"While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about." Angela Schwindt

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Apple Cider Time!

Last year we started a new tradition. Matt's grandfather had an old cider press that Matt decided to bring home and clean up. He thought it would be fun to make apple cider. We really enjoyed ourselves last year so we hope to continue the tradition every year. This year Matt's Aunt Mary and his cousins Craig and Jodi joined us, along with Matt's parents who were with us last year also. Mary supplied the apples from her bountiful crop of apples she had this year.

Matt and I scrubbed and sanitized the cider press. I sanitized all the milk jugs I have been saving for weeks leading up to the big day. Shelby and Jake are in charge of scrubbing and sanitizing the apples. After all the cleaning is done we begin to make cider. It is simple really. You throw apples in the hopper at the top. Someone cranks the grinder. Jake loves to do this but usually needs help. Then the apples get chopped up and fall into one of two wooden barrels. When you fill one up you move it forward so it is underneath the press. You put the lid on the barrel and then begin to bring the press down. As it presses down on the apples the cider flows out between the slats in the the barrels, and down into the pan. It is so good!

It takes a lot of apples to make cider. We had several bushels of apples but only got about 5 gallons of cider out of them. Last year we froze several gallons to enjoy throughout the winter but discovered that the kids prefer it fresh. Matt was really the only one drinking it after I would thaw one out. So this year we shared a couple gallons with Craig who is going to try to make apple wine. He makes different wines and beer as a hobby and they are good! I hope he saves some apple wine for me to try sometime in the spring!

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Let there be light!!

Phase 2 is almost complete! The holes are cut and the windows are in. Matt still needs to do some more sealing and trimming of the windows. He also needs to put the window wells in and make sure the water in the window wells drains away from the windows. I love the new windows in the basement. It does not feel like a basement anymore. There is so much light coming in.
We did learn a few lessons during this two week process. Sometimes it pays to pay a little more. Out of about ten places that Matt called to come cut the concrete he only found two companies that would do it. One estimate was really high and the other estimate was really low. Of course we are trying to do this project on a budget so we had the lower priced company come out. Let's just say that this guy finally admitted after cutting the first hole that he had never done this before and it would cost us a lot more to get him to come out and do the second. Well, if we would have known that he had never done that kind of cutting before he would not have done it in the first place. So we immediately called the company that had given us the higher estimate and they came out and you could immediately tell that these were professionals. The first time we ended up with tons of water in our basement (the saws use water) and exhaust fumes throughout the house because the first guy wanted to cut it from the inside. The second guy worked on the outside. We had very little water in the basement and no horrible exhaust fumes. Where the first guy took a day and a half, the second guy took a few hours. The difference in the experiences was amazing. This was definitely one of those "You get what you pay for" jobs.
Well, the drama is over and we are happy with the end result.
I am posting some before and after pics for you to see.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Oh Boy! It's a boy!

We went for our second sonogram on Friday. It was a family affair. Jake and Shelby got to see their little brother for the first time. That is right. It's a boy!! He was not shy about sharing that with us. The sonogram tech said he was not modest at all. It was fun. He was quite active during the sonogram so we got to see him kick me in the stomach a few times, change positions, turn his face towards us, and even open his mouth twice. I read somewhere that this is about the time they start tasting amniotic fluid to get ready for when it is time to eat in the outside world and that what I eat effects how the fluid taste's. Guess this kids is going to like jalepeno's and Mexican food! Everything is on schedule the same as before. I only gained two pounds in the last month so I was happy about that!

Matt is hard at work putting one of the egress windows in this weekend! He is on a mission. I just need to get him to take a break long enough to help me pick out some baby stuff!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Playing in the dirt!

Well, Phase 1 of the basement project was finished about a week ago. That was cleaning, organizing, and getting rid of the clutter. The side of the basement that is going to get finished is down to bare bones and ready to go.

Phase 2 was started this weekend. We need to put in two egress windows since there is going to be a bedroom in the basement. So this weekend Matt rented a Mini Excavator to did the five foot plus holes where the windows are going to be. I think he had a lot of fun. For $225 dollars we could have it for the day and put 8 clock hours on the machine. When Matt got done he had not even put 4 hours on the machine so he took it out on our property and found a spot where the kids could dig. He taught each one of them how to use it and they both spent about a half an hour digging in the dirt. That is the beauty of living on ten acres. Plenty of room to play! I think they all had fun. I was even told that I had to try it. It is harder then it looks. My husband said to trying doing that along the side of the house and not hitting the house! Probably good thing he did that part and not me!!