Garrett was Jase from Duck Dynasty. But my niece, Haylee, was Elisa and we made her an Olaf to take with her.

Elisa and Olaf
Now anymore the Halloween dinner seems to be what this group looks for and what ever weird treats I might come up with. This year we had Smurf brains (blue spaghetti with sauce). The night before the 4-H Club asked me to made my weird and wacky snacks for their meeting. So they had used band-aids (graham crackers with icing and strawberry jam) Frankenstein's (Swiss cake rolls with faces) and I think my new favorite pus pockets (cream puffs that you squeeze just a little to get the filling to start coming out).  Even though we were limited on time this year, I think we all had a good time!

Smurf Brains

The Schick's moving

Well the months of September and October were chocked full this year. My in-laws were moving to a retirement center and we helped them pack up everything and helped get them moved. Then what they didn't have room for at their new place they had an auction for and their home was also auctioned. This was bittersweet. Everyone understood the need for them to move to a one level home and we all know it is for the best. At the same time, this was their home for 40 years, the place where their children were raised. The place that they hosted many events, such as birthdays, baptisms, graduations etc.
The crowd at the auction

Auction crowd

The Schick Family

Grandkids hanging out

the final football game here

Monday, October 27, 2014

Garrett's Final Football Game

Following the game, just a "little" wet and muddy!
A week ago Saturday night, we closed the Flag Football season with a very wet, chilly game. It rained the whole way through the game, and it was cold, but that didn't dampen the spirits of the players. Garrett ended up with a touchdown and an extra point reception and his team finished with a win 25-12. It was a great season and the kids learned lots about football fundamentals once again. Thanks to the coaches and those that worked to pull this together!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Simple Fall Decoration

As I watch my niece, she helped decorate my home for fall, but she wanted some decorations for her house too! So she and I began a couple of things for "her house." So our first project was the "Leaf Garland." I had some fun foam leaves in fall colors. So we took those leaves and pieces of colored drinking straws and she strung them on to a piece of yarn. So that she could have a "Leaf Garland"

We did work on a repeating pattern, of leaf -straw-leaf plus we also laid out a color pattern of brown orange green red. This was also a great activity for fine motor skills while she is threading through those holes and straw pieces.

Our supplies

Our completed garland


Monday, October 6, 2014

Beginning of Marching Band Season

Well from the fair we headed right back to school( or so it seemed) and Robert has decided to stick with the marching band for another year (Yeah!) During the annual Horsethief Day celebrations they had the opportunity to show off their new uniforms to the hometown crowd. And they do look sharp! But Robert has grown some which makes it more difficult to pick him out when he is on the field. They are playing "Happy" "Best Days of My Life" and "Let it Go" for a young group with a lot of 7th and 8th graders they are definitely improving. The band has over 75 members this year which is just awesome. After a few games and Homecoming and a joint performance with the Clarion Area Band  it was off to Autumn Leaf Festival last weekend. So here are a few pictures of this first part of the season.
Horsethief Parade

Combined bands with Clarion Area

ALF Parade

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Garrett's Flag Football Season

Garrett has been playing flag football again this year, but his team hasn't been doing really well, but the kids are having fun. Garrett had a touchdown, an extra point and a couple of flags pulled this past Saturday- so the team is improving and they were able to keep it really close the first half, but in the end they lost again.

Yes it got cold for this game!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Summer Wrap up part 2- Venango County Fair

This year the Venango County Fair was open over 2 weekends so we were there a few days longer than last year. This made the schedule a little different, but change is good! We started the week pretty well- Andrew showed his hog first. He did a great job showing and made it for the 2nd round of showmanship! Haylee also showed a pig!

Robert and Jas
Robert and Garrett showed their goats Tuesday evening(first time for an evening show in a very long time) but it seemed to go really well. Robert placed 2nd in his market class and had a very large showmanship class. Garrett entered his goats in the breeding classes. The only problem was that Ellie got too tall for him and her horns were right at Garrett's eye height, so he and Robert traded which goats they were showing. Garrett had Shamrock and Missy (Robert's goat) and Robert showed Jas and Ellie (Garrett's goat).

Garrett and Shamrock

Robert and Jas in Champion Round
Then Andrew was in with his beef project and he showed her very well especially for his first time showing a beef project.

Wednesday afternoon was a big moment for Garrett, it was his last year at the Pedal Tractor pull, he was 8 and that is the cut off. So he and Haylee both participated in the pulls. Unfortunately Garrett didn't pull quite far enough to get the trophy that he wanted. He won 3rd place in the 8 year old division,

Thursday everyone was busy - this was Dairy Day-  Robert had 2 calves, Andrew had 4, Garrett showed one of Robert's and Haylee found one to show too! Robert ended up showing more than just his own animals which was fun to watch him step up to helping others and animals that he might not know as well as his.  Robert received Outstanding Intermediate Showmanship. Andrew won Grand Champion Guernsey and Garrett and Haylee both received blue ribbons in the Pee Wee showmanship.
Robert and Rossi

Andrew and Orion

Haylee with Alabama

Garrett with Rossi

Robert with a Brown Swiss?!?

Andrew with Applejack

Robert with Marion

Thursday ends up being a very long day for the kids because when they are done showing they then have to get ready for the Livestock Auction. Robert and Andrew both did very well with their animals in the sales ring.


Friday was a pretty slow day the kids just waited for the Tractor Pulls. But then Saturday came along and with it came Robert's first Garden Tractor Pull. The first pull was 47ft, but something wasn't quite with the tractor so he is still working on it for next year.
First Weigh-ins

Saturday afternoon was the award ceremony and you can tell that the fair was wearing them out when you make them sit for to long and you find them looking like this...
Champion Intermediate Showmanship Dairy

And the fair closed with a demo derby and then for the first time fireworks. Jimmy was in charge of the kids in their prime seating on top of the ice cream booth.
Jimmy's crew

The boys had other projects besides the animals and they placed on some and not on some others, but it was once again a great family time at the Venango County Fair.
Shoebox Float

Recycled creation

Homemade loom

Small Engine Poster