Thursday, October 29, 2009

Harvest Time! and Lemons from Lemonade

Do you remember this post?

At the time, the garden was just getting underway. We had only been able to harvest some lettuce for awesome salads, and weren't sure how things would progress due to the rather temperate summer we were having.

Well, a few things turned out just great.

Yes, this is a tomato the size of Adam's head.

And mind you, the kid has a pretty good size melon.

We harvested quite a few tomatoes before the rest chose not to turn from green to red. We had a ton of them sitting on our counter. In addition, we inherited some peppers from other growers who had a plethora.

We thought we'd try our hands at salsa.

So, we downloaded a few recipes from the Internet and started going. From the size of our tomatoes, we thought we'd have TONS of jars.

We got six.

Our corn didn't really grow as we had hoped.
We got 7 ears.
That look like this:

That probably totaled about 49 kernels total. :)
But we're HOPS! We won't let that get us down!
Because after all, if we can make lemons from lemonade...

We don't need to eat corn to get the most out of the stalks.

A letter from mommy

Dearest boys,

I would greatly appreciate if you waited until 7am to wake up on days off. However, AFTER 6am is essential to your survival.

All my love, Mommy

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I'd like to thank the Academy...

Ok, I've been slacking!!! I'd like to thank my biggity bloggity friend, Keely for my awesome awards! I feel special. Keely did give me carte blanche to slack a bit on the posting of my awards... and I did not tell her that I am the world's biggest procrastinator...but here they are!

The splash award

The Splash Award is given to alluring, amusing, bewitching, impressive, and inspiring blogs...

(I think I fall into the amusing category.)

Over the top award...

So, of course this award comes with some rules..
1. Answer the questions can only use one word answers.
2. Pass along to six of your favorite bloggers.
3. Alert them that you have given them this award.
4. Have fun!

The Fun Part
1. Where is your cell phone? dead
2. Your hair? colored
3. Your Mother? awesome
4. Your Father? original
5. Your favorite food? Quinoa
6. Your dream last night? forgotten
7. Your favorite drink? water
8. Your dream/goal? travel
9. What room are you in? kitchen
10. Your hobby? blogging
11. Your fear? hell
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? house
13. Where were you last night? sleeping
14. Something you aern't? organized
15. Muffins? gluten free
16. Wish list item? furniture
17. Where did you grow up? water
18. Last thing you did? breakfast
19.What are you wearing? softies
20. Your TV? old
21. Your pets? Molly
22. Friends? awesome
23. Your life? good
24. Your mood? content
25. Missing someone? No
26. Vehicle? running
27. Something your not wearing? makeup
28. Your favorite store? Kohl's
29.Your favorite color? green
30. When was the last time you laughed? today
31. When was the last time you cried? election
32. Your best friend? Dave
33. The one place that I go to over and over? grocery
34. One person who emails me regularly? boss
35. Favorite place to eat? Red Robin

Ok...pass it on:

1. Heidi

2. Lori ann

3. Joanna

Here are the rules:
Say thanks and give a link to the presenter of the award.
Share "10 Honest Things" about myself.
Present the award to 7 others whose Blogs I find brilliant in content and/or design, or those who have encouraged me.
Tell those 7 people they've been awarded Honest Scrap and inform them of these guidelines in receiving.

1. I used to think I really wanted a little girl, but now that I have two boys I can't imagine mothing a girl. I'm glad God knows what He's doing- because I sure don't!

2. My dream vacation is to go back to Germany with Dave.

3. My biggest pet peeve is inconsiderate people. I could seriously slap them.

4. I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up.

5. I hate stuffitis, but I'm drooling over new furniture for the living room. (I never said I wasn't a hypocrite)

6. I have a phobia of dentists. I hate going. I turn into a monster. Really, there's a special sticker on my chart to alert the dentist that I'm a "challenging patient."

7. I'm saving select pieces of the boys' clothing to make them quilts when they graduate from high school.

8. I don't like being around negative people. At all. If you complain about something, you better be ready with a possible solution- or I'll find one for ya.

9. Cartoons I watched as a kid include (but are not limited to): The Smurfs, The Snorks and Thundercats.

10. I met my husband at a country bar.

Ok, recepients:

1. Rachel

2. Jamie

3. Mama4Real

4. Paige

5. Brittney

And, I also thank Joanna for the Best Blog award.

And the academy award goes to:

1. Keely

2. Mama M.

3. Kami

4. Jessica

5. Hillary

6. Lisa

7. Cristy

Monday, October 26, 2009

Not Me! Monday

Ah yes, someone here has a "case of the Mondays." I'm not sure if I'm getting that plague going around, having issues with allergies, or just plain off...whatever it is needs to go away. But, just for you...dear bloggy world, I will strap on my smiley face and see if I can sound cheerful and upbeat. :)

Ahhh- see- sideways smile, already a good start.

