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Archive for June, 2011

100% Pure Joy!

100% Pure Joy!

If God has ever brought adoption to your mind, don’t hesitate to follow Him!  Our sweet Kara has indeed brought us 100% pure joy!  She is such a blessing, and our lives would not be complete without her!

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Grandma’s Strawberries

Last Friday the girls had a lot of fun picking strawberries from Grandma’s farm.  This particular strawberry patch always makes me smile when I think about it!  It all began with a few plants that my dad planted beside one of his farm buildings.  They grew and grew, and spread and spread!  My parents have learned that these silly plants thrive on neglect–they really don’t do much with them except go out and pick berries when they are ripe.  The rest of the time they just do what strawberries do, so my Mom says they are about as close to wild, organic strawberries as you can get!  All I can say is that they are very yummy, and that the girls enjoyed bringing home a bucketful! Thanks, Grandma!

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Several weeks ago, my brother and his wife asked us if we would like to share a beef with them. We had never done such a thing before, but it sounded like a pretty good deal, so we agreed.  I immediately began doing internet searches about buying bulk meat like this to try to picture just how much meat it would be and what cuts we could expect to get.  I found that it was difficult to get direct answers to that question, so I decided when we got our finished meat package, I would answer this question on my blog for the next person who is looking for this information!  🙂  (It will also give me a place to record what we did this time because I will probably forget before next time!  LOL!)

Our 1/2 ended up being 356.5 pounds of good (great!) meat, and averaged $2.45 per pound, including the meat and the processing.  That would be a great price if it were all hamburger, but that includes everything–roasts, steaks, and everything.  When have you heard of getting a top quality T-Bone for $2.45 per pound?!!

The picture for this entry shows what the meat looked like as we had it laid out to sort before putting it into a freezer.  John kept an inventory of the cuts, and this is what was included:

50 1-pound chubs of bulk hamburger

36 packages of 1/4-pound hamburger patties

4 packages of ribs

9 packages of sirloin steaks

15 packages of minute steaks

1 brisket

2 packages of Porterhouse steaks

1 specialty cut (Pikes Peak) roast

1 rump roast

10 packages of t-bone steaks

8 Chuck Roasts

10 packages ribeye steaks

4 arm roasts

4 packages of soup bones

6 packages of stew meat

We have really been enjoying the meat so far.  Brock described the hamburgers on the grill as “awe-inspiring.”  I tried a new way to cook the minute steaks in some gravy, and they came out yummy too.  Last night, Dan wanted to try grilling some of the steaks.  He cooked 6 big steaks, and there was absolutely NONE left when the meal was over!  Brock even commented tonight how much he liked the hamburger that I had put into my spaghetti.  He said it was lean and didn’t have the “little hard balls of fat” in it that he was used to.  So, do I recommend buying meat from a locker?  Just take a look at this picture of the steaks on the grill, and I think you’ll have your answer:

Steaks!

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This past Friday evening and Saturday was our church’s annual Vacation Bible School.  Our curriculum this year was called Rev It Up, and it went very, very well.  We were extremely blessed with great helpers and wonderful kids, and we will always look back on this VBS as one of the best ones that we have been involved with.

We had all of our usual Vacation Bible School activities:  Bible lessons, singing, puppet shows, games, snacks, water balloons, etc.  One thing that made this year unique and special is that we had a visiting missionary that the kids all loved.  I am so thankful that she was willing to come be a part of our program–having her around was a breath of fresh air!  It is so neat to see a young lady like this who is so on fire for God and open to His service.  The Prairie Family was able to spend some special time getting to know her as we set up the church and took her out to eat before the hectic activities of VBS began. Cosette especially looks up to her as a role model and speaks often of joining her on the mission field for at least a short-term project in the future.  (I wouldn’t doubt it a bit if that really doesn’t happen someday!)  What a blessing it was to have Miss M. with us–who knows what an eternal impact she made?!

A Great Role Model!

Our VBS focus, of course, is to minister to kids while we teach them about our wonderful Lord Jesus Christ.  Over the years, though, we have learned that an important part of this ministry is spending time getting to know the kids that God brings to us through fun activities. This year was especially good in that area!  As I looked through my pictures, I noticed a lot of smiling faces, and I am thankful that God used this time to bring some joy to the kids and the workers as well.  This world can be pretty discouraging at times, but serving God brings true joy–and that showed this weekend.

