Saturday, August 30, 2008

My secret

Hint #7



I like music. I just dont seem to find the time to enjoy it that often. This is why, in the rare event that I find myself having copious amounts of time to fill....I use this. Of course, you arent really supposed to have those headphones on when you are driving....

It holds like 150 songs or something.....that amounts to way more than, say, 4 hours.

Friday, August 29, 2008

My secret

Hint #6



I have to make sure that I get tons of pictures. Who knows when this will happen again? Or...I could use them as blackmail....either way..... I need the pictures.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Here chicky chicky

I went and hung out with Mim today. We had some lunch, played with the doggies, and THEN...I got to see the chicks.



They are about 3.5 weeks now, I think. And are they ever cute. You will see on her blog that she says I was a bad influence to the little darlings....I can show you proof otherwise. Look, I am the chicken whisperer. See the little dears over there in the corner? All cozy and sleepy like. I filled their bellies and sang them sweet songs and lulled them fast asleep.



I petted them real gentle like and made sure everyone got equal attention.



I would NEVER attempt to show a young, curious rooster that the grass is greener on the other side. NEVER would I do that.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

My secret

Hint #5


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Friday, August 22, 2008

umbrella and strollers

I was out running errands this morning. Had a few things I needed to get done.

Loaded up the little guy, the stroller, the snack, the water bottle....

Making our way in town, singing some songs....

One of our stops actually required the use of our stroller. Normally, most places I frequent have either carts or their own version of a stroller. Which works outs nicely for us because then I can negotiate with G (on my own terms, of course) just how much he gets to walk and how much he gets to stroll! This usually means that I tell him he can walk from the vehicle to the store and then once we are in the store he gets in the cart. Okay, Im getting so off track here.

We get out of the vehicle and I get G into the stroller. Walk up to the entrance of the building and quickly notice that this is gonna be a huge pain. The building happens to have the double door dilemma. You know, the door that opens into a little tiny space and then there is another door that you have to open to actually enter the building. Leaving virtually no room for a person using a stroller. Making it so that you have to be a yoga expert to manage the first door, push the stroller thru, then somehow configure the stroller and your body just right to be able to then open the second door. At this point I am pretty much climbing up the wall in order to make enough room for the second door to open and to be able to push the stroller thru.

Phew! Made it in. Did what we needed to do then made our way back thru the stupid door set up. Stroll back out to the vehicle, get items in vehicle, get G in vehicle and take stroller to the back of the vehicle to fold it up and stow it away. This is where things just seem to go drastically WRONG. My stroller...its just a little folding umbrella stroller. Easy, peasy. Push in the little bar at the bottom, then move it to the side and voila! Folded stroller. No. NO. Push in the little bar at the bottom, then move it to the side and then realize that my flip flop is now stuck in the stroller, along with my foot. Try to move my foot around, shake it a little, nothing. Its not movin. I am now balancing on one foot, attempting to bend over to release my flip flop, all the while receiving great narratives from my son. Mama, are you okay? Mama, why are you jumping? Mama, can I jump, too?

Its fine, G. Mama is fine. Im just trying to get my shoe out of the stroller. This satisfies him for a minute. Here I am. Trunk wide open, kid in the car, me jumping up and down on one foot with a stroller attached to the other foot ,trying to get my foot at least out of the shoe. Did I mention there was pain associated with this whole thing. My foot is now pinched in the hinge of the stroller. Im trying really hard not to just start dropping *F bombs* everywhere, when, all of a sudden the sky opens up and the biggest torrential downpour is upon me. Yes, you read right. I am now hopping on one foot, with a stroller attached to me, and it is POURING down rain. Beautiful. This is just beautiful.

G, seeing the rain, yells to me, Mama, its raining. Do you see it? Mama, you are getting all wet, mama. Get the umbrella, Mama. Fast. Yeah, get the umbrella, I say. Cuz thats what I need right now. The damn umbrella!(of course, I say this all in my head) Outloud, I say, Wow, it is raining. Mama cant really reach the umbrella right now, hunny. It is under all those bags in the back. At this point, had I been in my van, I would have put myself and the stroller all into the back and closed the hatch. BUT, no. I am in my husband' s car. There is not room for me to do that. So, instead I manage to sit myself down, sort of, in the trunk, lift my foot high enough to grab ahold of the stroller and then proceed to use my hands to first get my (very sore) foot out of the shoe, and then yank with all my might to get my shoe out of the stroller so that I can toss the whole thing(no, not folded) into the trunk and get into the DRY front seat to SIT. For just a minute. I let out a huge sigh of relief to be done with that event.

