AardsmaFive Homepage    My Favorite Photos

The Chicago Field Museum!

March 3, 2012

Wow! Life has been so crazy here the last six months! So one afternoon when we were all pretty much about to tear our hair out and lose our minds all at the same time, someone had the great idea of taking a day off and doing something fun. So that's what we did! We took Monday off last week and took a trip into Chicago to see the Field Museum. It was amazing, and definitely worth the drive! Pretty much everything was free, including admission. And they had so much to see we didn't even get to it all before we were all tired out and ready to come back home. But what we did see was amazing!

The elephants were...really big!

We stopped for this pic while making our way through the Native American exhibit (which was amazing!)

We sure looked short compared to these guys (some of us more than others)!

Caleb wasn't sure what to make of these little guys!

Dad sure loved the Egyptian exhibit. Here we are looking at a sample of what the Nile river looks like.

But what really put a smile on my face? Our stop for ice cream, of course! Just kidding, just kidding. Sorta :)

Seriously, it was a great day, and I would highly recommend the Field Museum if you're looking for something inexpensive and fun to do. It was fun to spend time with my family too. Both Joey, Rachel's fiance, and Esther, Matt's fiance, were able to be there for the day, which was very special. Great memories and great times!


MiddleFork Park

June 26, 2011

We had a fun Sunday today at Middlefork Park, about twenty minutes from here. We were celebrating a late Father's Day for Dad and an early birthday for me! We had a good old fashioned picnic with Rachel's amazing fried chicken. Caleb and Tim enjoyed fishing in the river with a friend, while Matt and his girl chatted. Mom and Dad soaked in the sun from their lawn chairs. I thought that sounded like a pretty good idea, but Rachel had other ideas.... She thought a walk sounded like a great idea, so we started out quite sanely enjoying nicely mown trails through the state park. Then we found the river....

"Come on Bek, this is great!" So I climb in....

...and Rach snaps a picture.

There were dragonflies everywhere.

I figured this dam was a natural stopping place, but Rachel had other ideas...

...and it sure was picturesque on the other side!

I grab one last picture before catching up with Rachel back on the trail.

We head back up the trail. "Hey guys, you should see where we went..."


A Sleepy Sunday

June 19, 2011

New chicks just arrived from the hatchery catching up on some sleep!

Our beef calf enjoys thinnings from the sweet corn.

Pidgeons peek out from the safety of their loft.

The hens hope for scraps from the table or some overgrown lettuce from the garden.

Buddy keeps an eye on his little world while catching a few winks while...

...one of our barn cats enjoys a true catnap.


Memories of the Beach

April 10, 2010

I guess the middle of April isn't technically a "beachy" time of year, but it's great for memories!

We went to New Hampshire in August last year, and enjoyed a beautiful day at the beach. It was the first time most of us kids could remember going to the ocean, and we all loved it. But instead of boring you with details I'll skip right to the fun part: pictures!

Here's Caleb, discovering that being washed up on a wave feels like riding on sandpaper!

My brothers involved in some kind of "defy the waves" activity!

Rach and I.

This picture requires a little explaining. Our vacation was just a week or two before Matt went for his freshman year of school, so Rachel drew this in the sand for him. It reads: Poor College Student. Donations Accepted.



Look Out Below!

April 6, 2010

I suppose there are lots of people out there who can do perfectly ordinary things like crawling around in their attic, sitting on a windowsill, swinging on a tire swing, or working on their roof without risking their lives. I, unfortunately, am not one of these people. Gravity just has it out for me.

I guess I should have taken it as an omen when my very first experience with heights, at a mere two and half years, ended in my very first experience of falling from heights. I don't remember the actual event, but I've had it related to me several times since. Apparently, my big brothers were working in our attic, and I took an opportune moment when my mother was distracted to climb up the ladder and explore the big wide world up there. I was crawling around quite innocently (and probably quite blissfully) on the thin board that made up the ceiling for our living room below. I suppose it was inevitable that I would end up on the living room floor moments later. To all accounts I just fell right through the attic floor, and landing standing on my feet and blinking at the interesting experience I had just had. My mother wasn't quite so interested. She was staring in shock that her daughter had just fallen through the roof and had survived the experience. My sister also wasn't quite so interested, as I had just narrowly escaped landing on her full-sized, very expensive, rented harp!