I am not ridiculously behind in posting updates about my 101 list (see right column under links). I did not find pictures in my camera from June that have not been posted. I'm not a procrastinator.

I do not use updating the blog as a way to procrastinate other things on my "to do list." My list does not have items numbered 1-42 with nothing crossed off at 10 am today. I am not a slacker.

I did not surprise my husband by making him a dip for his chips the other day- just to distract him from the unkept house. I did not fail to fold the kitchen towels (all downstairs) meaning I had to use my jeans as a towel to wipe off the sour cream that got on my finger. I was not thinking "oh, these jeans need to be washed anyway." I did not accidentally wear them three days later (unwashed) when I pulled the wrong jeans off the floor in the dark. I did not notice this until 2pm...upon which time I did not think to myself, "well, the damage is done, I'm a dirty girl today, so I'll stay in these jeans until pj time." Nope, I'm the epitome of cleanliness, and would be appalled at wearing jeans with spoiled sour cream wiped on them. I never use my bedroom floor as a hamper and dresser, and realizing that I was wearing dirty jeans, I would remove them immediately and clean the exposed areas. Gosh- WHO would do that? Not me!

I do not have to add two markers and a crayon to my melted-in-the-oven list from this post. Nope! I have learned my lesson from the other long-and-distinguished list of items that have met their demise in my oven. There is no way my learning curve would be that long.

I do not have two computer games checked out of the library that I cannot find. I have not extended their check out three times already. I did not try again today only to find that there is now a "hold" on these by another library user. I am not hosed. I have not torn my house apart looking for these and am not totally afraid that my 2 year old threw them away. (Because, you 2 your old does not throw everything of value away - and this is not at all what I believe happened to my original wedding ring. Ugh.)

I did not find my gluten free nemesis at the pumpkin patch last weekend when Colin chose a pumpkin spice donut with cream cheese frosting for his snack. I did not wince when he pointed to the grand hoo-ha donut. I did not drool over it the whole time he was eating it. I did not take it one step further by continuously asking "Mmm, Colin...that looks yummy." "Is that good? You enjoying that?" I did not inhale the yummy good scent of the leftover donut until I was almost high on it. Ugh...I did not totally curse myself for being gluten free this day. I have not been craving pumpkin spice donuts with cream cheese frosting since that day.

And to top it off...(you know, like cream cheese frosting), here's a few things I did not say this week:

  • Honey, I'm driving, I cannot stop to kiss your ouchie. ...What? Your ouchie is on your butt?......No, Colin, I will not kiss your butt...............No, I will not kiss Adam's butt...........No, Adam will not kiss your butt...............No, Daddy will not kiss your butt..........No, you don't want to kiss daddy's butt........................yes, it is stinky.

  • Wow, put stickers in your hair!........Yes, you do look handsome....And I see you found mommy's lipstick..........well, it's not that handsome in your hair, but ok...very creative........and now you're without clothing and you've colored blue and brown all over yourself....and daddy's boots top off the ensemble....nice. How about some bubbles in your bath?

  • Yes, Adam I do have hairs in weird places on my eyebrows..................... Well, that's because I haven't had them waxed in a long time and I cannot find the tweezers. Do you know where the tweezers went?........................ Colin was tweezing his eyebrows? Doubt that................................ Yes, Adam, I do intend on getting rid of that hair as soon as the new month comes along and the envelopes are full again............................... Yes, I'm looking forward to not being scary too.

Ok, I'm off to start the work week. I hope you all have a great week too. To see what everyone else has not been doing, go here.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Fun fall days

Have I ever told you that I love fall?

...Well, I do!

Spring and summer hold a lot of allergy issues for me (and Colin), so fall - when the air is crispy- allows for better breathing. Consequently, we start to come out of hybernation. Yes, yes...I know. We're a little backwards. But you do what you gotta go, right? (yes, I just wrote gotta. Sue me.)

So far during our short start to fall, we've managed to get one family outing (minus Dave), two pumpkin patches, and three tractor rides under our belt. Here's a few highlights:

MOPS Fall fun day
Colin loved the scarecrow. He kept saying, "CHEESE, mama!"
Oh, you want me to take your, ok.


This was taken on tractor ride #1 (sorry, no pic of the tractor)
We learned about the farm, we threw our apple cores at an apple core target, and picked up a pumpkin along the way.


Tractor Ride #2 was a nice private ride with my boys and my mom in my home town.

This was courteousy of my old church.

