Thursday, May 28, 2015

A Trip to Hershey

We’ve been to Hershey quite a few times since we’ve lived in Pennsylvania.  We’ve visited Hersheypark a handful of times, Chocolate World, and the Giant Center for Frozen on Ice.

Last weekend we had a friend staying with us, and we decided to drive down to Hershey to visit some attractions that we hadn’t seen before.

Our first stop was The Chocolate Story.  This was a museum dedicated to the life and history of Milton Hershey and the Hershey empire.

We started downstairs learning what it was like to work in the Hershey factory in the early 1900s.  We got to train for different jobs, and were then assigned a job and pay once we went through all of our training.  I was assigned the job of chocolate wrapper, and I earned $0.10 for every 5 pounds I wrapped.  I probably also earned arthritis too….


Charlotte was so excited that she was able to move the heavy bathtub by herself.  Girlfriend is STRONG!

The upstairs portion of the museum chronologically took us through the history of the Hershey company and Milton Hershey’s life.  The kids were given “I Spy” cards, and had a blast searching for the items throughout the second floor.

And of course the museum had plenty of chocolaty goodies available for purchase…

Next we visited Hershey Gardens.  The gardens sit on 23 acres across the road from Hotel Hershey on a hill overlooking Hersheypark.

Of course our first stop in the gardens had to be the children’s garden and the butterfly house exhibit.  This was Trenton and Charlotte’s favorite place.  They loved finding all of the butterflies, and were even able to distinguish between moths and butterflies without my help.

We saw so many beautiful flowers throughout the gardens.  Trenton and Charlotte loved being able to run in the wide open spaces.  And Evelyn was worn out from eating chocolate at the museum…

Charlotte was also really excited that there was a wedding going on in the gardens.  Of course, she wanted to crash it, but we stayed far away.  We did pass the bride on a walkway before the ceremony though and she was happy about that.

We visited the botanical gardens in Norfolk a few times while we lived in Virginia, and the place was HUGE!  We’re talking like – you have to take a tram to get around that place.  The children’s garden in Norfolk had tons of play areas and water features. 

Hershey Gardens wasn’t near as large, and didn’t have as nice of a children’s garden as Norfolk did, but for its size, Hershey Gardens was really nice.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Back in the Saddle Again

As many of you know, Trenton took a bad fall on his bike the day after Easter. 

He was across the street playing with friends.  He rode his bike down their driveway (which is steeper than our driveway), and was going to turn to get on the sidewalk from the driveway.  Except he didn’t make his turn sharp enough.  He went through the grass between the sidewalk and the road, narrowly missing a mailbox, hit the curb, and went flying into the road.

Trenton had a big gash in his right knee, and his other leg, arms, and face were all scraped up.  He wound up needing two stitches in his knee.

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And he hit the road so hard that it bent the handlebar shaft on his bike.  He was very lucky that he wasn’t hurt worse than he was.

I think Trenton probably would have gotten back on his bike as soon as those stitches came out of his knee, but we weren’t going to let him ride a bent up bike.

Last week Jarrod and Trenton went to a local bike shop, and Trenton picked out a new bike.  The bike shop assembled it, and it was ready to go the next day.  And Trenton couldn’t wait to get on it!


I’m so happy that my little guy wasn’t scared of jumping right back in the saddle!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Charlotte’s Stage Debut

Charlotte made her stage debut yesterday afternoon at her spring dance recital!

Some of you may remember that Charlotte took ballet for a few months while we were in California, but it was a monthly class where they started over and learned the same thing from the beginning each month.  So she only did a few months of that.

This year, when Charlotte said that she wanted to be in ballet, I found a studio that offered classes for the whole school year, ending with a recital.

I didn’t know how Charlotte would do up on stage in front of an auditorium full of people.  I took her to dress rehearsal Friday evening, and she came off of that stage beaming!  She couldn’t wait to get back up there on Saturday!

We split up yesterday for the recital.  Charlotte’s dance wasn’t until after intermission.  She and I went to watch the first half of the recital with her dressed in her costume with one of my shirts over it.  Charlotte got to watch one of her friends and her teacher dance.  She loved it.

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Jarrod, Trenton, and Evelyn left a little later, went to a flower shop, and then dropped Evelyn off with a friend (there’s NO way she would have sat through even part of the recital!).  Jarrod and Trenton got to the recital a little before intermission – right about the time Charlotte and I were leaving our seats to go to the bathroom one last time before going back to the dressing room to await her dance.

Jarrod, Trenton, and I only had to wait a few dances after intermission before we got to see our little ballerina up on that stage.  She danced to Bippity Boppity Boo and totally rocked it!