I still marvel that I spent a whole summer working on our roof and lived to tell about it!

It wasn't too many months later that gravity again betrayed me. It was a beautiful Sunday morning, and Dad was taking turns pushing us kids on the tireswing we had tied to a huge oak tree. I remember I had a hard time reaching around the tire to hang on, but I was thoroughly enjoying the relaxing, slow pace of the tire swing when there was a rude bump and I was entangled in a tireswing on the ground! The rope had come untied from the tire and I remember being quite shocked at the turn of events! I seem to remember creating a royal racket as Dad carried me inside to be soothed by my mother.
I'm still a little dubious about tire swings. I have a deeply ingrained doubt of their fidelity.

It was several years later that I was enjoying a beautiful summer afternoon, munching on a cookie while I sat on the windowsill enjoying the breeze and listening to my Dad read the Bible to the family. I must not have been paying attention because all the sudden I had broken the window screen, and, to add insult to injury (or in this case, injury to insult), I tumbled on to the rock pile a few feet below! I doubt the rock pile did any favors to my body, but the overriding sensation I remember feeling at the time was profound embarrassment!

Doomed I may be, but that hasn't stopped me yet!

My crowning moment as a faller (faller: someone who falls from heights on a regular basis) happened two years ago. I had spent an entire summer working on our house with Dad, and I had survived with only minor incidents. But my luck was bound to run out, and so it did. I was putting insulation in the roof, in between all the rafters. To avoid having to walking across the roof balanced on two-inch rafters, Dad and I had laid thin boards as kind of a pathway across the roof. I was pretty confident in out little road, as we had been using it for weeks. I was in somewhat of a hurry this particular day as we had rain coming in and we wanted to get things closed up for the night and I had a lot to do. I was crossing from one board to the next when the board slid a few feet on the tilt of our roof, and suddenly there was chaos. I was sitting on a rafter, with my feet dangling into our laundry room. My mother, unfortunately for her, had been doing laundry directly below me when the ceiling suddenly exploded above her, and she was screaming like there was no tomorrow. All I remember thinking at the time was, "Man, now I've really done it!"

You know, it just occurred to me that in light of all these incidents, it's probably a good thing I've never been in an airplane....



March 18, 2010

At lunch today, as we all sat around the table enjoying a hot batch of cinnamon rolls, Rachel and I were discussing all the cooking we do. Rachel laughingly said that we should put a sign on the front door saying "Dieters beware: Resistance is futile"! And I have to admit, over the past six years, Rachel and I have tried hundreds of recipes and ideas, making us quite a formidable pair in the kitchen (if I do say so myself!).

The birthday cake Rachel and I made back in July for Mom's birthday.

I didn't always love to cook, and I certainly wasn't very good at it when I started at a mere ten years old. My older sister, eight years my senior, was leaving for college, and I was soon to be the oldest girl at home. I had a few months of intermittently putting together a meal for the family, and then my sister left and it was up to me! Mom helped out for a few months until I was more experienced. For a few years, we didn't have a whole lot of variety when it came to meals. But then, Rachel started to get interested in cooking, and began making more elaborate desserts. The combination of her enthusiasm and a really great online recipe site started us off, and we're still experimenting and loving it! Just two days ago we made our own graham crackers for a pie, something we weren't sure about, but it turned out absolutely terrific.

Cinnamon swirl coffee cake...yum!.

Rachel and I usually do our baking together...she is really the one that convinces me to try new stuff. I usually stare at a recipe and imagine a soggy mass of failure, and she tells me to just make it. Most of the time, her optimism is right. We definitely have our own territory, though, with recipes that are our particular specialty. Rachel is terrific at pizza, stew, and lemon squares, while I love to make anything with jello, coolwhip, or lots of fluffy eggwhites! It's a good thing Rachel is around, as she's saved many a meal from disaster! When the timer is beeping, the stew is boiling over, the fridge is standing open, and the dogs are fighting on the kitchen floor, it is great to be able to shove the bowl of biscuit batter in to Rachel's surprised lap and tell her to "take care of this" as I run by. After all, what are sisters for?

