Thursday, October 20, 2016

Wow It's Mid October Already!

So again we are way behind in keeping everyone aware of what is happening here in the Bull family so get ready to speed read your way through a quick what is going on here this fall.

Fall started out very slowing with the changing of the colors not taking place till mid October.  When they finally got here they were beautiful as could be though.  This photo does not do justice to all the beauty we had here.  I always feel bad for anyone who does not get to experience the beauty of fall, I would just go outside and smile with all the amazing colors that would show up each day.  Then poof just like that the wind came (with some force) and the leaves were almost all gone.  Mother Nature sure is an amazing thing.

But if you know anything about fall foliage in Upstate NY then you will know it requires a nice freezing frost to get all those vibrant colors to happen and with that cold freeze something else we did not want to happen ended up happening.  Our poor turkeys started to die.  We were on a one a rate death toll :(  We were finally left with just one and that is the one that was always bigger then the others so we were hoping for great things with this one but in a weeks time it too had passed away. 
The oldest Daughter was quite upset as the Turkeys were her choice in critters and she really did love them.  Thankfully our kids have adjusted to having to deal with the loss of animals and she did over come it and is already planning next years try again at turkeys.  And as much as I worried about them being nasty and mean as everyone had told me they would be they were not.  As you see this one is literally waiting at our front door for me to come out so they could follow me around.  They were like our little shadows and I think we will all miss them.

Turkeys were not our only loss in critters so far this fall.  We had pigs that have since become dinner and we had meat bird chickens which have also joined the pigs in the freezer.  But one unexpected set of critter deaths came in the form of 10 ducklings.  Yes ducklings in fall, one this springs duckling apparently grew up quite fast and managed to hatch our 10 ducks in October!?!  Not good timing for babies to born where we live but we were going to let her try to raise them.  By no means was she not trying to raise them as their death was not her fault.  When we first discovered the dead ones (at 1day old) we assumed a weasel or something had attacked them in the night as they all had the same damage by the neck area.  We were able to get two of them back to good health and back to their mom to try again but unfortunately for them they did not survive either.  These two were also attacked but this time as the last one was being destroyed the Hubby happened to be close enough to see our other lone male duck attacking them and they were just too tiny to survive.

All of this means one thing we are going to be heading into winter very soon.  The death of the critters is sad but on the other hand it is just the same as last year with just our chickens, goats and 3 adult ducks so perhaps next year will turn out better for an increase of critters here?


Sunday, August 7, 2016

June the last weeks in a nut shell

And the school year is over already as is the entire month of June is almost over already (at the time this blog was started).  I know this pages started out being a "week" in review but the name has since been changed and hopefully just by being a "review" page I can update it more. lol

These last few weeks started off with Father's Day, the kids made the Hubby a ton of gifts and cards, we bought him a few small gifts  and showered him with love.  No we did not spend the day totally devoted to the Hubby, not that we didn't want to but because like every other Sunday the Hubby got up and went to work.  Stinks that he had to work on such a special day but he works every Sunday and he is used to it so we try to spend extra time together on Saturday to make up for it.   When the Hubby got home we went to my Dad's for a BBQ with the family.   And of course since Grandma's pool is bigger and deeper then ours the kids spent the evening swimming, we had to about drag them from the pool to go home they were having so much fun with their cousin.
It might not have been a day of relaxing or gifts of ugly neck ties but I think the Hubby and my dad both had a great Father's Day full of love from their family.

Monday was the last day of school for the year, the kids didn't like the fact that they had to get up early on a Monday for what was only going to be a half day of school but we dragged them to the bus stop one last time for the year.  Today was not really an actual "school day" as thier Awards and Music Assembly started at 9am and they could go home once it was over.  We enjoyed their singing I'm sure more then they enjoyed preforming it and we were blessed enough to have two of them get the Academic Excellence Award for their class.  I can't deny the fact the I felt a little prouder then all the moms there with 2 of my kids in line on the stage for the "smart kid" award.
The last day of school is great for the kids but the fun really started after the assembly when they got out of school.  Not just because they didnt' have to go back again but because we were taking them for what has become our traditional "family fun day".  This fun day tradition started out with an ice cream cone and a trip to the river when the Oldest Daughter graduated Pre-K and has grown more every year.  This year we went to the Ross Park Zoo and then the Discovery Center.  Check out my Last Day Of School post to see all the fun we had.

