Wednesday, August 27, 2008

GOODBYE SUMMER

It's always a sad time at the Orton house when this time of year rolls around. I think I'm just as bad as my kids if not worse in not wanting them to go back to school. This year has been harder than in years past because I was sick all summer. Thanks to many family members and lots of friends, my kids were able to still have a fantastic summer.

Ben hanging with us at our local Gilford Beach.
I LOVE this boy!
Orton and Hutchins' children having some good bonding time.
More time spent with the Hutchins' cousins. We love these girls!!
The LAST HURRAH of summer. Rachael and her girls, Jenny and her girls and my mom all came up to my neck of the woods for one last beach day together.
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GOODBYE SUMMER...hope to see you again REAL SOON!!!

CHaD GOLF TOURNAMENT

Been a while since you've seen Ben, huh? Well...today was his big DEBUT at the Loudon, NH CHaD (Children's Hospital at Dartmouth) Golf Tournament. Why were we there? I got a phone call late last week asking us if we would be willing to come and represent the children that are helped by CHaD. I told him we would LOVE to go...on one condition..."Please don't make me speak." He chuckled and said that would be fine. Today was the day and so Ben, Stevie and I drove 30 minutes to Loudon and spent the afternoon hanging around and getting to meet some really nice people.

Here is Ben...looking so grown up!
Stevie was SO bored waiting more than an hour for the event to start so she passed her time taking pictures...lots of pictures...so many that you'd be here all day looking at them if I posted them. I'm sure you have better things to do so I'll spare you the pain and only post a few.
I had to take my turn photographing my cute daughter. She never fails to "strike a pose" when she sees the camera pointed at her...
Stevie loves this picture because if you look in the lens of my glasses, you can see her reflection - "how cool is that?" says she...
I love the way Stevie LOVES her brother...
"Yo Dude, I've got my eye on YOU!"
Before the luncheon/raffle/auction got under way, Stevie worked the crowd handing out CHaD flyers and pins...
My favorite part? When they kept calling her "Stephanie"...she hates being called "Stephanie". After a couple of hours of being there the golfers finally got it right.:)
For the raffle, Stevie was asked to draw out the tickets from this big box. We had a few tickets of our own but didn't win anything this time.
Stevie reading off the numbers of the ticket.

video

I'm adding this late because Stevie requested it. (probably cuz she took the video) If you watch it closely, about half way through you'll see her get really close to Ben's face. Now...just in case you aren't a professional "lip reader", let me translate. This is what Ben is saying to his dear sister. "Take the camera out of my face before I lick your nose with my tongue!"

Monday, August 25, 2008

SPONTANEOUS NIGHT OUT

Okay all you blogging friends out there, don't judge me for what I am about to admit...Steve and I abandoned FHE tonight for a deal that we couldn't turn down. (don't worry, we postponed FHE for FHD - that'd be Family Home Day, happening tomorrow, we have all day together.) Anyway, our friends the Palisi's invited us out on their boat. It was a beautiful night and we had the HUGE lake of Winnipesaukee all to ourselves because it was a bit breezy which made the lake choppy. (nobody wanted to be out on the choppy lake I guess) But...it was still so much fun to be out on our beautiful lake and see all the islands and mountains surrounding us. We had a great time!
Steve and I hung out in the back while the Palisi's drove us all around. We got a bit wet here and there but didn't care because it was so beautiful. (I'm totally LOVING my comb over bangs!:)
This is my good friend Sharon, she lost her son Nicholas two years ago at the age of 6 to brain/spine cancer. We have been through a lot together.
This is Sharon's husband Joe - he was the captain for the night. I can't tell you how healing it was to be out amongst the amazing creations of our Heavenly Father. I could've sat out there forever just basking in the beauty of it all. To cap off a perfect night, my hubby took me out to dinner at our favorite restaurant. Nothing like having a fun spontaneous night out and having kids that are very forgiving/understanding.

video

Here's a brief clip of us out on the boat...