Beautiful cupcakes and a beautiful picture...both by Rachel!

We've made various "professional" cakes over the years, with varying degrees of success. We delved in to the world of fondant, food coloring, and that impossible icing consistency. I think this was our greatest triumph.

Rachel's 14th birthday cake.

And Cinnamon rolls are just something everyone should have on a regular basis!! And I'm not talking about the stale kind you get at the grocery store, I'm talking about the fresh out of the oven kind with lots of frosting. This is the second time Rachel and I have made this recipe and I love it...the recipe is here.

Volunteer taste-tester, anyone?

So swing around some time, and if you're really good and work hard enough (ha ha), you just never know what'll come out of the kitchen at lunchtime! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Back Then....

March 16, 2010

Spring has settled in here on our little farm, provoking thoughts of birth, new life, and beginnings.

I entered this big wide world in Harbison Canyon, California on a hot June day. I have no memories of my birthplace, as we moved to our present home three years later. I do, however, have some pictures!

Here I am, about one year old, playing with Mom!

The world is always exciting with Daddy!

Indulging in forbidden joys...ladders!!

As I said, when I was three, we moved to Illinois, to our little homestead here in Loda where me and my little siblings discovered the joy of long days in the sun and freedom to build dirt castles wherever we wanted!

No little girl world is complete without dolls!

My little sister, Rachel and I.

Me, on the right, welcoming little Tim into our family. The miracle of new life never grows old.

All dressed up for my big sister's (Jennifer's)wedding!


Creative Chaos

March 2, 2010

With all the web-site construction going on around here, things have been pretty crazy. Everyone is talking about what they are going to make, have made, or are currently hammering out. All the activity centers around Rachel's room, since she is the only one who knows what she's doing and can help all the rest of us. By far the most entertaining of the web-building process is listening to Rachel work with someone she is helping. It usually goes something like this:

"Okay," Rachel says, "now that we're finished with that, let's move on. The background is next, so I'll try something and you can see if you like it." Lots of typing, then,

"What do you think of that?"

At this point, a great deal of "hmmmmm" and "wellllll" follows. Then the pupil says,

"How about something kind of purple?"

"We could try it," Rachel replies, skeptical. More typing, then Rachel hits the refresh button. I love the silence that follows at this point...Rachel in stunned shock and the pupil trying to decide if the blinding effect is cool or weird. I hold in my laughter so I can hear what follows (and so I don't give away my position around the corner). Rachel, having recovered, says,

"Well, what do you want do?" She, of course, is asking what drastic measures should be taken to recover this catastrophic situation. The pupil, however, has other ideas.

"It's kind of neat...shines cool, you know? Hmmm....maybe it should be a little brighter?"

Rachel chokes a little, but trying to be open to creativity, she replies,

"It might work, but you know, I don't think that purple really matches the yellow we already decided on. Maybe we could try something more like..."

"But," the excited pupil interrupts, "This is really kind of neat! It reminds me of something...." Rachel probably wants to say it reminds her of a headache, but she only says, with a hint of desperation creeping into her voice,

"Let's at least try something different before you decide."

The pupil usually hesitates at this point, and then, as if suddenly hit with a brilliant idea, says (and I am absolutely positive they do this every time),

"I know! Let's ask Beka!!"

Rachel, sure that I will be on her side, readily agrees, and before I have a chance to move from my slightly suspicious position (you know, flattened against the wall around the corner), the preoccupied pupil rushes out the door, sees me, and urges me to come and see. I follow and am not sure whether to stare or hastily cover my eyes. I blink rapidly and try to get a feel for what I'm looking at through the fluorescent purple. Rachel kindly clarifies,

"See, this is the text here, and the picture here, and here's the background. What do you think?"

Since I am a brilliant diplomat, not to mention a highly intelligent and gifted speaker, I take a deep breath and say,

"Uh...I'm not really sure."

And, since I am the aforementioned brilliant communicator, this seems to magically make up the pupil's mind.
"Yeah! It's really great, isn't it? I just love it! I'm gonna go show Mom!"

As the pupil makes a hasty retreat to go and show off his handiwork, Rachel gives me a betrayed look. I shrug. After all, what did I say?