Tuesday was another get up and go early day.  No the kids were not impressed at all not to be sleeping in on the first day of Summer Vactaion.  Even though I did let them sleep in a little later then a normal school day it was not as late as they wanted I'm sure.  That's because we were heading Strawberrry Picking with Grandma and she was going to be here by 9am so everything (kids ready, housework done, animals fed, garden watered and more) had to be done so we could leave when she got here or we would be roasting in the sun in the hottest part of the day.  With all the sun from the zoo and all the outdoor play the day before I was already looking a bit surnburned and I wasn't really liking the idea of adding to it.  Thankfully the sun wasn't to bad on us and we were able to get our berries and be home in time for a late lunch.  It was a nice light lunch too as I'm sure we ate berries enough to make up the difference.  We came home with ove 8quarts of berries and are down to about 2quarts left.  Tomorrow I will take what ever is left and freeze them for later use as the kids have slowed down eating them and I sure as heck am not going to let them go bad.

Wednesday was a relax day and enjoy summer vacation for the kids kind of day finally.  I did all the regular and mowed the lawn but that was about it.  The kids enjoyed sleeping in, playing and relaxing in the pool, just like summer vacation should be.  Then the Big Guy realized he was way outnumbered with the boy to girl ratio and was "Bored"....UGH, not already, vacation just started...
...What do boys like the do, the girls were having fun with each other doing girly things and giggling but he needed to do fun things too and what they girls were doing was not "fun" as he put it.....Ah Ha!  A saw I remember summers with my bothers just cutting and chopping trees all the time and making forts like we were making our own towns so I'm sure the Big Guy would love it too.  I dug out an old hand saw, gave him a quick lesson in using it of which he informed me he already knew and let him cut all the trees he wanted.  He was loving it!  He sawed and sawed the rest of the day, he was having so much fun that the girls decided they wanted to join it....He had not intention of allowing them into his "manlyness" of the fort he was working on but finally gave in and let them help when they offered to do all the "clean up" work.  Although they were only adding branches to an old leanto that I built for them a few years ago they were having a great time and thats what summer vacation should be like, kids having fun......

.....Which leads us right to Thursday (the Hubby's day off) and more "fort building".  This fort however is a bit more then a few leaned up branches on an old rotting leanto.  Think the Hubby was quite enjoying the Big Guy wanting a fort as all other plans for the day were put on hold and a "Real" fort was constructed.  The Big Guy couldn't be happier, he has an above ground, in the trees fort with a ladder, hiding areas and it even comes with a working catapult and target area for his BB Gun paracticing.....Thats pretty much where he spent his time the last few days and I'm sure most of the summer will be spent there too.

Friday was a "Girls Day" and also grocery shopping day, note to self do not take girls when grocery shopping as you forget lots of stuff.  We did have a great time though and I really enjoy their craziness and questions they normally don't ask when everyone else is around.  I'm sure while we were gone the boys probably played, I mean worked on the fort and had to go get animal feed so they had a good time together too.....Maybe we should make it a Friday tradition of Girls and Guys day.
Friday was also graduation night at the school, the kids went to Aunt Bobbies to play while the Hubby and I went to support the great achievement by one of our very good freind's son.  Gongrats Gannon and may the future only hold great thing for you!  We didn't take the kids as it would have been way too boring for a 7yr old to sit though till almost 10pm and I'm sure they enjoyed cathing fireflies and being able to run and playing outside much more than they would have just sitting in bleachers for over an hour.

Saturday already, wow where did the week go?  Time to work on fixing (or starting to fix) the camper floor in the bathroom.....this is not going to be a quick fix but definitely needed doing, I'm not even sure what was holding the floor in there, maybe the toilet or the walls?  Its going to take bit of work is all I know and to think I'm planning a trip in the very near futre???  We will see?
We didn't have much time to work on the camper as my little brother is cutting hay this time of year so we were off to help for the day, well not me and the kids but the Hubby helped.  The kids don't know the first thing about hay other then the goats eat it and although the Big Guy wanted to stay in the field when we got there I'm still a little nervous letting him do that kind of stuff.  I know they need to grow up some day but I'm keeping them kids as long as possible.  Plue the kids all have allergies out of control so hay is probably the last thing I think they should do right now.  As for me I'm still injured (sholder is bad still...ugh!) so lugging on bales of hay is not happening till it gets a bit better....But we all had fun, the Hubby actually likes helping do the hay as it reminds him of his youth and we had fun at Grandma's playing in the pool, enjoying the company and just relaxing.