Then it was back to the dressing room to hang out until the finale.  The finale was to Pump Up the Jam, and the girls (and a couple boys) took turns coming out on the stage.  It was so cute! 

After waiting in line to pick Charlotte up from the dressing room, Charlotte was excited that in addition to the flower that her dance teacher gave her, she also got flowers from Trenton (who I didn’t get a picture of) and Daddy!

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And she’s already asking when she can dance in another recital!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Fiesta Slaw

So I have never been a fan of coleslaw.  I remember eating it a few times with my grandpa, a big Church’s Fried Chicken fan, when I was really little, but other than that, I’ve never liked it.

Enter my Aunt Rose Anne.  Seriously, my aunt does not know how to make food that doesn’t taste good.  I always make it a point to try whatever food she makes.  We were back home for Christmas three years ago, and she made some Asian Slaw that was really good.  Then we were back home again that summer, and she brought Fiesta Slaw to a family pool party.  And I went back for seconds.  And thirds.

Y’all, this stuff is good! 

Fiesta Slaw

So, I thought I’d share the recipe here with all of you so that you can enjoy the yumminess.  It’s a great dish for backyard BBQs.

Fiesta Slaw:
1 pkg. coleslaw
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can sweet corn, drained
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/3 purple onion, diced
1 fresh jalapeno, diced
1 small can sliced ripe olives
1/2 bunch cilantro

Put all slaw ingredients in a gallon ziplock bag and set aside.

3/4 c. mayonnaise or Greek yogurt
1 T. red wine vinegar
1 to 1-1/2 Tbsp raw cane sugar
1/4 tsp cumin
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all dressing ingredients together in a bowl and pour into the slaw filled ziplock.  Close the ziplock and shake to mix.  Pour slaw into a serving bowl.  Serve with crushed tortilla chips or tortilla strips on top.

Fiesta Slaw

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Kids’ Reactions

Trenton and Charlotte were pretty excited when we told them our big news on Sunday.


Evelyn was too busy doing her own thing, as usual, to pay much attention to what was going on.

Once the kids got over their initial excitement, this is what thought about having a new baby on the way.


He told everyone the news right away when he got to school on Monday.  He’s also started teaching the baby his/her ABCs.  But…he also said that if it’s another girl, he’s going to lock himself in his room…

Charlotte couldn’t wait to call family when we got home from our picnic lunch to spread the news.  But she’s been a little more shy about spreading the news at school.  She also said a prayer about the baby the other day:
In the name of the Father,
and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit.
Dear God,
Can you please make the baby in Mommy’s tummy grow a little faster so that I can feel it move when I tickle Mommy’s belly?  Thanks!
In the name of the Father,
and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit.

I don’t think she’s quite ready to give up being the baby of the family….


Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mother’s Day News

Children are blessings

Spring Pictures

to love and adore.

Spring Pictures

Right now we have three.

Spring Pictures

…..But soon we’ll have four!

Announcing Baby #4

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Dirty Girl Mud Run 2015

On Saturday, Jarrod, the kids, and I all loaded up into the car to drive up to Scranton so that I could run in the Dirty Girl Mud Run 5K with some friends.


It was my first mud run, and it was a blast!


Most of the course wasn’t very conducive to actually running, but that didn’t mean that it wasn’t a good workout.  Some of those obstacles were pretty hard!


There was a giant pyramid to climb over, big inflatable balls to run/push through, multiple mud pits, a giant slip & slide, rope spider webs, rope ladders, plastic corrugated pipes to crawl through, and fire to jump over.  Let me tell ya, jumping over fire give you some definite street cred with your kids! 

Trenton and Charlotte weren’t all that enthused before the race started about the fact that they were only going to be able to watch the race and not run in it.  But they had a couple of friends to watch with, and they really had a lot of fun yelling for us whenever we passed by.  At the top of their lungs, of course.  And after the race, they were all armed with silly string to shoot at us!


Evelyn apparently did not like being separated from Mommy during the time it took us to run the race.  She didn’t mind one bit that Mommy was crazy dirty and came right to me after the race.


Jarrod and the other two kids did not give me hugs until I had rinsed off and changed clothes though….

I had so much fun in the Dirty Girl Mud Run!  We could not have asked for nicer weather.  And while I did fall in the mud back-first (on more than one occasion), I managed to not fall face first or get thrown down in the mud pits.  So that’s why the front of my shirt stayed pretty clean comparatively speaking.  


I was in bed asleep by 8:15 Saturday night, but the exhaustion was truly worth it.  I can’t wait for next year’s mud run!