FOOD STORAGE

UPDATE:
After posting about my food storage I was feeling a little unprepared for my year's supply so I did what any good woman would do...I jumped into action. (now I'm jumping into bed...) I made 2 batches of blackberry jam, 2 batches of peach jam, two quarts of peach syrup (YUM!), sliced and froze 6 quart bags of yellow/zucchini squash, made three batches of zucchini bread and peeled/sliced 12 quart bags of fresh frozen peaches. There...now I feel better.

Look at all this deliciousness. I promise to share if you come visit me...
Nothing says lovin' like bread from the oven! (amen sister)
My frozen peaches - just waiting for pies or smoothies...mmm...
Frozen summer/zuchinni squash. This makes my heart swell just looking at it...
At the end of the day I was left with this, took me over an hour to finish the thousands of pots and pans and bowls needed for my day in the kitchen. (can you even believe I made it out of the house for a night out with my husband?)
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Here's a little game I like to call..."Take a picture of your food storage and share for all the world to see". As you probably have noticed, I don't have more than 3 months here - although I do have buckets of wheat, rice, pasta and a few other things that are stored in my crawl space....but I am NOT crawling in there to take a picture of it. (that's what I have children for) Anyway, I wanted to throw the challenge out to

you

to do a post on your food storage because it's always a good motivator to try and do better.

Here is our pantry. It is located in our basement underneath the stairs. It was a perfect little spot to turn into a place for food storage. I love the #10 cans that fit perfectly underneath the stairs - click on the picture and you can see it better. (don't judge me that I have froot loops and corn pops in my storage - that's my husband's purchase)
This little spot is located in my wash room - we have extra shelves for our paper goods but I didn't take a picture of those because I am really embarrased for you to know that we have probably two weeks left of toilet paper. (I'm on it, alright? Back off!) But...I didn't want to leave my sweet Benjamin out. Since he can't eat what we eat, I am showing you that yes...I do have food storage for him too. I only have 4 months supply here, I'm still working on that too. He uses a formula, pictured in the white boxes, protein and fiber supplements in the cans and the box in the middle is his feeding bags.

Besides working on my "dry" stuff, I also have a freezer that is full of beans, yellow squash and other goodies from my garden and sister Jenny's orchard. I really probably should be canning this stuff so it can sit on my shelves but I am a sucker for "fresh" fruit and vegies in the winter. (it would be a problem if my power went out for days...then I would lose all of it.)
Behind my house I have numerous amounts of rasberry and blackberry bushes. I take full advantage of this free fruit and like to make jam with it. I send my kids out every day in the month of August and they bring me back cups full of berries to work with. (they love me for this, really they do...especially when their cups aren't full enough, then I send them back out into the wilderness where they crawl through the noxious weeds. Good times I tell you!)
Here is the finished product...aren't they beautiful? I will probably get around 20 pints this year as the town cut some of the berry bushes down.
BoldHere is a picture of my sister Amy Jo...I am including her in my blog today because she is the one that sent me this email below. Look, she's actually telling me to go and share. She's shy like that. So...here I am, dutifully sharing, and now I'm passing the torch to you, my dear bloggers. Do share...really, it's fun. (fun tied in with a little bit of pain -


knowing I'm not totally prepared, but hey...I'm working on it!)

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(Church Public Affairs is asking Church members to share their experiences with maintaining and utilizing food storage by posting video, text or other content on personal blogs, video-sharing sites like YouTube, social media sites like Facebook, or other Internet sites. Members can then e-mail a link to their story to publicaffairs-slc@ldschurch.org. The Newsroom site may link to some of them in an upcoming Web package on the Church welfare program, but in any case the stories may be beneficial to others who read them on the Web.The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has long encouraged its members to store extra food to provide for possible future needs caused by economic hardship, disasters or other emergencies. Encouraging individual members to be prepared is part of the Church's overall welfare plan.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