The last week of June is sort of a blur now as I type its already August.....I know I'm bad but I do remember that we were busy every day so far this summer so I'm sure this week was no exception.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Flag Retiring Ceremony

I was at the school one day when one the local Girl Scout troop leaders approached me and asked if our 4-H Club would be interested in participating in a Flag Retiring Ceremony with her troop and the Legion.  I immediately said yes as I knew now only would it be beneficial to the club members to participate but to learn about how a flag is retired.  I had been the GS troops ceremony 2years prior so I also knew exactly which parts we would be able to help the most with.  Oh yeah and the Hubby would be there too as he is not only one of our club leaders but the Adjutant for the Legion and would be in charge of the ceremony.  This really was a great opportunity for the club and everyone else as well.
Team Clover's job was simple, we would help with the set up for the ceremony, get the fire burning, help provide snacks and drinks and we would lead everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance.  I am proud to say that the club did a great job in every bit.
Having the Hubby be the Master of the ceremony did have its special advantages for the not only the club as were able to chose the poems that were read by the Girls Scouts and the Big Guy was given the special job of presenting the "Ceremonial Flag" to the Hubby for retiring.

I will leave you with a few more images of the ceremony but I will recommend that if you are not aware of or have never be to a Flag Retiring Ceremony it really is a great ceremony and the respect that is given to our great flag is just amazing.  Who knows you may even learn something along the way.

Saluting the ceremonial flag as it is retired in the fire
Presenting the Ceremonial Flag

Burning the rest of the flags collected for retiring 

I would like to close by saying to all my local page followers please feel free to join us at the next Flag Retiring Ceremony.  And if you ever have a flag in need of retiring anytime during the year there are 3 collection boxes set up by the Girl Scouts in the Downsville area.  The Legion has one right inside the entrance, there is one at the Transfer Station and one in East Branch at the Fire Dept.

6/12/16 - 6/18/16

A busy start to a slower week allowed us time to get some things done here.

The week started out Sunday with a Flag Retiring Ceremony with our 4-H Club, the Girls Scouts and the American Legion.  We actually have a few of each in the our Club with some of the Girls doing double duty as Girl Scouts and 4-H'ers plus we have the Hubby who is not only one of our Club leaders but also the Legion's Adjutant and did the ceremony for the Flag Retiring.  It was a great job by everyone.

A slow week followed with not much happening but house work and small projects that have been put off here.  It was nice to have a few days to just take care of critters, water gardens and do house work till the kids would get home from school and just what we needed before the kids got of school for the summer.

The only big happening other then the flag ceremony was that Heidi managed to sneak into the chicken coop and eat their food.  She has probably doing it for a while that just happened to be the day I caught her.....

......It was quite funny to see her send herself to her room after she was caught though.  Not technically her room as its actually the ducks house but she still knew she was caught and went to hide. lol

The rest of the week was just a little of this and that.  With the free time we had I whipped up a new wreath for our door.  I have a heart shape I made for Valentine's Day it was red and white but I added some blue to it so that it could be used most of the year.  Well a few years of weathering are starting to show on it now so I made this one up to take its place and since its almost the 4th of July I went with Red, White and Blue again.  It sure makes a statement there after being so used to the dull colored heart.

Our Saturday was actually a pretty nice day, we were home and had no real plans so the Hubby started putting up my Mothers Day gift on what would be the day before Fathers Day. lol  He had lots of help in the form of the Big Guy, some critters and a stinky Goat otherwise know as Oreo. lol
For those of you who don't know it is going to be a giant wind mill that was made years ago by his Uncle and is now mine.  We are hoping to get the rest of it done next weekend but we will see?

Definitely a week we could all enjoy and we are looking forward to a lot more of them this year.

Last Day Of School

The last day of school has come so now its time to Spread Their Wings for the summer.  The last day of school is the same for my kids as it was for me when I attended school (the same school even) except for the awards part they get way more then I used to. lol
Below is the the Oldest Daughter (2nd from the right) and The Big Guy (1st on the left) receiving their Academic Performer awards for their classes.  Which made their mom smile just a little more to have 2 kids standing up there getting smart kid awards.  We really do have very smart well behaved kids and I couldn't be happy to be their Mommy.

Enough bragging about my amazing kids and back to our fun day.
The last day of school starts out just like any other school day, they get up early and go to school. When they get to school they spend about an hour there getting ready for the big awards/music assembly, each grade sings and awards are handed out.  Then when the assembly is over we take the kids out of school (as do most parents) and spend the rest of the day doing something fun as a family. This year that fun thing was a trip to the Ross Park Zoo and then we stopped by the Discovery Center since they are right next to each other.