Its then that G says, Mama, you still need to buckle me. Yep, I do, I say. So, back out into the rain to get to the back seat to lean in and get G safely buckled in.

To which he says, Mama, did you have fun jumping in the rain? You really should have had your rain boots on.


The big picture

Hint #2 revealed

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

CSA Share


You know you have received an amazingly good CSA share when your husband goes to pick it up and cant fit it all in the bag...so he has to use the diaper bag for the overflow.

Which is really great, except now the diapers smell like powdered corn!

Monday, August 18, 2008

second verse, same as the first

Only the chorus has changed.

I strained apples this time. Of course, I also had that nice little heart to heart with my strainer! So, that surely made an impact as well.

The apples were a piece of cake. And I had virtually no clean up! Basically followed the same directions as I did with the tomatoes.

I got two of these mixing bowls full of sauce. Now I just have to sweeten it a bit and then we're off to canning!


I have another batch of tomatoes to do in the next few days, so I will give an update on if I have an easier go of it the second time around.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Shhhhhh

Hey.

You.

Yes, you.

Come here a sec. (please?)

I have a secret. Shhhhhh.

This secret is BIG. Really big.
(okay, I should say, its big to me. There is, of course, a chance that you may not find it as huge as me.)(Im not sure how that could possibly be, but I will make sure to leave myself open to that idea!)

Sadly, I cant tell you. Yet.

But I can give you a hint.

This secret is so monumental that it has reached a certain status in this
household. "Chain" status. What does this mean? This means that we have entered the "countdown" stage.


That's the only hint you get for now.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Summer Harvest

Things have really begun to take off around here. We are overflowing with cucumbers and tomatoes. Here is what I harvested from my garden today.



I am loving all the tomatoes...however, I am not loving the fact that I am gonna have to pull out that strainer again. I think she and I may have a little heart to heart before we begin this time.


These I harvested from somewhere else. So, not my trees, but we still got to pick them! They will be made into applesauce and maybe apple butter. And the donuts you see are to die for. Notice how there were already a few missing? Snackin in the van...totally had to bust out the package before we got home. Yum!


Finally, last, but not least. 10 # of blueberries. And I didnt even have to wrangle any snakes to get them! My ma brought them home for me on her way back from a trip to Michigan.



Can you tell that I took 3 1/2 cups outta there? Yeah, me neither.



But heres what I made. Delicious blueberry bars.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Finally

At long last.

I GOT MY BAG!

The original bag that I spoke about in my earlier post was actually sold when S
went to the Etsy shop to put in his order. So, what should Michelle do? The sweet, sweet person she is...she offered to make another one for me. Even in the midst of all her summer craft shows that she was so busily preparing for. Her and my S sent emails back and forth, conspiring!

The package actually came a few weeks ago, but of course, I was made to wait to open it. All that birthday protocol and crap! (And no, I didnt find any sympathy when I spoke to a friend. Whine, whine, whine, she said....you have to follow birthday rules, you cant open it early, blah, blah, blah) Fine.

So, hold on to your seats my friends...Drum roll, please.


Isnt it just lovely? Dont you just love it? No, you cant touch it. Stop. Dont put your dirty hands on it. Quit it.

Thank you so much Michelle. Can you tell I am in love with it?

Monday, August 11, 2008

canning

And so it begins.

The time has come to drag out all the canning equipment. It will now stake its claim to a portion of my counter and become a permanent fixture till well into the Fall.



I have made my first batch of tomato sauce this season!



This year we tried to make the sauce a different way. Last year we cored and
blanched and peeled all the tomatoes and then just cooked them down and mashed them and mashed them till it was a consistency that we wanted for the sauce. It ended up having more seeds than we wanted.

This year, we had a new tool. The strainer for our kitchen aid mixer.