DANCE CAMP

This week the girls attended a local dance camp at the place they attend during the school year. It was a great opportunity because they got to go for free! ($600 worth) I was amazed at how much they learned in such a short time. Thursday night was the recital and the girls performed 10 dances - it was awesome. I'm including a video of one of their performances just to give you an idea.
The girls had to wear black for the recitals and I love that my girls wore sleeves and long pants compared to most of the girls. They do have tank tops for dance but most often feel more comfortable wearing exactly what they wore above. Should make picking them out in the video easy. (just look for the fully dressed girls:)
After the recital the girls helped me out with Ben and then we said our goodbyes as they were spending the night in the dance studio. They had a great time watching movies and eating lots of pizza and junk food.
I love the way my girls love each other. Also included in the dance recital was a talent portion. You had to perform with a partner and so my girls chose to work together. They did a really cute gymnastics routine on a floor beam to music. It was so fun to watch. This is the pose they ended their routine with.

video

Stevie's in the first group dancing, kind of in the middle and Kayla comes out second and is right in front.

Friday, August 22, 2008

BEACH DAY!

HORSENECK BEACH
Yes, my dear family and friends, I have ventured out into public once again. It's a weird feeling seeing as I have been indoors all summer. My poor skin felt a little white being so exposed at a sunny beach. Thank goodness for sunscreen.
Amy Jo, Becky and Jenny at the beach
(Who do I look like more? This is just a curiosity question. Leave your comment...)

My cute boy surrounded by beautiful cousins...does it get any better than this?
Amy Jo inspecting the mighty castle that Porter built. (Mason in the background)
Jenny and Mason.

We had a really good day with perfect weather. This was the last day I got to spend with my sister Amy before she left to head back to Ohio. I'm already going through withdrawls.:(

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

LAUGHTER...

It doesn't get much better when you have one of those moments that make you laugh until you almost cry. It's theraputic, it's healing and for goodness sakes...it just feels good. My daughter often is our source of comic relief. We are lucky to have her. The night of her birthday we were sitting around the counter getting ready for her to take a bite out of her cake when she asked us where the candles were. Her (very sarcastic) dad replied that they were there, you just couldn't see them because they were "invisible" candles. She very seriously looked at her dad and said...
"Dad, I'm NOT as DUMB as I LOOK!"

Oh my sweet, innocent Kayla...we LAUGHED SO HARD that we almost fell off our stools. My favorite part was that she was sort of laughing with us, pretending to know why we were laughing so hard at what she just said but her eyes told us that she was clueless. After I composed myself I explained to her that what she probably meant to say was "I'm not at dumb as you think I am". (or something to that effect) It was a classic moment.
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PS:Kayla, thank you for making me laugh...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

IT'S OFFICIAL

KAYLA IS A TEENAGER!

13 years old!!
Mimi threw her a cousin party in Northboro, MA
(thanks Mimi)
Yesterday Kayla came home from dance camp and found this on her bed.
(Steve's wierd like that....:) )
The bike man giving tips to his daughter...
Kayla ready to ride her new wheels...
Ice cream cake....mmmmm....Kayla's favorite.
She's trying to decide how she's gonna take a bite out of it...
Just stuff your face right in...
Mission accomplished.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MY DEAR KAYLA!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

HOPE

This is the "Rose of Sharon" bush we planted in our front yard for Kadee Lynne
The Apostle Paul has written about how suffering can turn to hope when we experience the love of God:
“We glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;“And patience, experience; and experience, hope:“And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”
(Romans 5:3-5)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

GRIEVING


Not a lot I want to say on my blog this particular day as I have been through one of the hardest trials of my life. A week ago yesterday I found out that the baby girl that I have been carrying for 20 weeks had passed away. Found out via ultrasound. I was completely devestated. Even harder was having to carry my baby until Friday which was the soonest they could do the surgery necessary to take the baby. Surgery went well. Physically I am recovering quickly. Emotionally I know it will take a long time. I am still grieving so please forgive me in my absence of blogging.