The zoo is old and the up keep has been lacking which is obvious but I really wanted to take the kids there since I remember going there as a kid.  I knew from the website that it would not be the same as I remembered it as a kid and boy was that obvious when we got there.  The animals on exhibit or should I say lack there of as there were barely any of what was listed on the pamphlet they gave us and the staff (mostly kids staring into electronics) left a lot to be desired at the zoo.  The Big Guy was so looking forward to seeing penguins and they were non existent even though the said they would be a feeding for public viewing...They should update their pamphlets......
Thankfully even with all the negatives at the zoo we still managed to have fun and the kids did get to ride on a very old carousal so it wasn't a complete waste of time.

The Discovery Center was much more fun thankfully.  The kids have all already been here before as they this is their kindergarten field trip with school but since the zoo was such a flop and they two places are right next to each other we went over and let them run and play.  Obviously they had a great time running a playing here and it was a nice end to family fun before they all took naps in the car on the way home.
Although she looks tiny in the big chair still, the Oldest Daughter is almost too big to play on a lot of thing there now so it is probably best that the zoo was so disappointing and we went over to the Discovery Center this year as they were all able to enjoy it still.

Here is a bit of the fun we had the rest of the day


And what were the chances that we would even find our own boat to play on at the Discovery Center, definitely a trip we were supposed to take.
Now its time to bring on Summer Vacation and all the fun it has to offer us.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Removing Labels and Glue from Bottles

Who hasn't see the perfect project with the spotlessly clean recycled bottle decorated with paint, beads, strings or so on and wanted to reproduce it.  Who else has tried to get the labels off and then finally said "forget it",  just paint over it or bought new bottles?   Yeah, me too...
Well No More, here is an easy solution for using recycled bottles with out left of bits of glue or labels.
I know there are millions of "how to" clean bottles out there but the list of ingredients to get the labels and glue off is quite extensive in most of them...."simple house hold ingredients" they say and then squeeze in that you need a scouring pad and that it will take lots of soaking and scrubbing or list some weird item that is not so common that you would have it on hand unless you doing a "How To" on bottle cleaning.....Sounds "simple" doesn't it?  Yeah, I didn't think so

I found my simple recipe with the need for clean bottles to make Hummingbird Feeders in our 4-H club. I scanned Pinterst (its my "GoTo") and found what seemed simple and easy and required only "everyday household items".  I was all set to clean the bottles only to not have one of those said "every day" ingredients, go figure....What did I do? I threw the recipe out the and just winged it because I needed those bottles very soon and wouldn't be purchasing an item for a once and only use.
Guess what that simple"winged" recipe of almost NO ingredients worked quite well so now that is my "GoTo" method for bottle and jar label remover.

When the kids are on vacation,craft projects are an almost daily thing here so I try to stay ahead of things like already clean bottles and with this easy method I set to work doing more. That is when a family member stopped by and noticed how I was doing it they said you should tell people how easy this way is so everyone knows.....

Well, Here you go - an easy way to remove glued on sticky labels and goo from bottles and Jars:

Ingredients Needed:
Dirty Bottle or Jar
Hot Water ~Our water is very hot so if you have yours at a lower temp you may want boiling water
Dish Soap ~I use Dawn but use what you have
Scouring Pad ~The steel wool kind (mine is from the dollar store)

Step 1:  Remove all plastic or metal parts that will come off.  I used Kitchen Shears and just cut the metal wrap off of the neck.

Step 2:  Clean the bottle thoroughly inside and out.  I used Dawn dish soap to clean mine.  To get deep inside the bottle a long stiff paint brush works well, I'm sure a bottle brush would work I just didn't have one at the time.  Allow bottle to soak in Hot Water as you move to the next bottle for cleaning.  By the time you have cleaned all the bottles the labels on the first bottles are ready to come off.  Most of the paper labels just rub off easily when they are wet.
I clean bottles 4-6 at a time so if you are only doing one you may want to soak it for a minute or 2 for the label to absorb the water and loosen easier.
I removed this label by simply rubbing it with my hand
Step 3:  Which in most cases is not necessary but sometimes the labels are not so "Easy, Peasy" or they are plastic which doesn't allow them to dissolve in the water, for those I use a small paring knife. It works well for scraping the stubborn paper and even better for getting under and peeling the plastic sticker.

Step 4:  This is the same part in every "How To" I have ever seen on cleaning off labels, Use of Elbow Grease and a rinse.
Take your scouring pad and simply scrub the label and any remaining glue off.  The Labels pretty much come off with ease.  Some scrubbing may be required but in most of my attempts it was easy.
The hotter your water the better for this step as it helps soften any glue.  If you have let the water cool then you should add more hot water. Keep in mind you will be touching the hot water and now hot glass so use caution as to how hot to get it. I added more hot water to mine but I was also taking pictures and talking to company though this tutorial.