So, all we had to do was to core and quarter the tomatoes and then boil them for a little bit.



Then we ran them thru the strainer.
This is the part that is supposed to make this whole process easier. Supposed to, I say. The point being that it cuts out alot of steps. You just run the tomatoes thru the strainer and it "strains" out all the seeds and peeling and everything.



You are then left with the good, juicy stuff that you cook down and make into delicious sauce.



Let me just tell you. It makes a huge freakin mess. Huge.

First of all, me being, well, me....I had to use a stool just to operate the strainer. Who knew you had to be tall to make tomato sauce...I stand on the stool, add my tomatoes to the strainer and turn on my mixer. Then you have this little plunger device that you use to push the tomatoes thru the chute to get to the strainer. Push the plunger down.....push the tomatoes down. No. Push the plunger down, ever so gently, causing tomato juice to squirt up and spray all over everything. Me, the cabinets, the walls, the sink, the floor(which I had just mopped by the way). I attempt to clean as I go. I am a clean as I go cooker. So, it makes sense to be a cle
an as I go strainer. Actually, no, it doesnt. I gave up the whole cleaning thing very quickly into the process as I see tomato juice running down the counter and then feel it splash onto my foot.



I look at my foot, I look at the strainer, I look at my foot again. Stupid strainer, I say. Stupid, stool that my foot rests upon. Stupid tomatoes. Okay, you get the picture.

All in all the first experience the strainer and I had together was not ideal. It got the job done. It saved me time to a certain degree, till you factor in the cleaning issue. I will try it again. Im not sure what I can do differently. But there must be something. Maybe I can talk real nice to it. Maybe I can change things up and use apples next time. Maybe apples would be better....

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Taking care of kids, raising adults

Have I ever mentioned how much I love to put my kids to work?

Really. I love it. From the day they were old enough to have a chore, I gave them one. As soon as the day came that they were able to help me do something, they got to learn how to do it on their own. Yes, it always takes a bit longer to reach the goal, but the look on their face as they begin to realize that they were the ones that got the job done. The look is priceless. The feeling they get when they know, beyond a
shadow of a doubt, that it was they that made that bed, or cleaned that tub, or made that lunch....it just empowers them. They feel like they can take on the world.

I remember the first time that K made cookies on her own. She had the recipe out, the ingredients all ready to go, the oven preheated...the whole deal. She was so proud of herself when she pulled that first tray from the oven. I, as the mama, was even more proud. See, I believe that work is something you learn how to do. And when you teach your kids how to do it you are preparing them for their life as an adult. Giving them the skills they need to know in order to navigate themselves thru many situations, but also giving them the invaluable gifts of pride and dedication and self worth. Letting them see that they can do things on their own.
Letting them see that mistakes will be made, but that they can also be corrected and learned from. So that next time, the job may go a little easier.

As my kids navigate thru the day there are few things that they ask for help with. They would rather try it out themselves and see if they can do it first. Then, after they have tried a few times to get things right, well, then they may ask if I can give them any suggestions. Any helpful hints on how to get the job done.


This weekend was one of those real proud mama moments. The kids asked if they could go out and help S build the fence for the backyard. By all means, I say, knock yourself out. I have to say I was almost on the verge of some tears to see the kids using the power tools all on their own and working together so easily. Talking things thru when they saw a potential problem.




It made my day. It made all those times that things took just a little bit longer so worth it. So very worth it.



Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Mama rule #3

Actually, no. You may not eat your dessert in the living room. You can sit at the counter.

The request comes in. May I have dessert? Sure, I say. May I eat it in the living room? No. What about on the living room floor? Of course not. You may have it at the counter, I say. They say, what about if I eat it on the wood floor? I say, you want to want to eat your dessert on the wood floor? Yes, they say. I say, well, that seems like a good compromise. And I laugh a little to myself.

Enjoying a snack. See how he has to have his feet on the carpet? His way of saying...I am, in fact, partially in the living room.



Look how close the chair and counter are to the wood floor, which is also equal distance to the living room.....I would have chosen to sit in a chair. The kids however, seem to be partial to the floor. Im not sure what the draw is...but hey, it works, right?