I have said throughout this VBS that I really felt God’s hand on it.  In fact, as we set up, I told Miss M. that I really believed that God had something special for someone (or several someones!) in it.  He brought so many pieces together, and if no one else was blessed, I know I was!  I saw Him give strength, wisdom, and peace.  I saw Him work through my kids, and I saw my kids respond joyfully to serving Him. I can’t even begin to explain what a thrill that was to my heart!  Yes, this year was special for the Prairie Family, and we are thankful!

The good news is that we will get to do this all over again in a few weeks, Lord willing!  I have posted before that we will be helping with the children’s activities during a pastor’s conference in July, and we plan on using the “best of the best” from Rev It Up for that conference. So we will have a time to recover and refocus, and then we will get to enjoy this blessing all over again.  I can’t wait!

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VBS is on Friday and Saturday of this week.  I’ll tell you what, it has been a LOT of work this year!  We have been working on it non-stop for many days, and we are all tired. That being said, I am looking forward to seeing how God is going to work.  He has been so faithful throughout all of the preparation, and I just have a sense that this year’s VBS is going to be a special one.

The kids have all worked very hard to get the puppet skits ready.  We have decorations ready to put up, and most of the crafts are ready.  I should be able to finish that up tomorrow morning (hopefully).  There are always last-minute suggestions and questions that come up, and I have been heavily working with those over the last few days as well. One idea we are going to try is to have a family time for the last couple hours of our VBS.  We are going to invite the parents to come participate in our annual water balloon launch, the Pinewood Derby, the closing activities, and then we are going to have an informal ice cream social at the end.  This was kind of decided at the last minute, but I think it is a good idea, so I put together invitations today.  I hope that many parents will join in on the fun!

The picture for this entry is of Cosette trying out our new water balloon launcher.  We have always borrowed one for this annual tradition, but this year we decided it was time for the Prairie Family to get our own to use for this and other occasions.  Of course, we had to break it in, and I am happy to say that it shoots those balloons pretty well!  (The grain elevator by the church is definitely at risk!)

We still have quite a bit of loose ends to tie up.  We are going to go to the church tomorrow evening to get the pinewood derby track set up.  It might need a little bit of maintenance, so we definitely did not want to wait until Friday morning to find that out!  We are also going to try hooking up the sound system to a laptop, which, if it works, will make finding the tracks for the songs and puppet scripts much easier than our current set up.  It is my goal to have crafts ready to deliver tomorrow night as well–it is time to start getting all of this stuff OUT OF MY HOUSE!

So, we are weary, but we have seen God working in pulling this VBS together, so I can’t wait to see what He is going to do this weekend!

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Yesterday was an exhausting, but fun Day Camp for our local Cub Scouts.  Since Dan and I were helping with the camp, our AHG Trailblazers were also able to attend the camp, and they had a wonderful time. We are thankful for the organizers who allowed the girls to be full participants in the camp.

This year’s Day Camp had a space theme. There were several activities including hiking, shooting bb guns, archery, crafts, and rocket launching.  Dan headed up the hiking and the launching, while I tackled the crafting station. I learned a few things about leading crafts at an outdoor camp like bring a bucketful of rocks to serve as paper weights, plan for a place for paint to dry, and be sure to bring boxes for each town’s stuff!  We did three crafts, and all three were a hit with the kids.  First, we decorated the water rockets that Dan launched with the kids later in the day.  We also put together space shuttle models that Dan designed to make using some of the packaging materials that came in our grill box!  The kids were all surprised at Dan’s creativity!  🙂  Probably the most successful project was our “plasma tubes” which were basically homemade lava lamps using cooking oil, water, food coloring and Alka-Seltzer tablets.  It was fun to watch the “wow factor” when the campers dropped in the tablets and saw the plasma go into action!

We had seen soda bottles made into rockets before but had never tried adding water into the process.  Water makes those silly bottles shoot really high, and the splashing around is always welcome on a hot afternoon.  That was a definite keeper in our idea box–sometime Dan and I need to assemble our own launcher so we will have one readily available.  We also had made some model Estes rockets to demonstrate, and that almost didn’t work!  When Dan tried to launch one, nothing happened.  In fact, he announced his apologies and everyone began to leave, and then the rocket shot up straight into the air!  The kids all got a laugh out of that.

So, it was a good camp, and one of our major summer hurdles has been cleared.  Now to continue pressing on to VBS!

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