Step 5: Wait there is no step 5, You are Done!
Yes You can skip the lemon juice, vinegar, Epsom Salt, baking soda or any other ingredients in in all those recipes and simply move on to enjoy making your project.

Really, there are no other ingredients needed just scouring pad and some soap.  And it works great, not to mention all the time you save skipping all the other steps like mixing paste to let set, soaking waiting and soaking again.

I know your saying what about a jar they are different, well using the same method here is my now sparkling clean relish jar.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Puffy Paint Friendship Bracelets

Reversible Puffy Paint Friendship Bracelets
Dear Parents,
Summer Vacation is starting all over our local area in a week and if you are looking for a fun easy project to do with kids and friends I completely suggest giving Puffy Paint Friendship Bracelets a try.
We made them last week and my girls loved it.
How did we find such a fun and easy project?  Well, my darling Youngest Daughter is not a patient girl at all (yeah, that she gets from me) but she always wants to do craft projects and always wants to make things for her friends so we try and try but we never actually complete many projects.  She is my "Starter" the one who starts a project but never finishes it.  I can not count the projects started and stacked here and there or times she has tried to make friendship bracelets but gave up after on a few rows of knot tying  because she just can't sit at one thing that long.  So, with summer vacation starting on Monday she wanted to make something for her fiends before school ends and I'm thinking "Ugh, here we go again" but I did a fast search on Pintrest for "easy bracelets" and found these Puffy Paint Friendship Bracelets.  Thinking it looked easy enough and we had the paint we might as well give it a try.

Here is how we made them and this is what you will need:
Puffy Paint
Embroidery Thread
Gallon Ziplock Bag
Scrap Paper

Step 1:  Make your wrist template.  Draw long thin (about 1 inch) "boxed" shapes on scrap paper long enough to go around your wrist.  Be sure your paper will fit inside a gallon ziplock bag, yes we had to trim ours.
Step 2:  Slide template inside the storage bad.  Use the tape to secure a few string of the embroidery thread to outside of bag and simple use Puffy Paint to make designs on and around the string.  Lastly, wait till fully dry (a day or 2) and remove.

You will see we didn't fully stick to the templates so I'm sure if this project was for older kids the template probably is not necessary.  Just be sure the design goes all the way around the wrist if you don't want strings showing in the bracelet.

The girls did a few different styles of bracelets.  There was a simple pattern of just dots, and then gave the swirl pattern a try (toothpick swirling paint colors together) and they all looked very nice. My favorites are the swirled bracelets as it made for a different pattern on each side, two bracelets for the time invested in one, perfect for little Miss Impatient. 

Monday, June 13, 2016

Her 1st Job

The Oldest Daughter is now 10 with a birthday last month.  But about a month before her birthday she did a very grown up thing and got a job!!!!  Really, she wanted her own money and wanted to raise it herself so a job it was.  This job was no ordinary job for a 10 year old, like house work or chores or helping neighbors with small tasks but a really fun job which allowed her to use her creative side and work for herself.  Her new job was making and selling Fairy Gardens.
Now if you remember she is one of the daughters who wanted to make Fairy Gardens in 4-H so bad that she started coming up with items all on their own so the club could afford to make them.  So this really was a good choice for her.  There was more of a question as to whether my shy girl could get customers?  She did and she has quite a business going which she tends to keep over the summer too.

This was her first sale, it was so cute and tiny in the tea cup compared to the bigger ones we made in 4-H.  She sold it to a substitute teacher and that started what in 2 months was over 25 tea/soup cup sales.  She has worked hard making sales and she has done almost all the work on her Fairy Gardens from painting the rocks for Houses, Bugs, or even Stepping stones by herself.  I am very proud of her effort.

Obviously there are a few things she can not do like cut and bend a wire hanger to make the garden stakes or drill holes (without assistance) so I  help out there and any where she needs.  I was a big contributor in her most recent sale where I made her some Musical themed items for her music teacher's fairy garden but only because I know at 10yrs old going to your best friends birthday party is important and that she would have been up way too late doing it on her own the same night.

The rest of her gardens are all her own personal works of art.  This one (in a soup mug) was her favorite of all the ones she made.  It is a simple rope swing (I drilled the rock out), a bench with a Koi pond and a few succulents and honestly this picture barely does it justice, it turned out so fun looking its no wonder it was her favorite.

This girl and her work is absolutely amazing!  I don't know how else to end this post so I will leave you with a few more samples of her work and the word "Proud to be her Mom!"

A country Cottage

Fairy Town

On the Farm