There was a wedding that day in those woods. They looked beautiful, but very very cold.

We also saw 5 deer in the woods on this ride.

Lots of fun!

Then to the pumpkin patch:

Colin had to sit on everyone he saw. Not sure where he gets that from.


Family fun day (minus Dave- who was home trying to work on the house).
This is one of the many "destination harvest trail" spots in my area.
This one is very close to my house, and not as commercialized.
There were no lines, reasonable rates, easy parking, and friendly workers.
Great way to spend a few hours on Saturday morning.

Straw maze:

Corn box:
I love whoever invented these! My boys love them!

They had tons of animals here.

The fav. of the day were the goats.
They had a castle like mountain to climb.

Tractor ride #3:
My favorite by far.

Colin was scoping out the pumpkin patch.

My tractor riding boys.

I wonder how many more tractor rides lie in our future?

Only time will tell.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I love fall.

What can I say?

I LOVE fall!

Dave and I love everything there is to love about this season.

When the leaves start changing, there is no stopping the dopey smile on my face.

When the colored leaves start to fall

- almost like snow-

well, it does my soul good.

Birthdays, engagements, anniversaries...

...big moments for this family exist during this season.

(not to mention the promise of allergy season ending!)

Pumpkins, tractor rides, harvesting, donuts and cider....
....what's there not to like?

I took a walk the other day, and took some pictures of a sampling of trees I see daily right now.
It never ceases to amaze me the vibrant color I see on the trees this time of year. It's almost as if its God's personal little fireworks show. He's reminding us that He's everything.
Loud boisterous change...
...and quiet flickers of colors
...He's here.

He puts on a show.
For our viewing pleasure.

So, I'm heading out for a walk. To breathe a little crisp air (hopefully my nose will run). To smell leaves burning. To enjoy the fireworks on the trees. To think about God, talk to Him, and thank Him for the view.

And at the top of my driveway, I look to the right.

And to the left....

And I'm thankful.
There's just something about fall.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Not Me! Monday

I'm glad to hear that SO many of you enjoyed our last Not Me! Monday post. Yes, that was definitely a *highlight* of my parenthood journey. Now, back to regular "basic" Not Me! posts.

My kindergartner is not sick again today. He has not been sick since last Wednesday evening. I was not mildly upset this morning to have to wake him up well past his normal wake up time only to find out he slid back down the sickness slope. I was not totally looking forward to getting back into our normal routine, disinfect the house, and run some desperately needed errands. Nope, Not me! I'm a child-centered mom, revolve my life around my children's needs, and always put them first. I never think of "me-time." Thinking that I need to refresh myself in order to be a better wife and mom is just plain selfish.

I do not encourage my two year old to play with Play-Doh in hope that the nasty taste it leaves on his hands would discourage him from sucking his thumb. Not Me! First of all, not washing after playing with said Doh is unsanitary and gross. Second, I would never enlist the help of a children's commodity to aid me in something that a little extra effort of parenting could do. That would just be plain-out laziness. Thank goodness I don't do that at all.

I was not totally stoked when two neighbors asked me to gather their mail and let their dogs out when they were gone. I do not have a totally old-fashioned need for a neighborhood community. That being said, I realize that in order to keep this neighborhood feeling, I need to dress the part. So, I most certainly did not grace the doorsteps of these neighbor's houses in my blue monkey pajama pants. I would never disrespect someones home by showing up in my evening attire. Especially not at 2 pm. Nope! I'm all about appearances, and strive to be the best trophy wife I can be. (Yeah, even I'm laughing out loud at this one!)

I do not have a toddler that is totally into our home appliances. He does not put everything in the oven and broiler drawer. It has not taken me 5 separate instances of smoke filled house/ smoke detector going off before I finally learned my lesson. I do not have 3 burned socks, a charred granola bar, a partially melted Uof M coat, a nonexistent pen, and a ruined 8x8 stoneware pan as proof that I have a delayed learning curve. I am a smart mom and always on my toes. I never do anything on auto-pilot. That would just be totally careless of me.

Ok, that's all I've got this week. I'm sure there's tons more...but nothing comes to mind. To see what everyone else is up so, click here.

Have a great week!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sometimes I love this house...

Turns out that this area we live in has roots.

And history.

And a bunch of people who love this little dirt road in the middle of the city.

Turns out that the people who built this house (with hand tools and elbow grease) live less than a mile up this exact same road.

One of our neighbors still walks the mall with them, and asked them to stop by.

Dave and I were thrilled to meet them and learn more about our Love Shack.

They gave us local history, some copied pictures, and the history of our little abode.

They were excited to see the old house. They were also delighted to see our addition. It was a lot of fun talking to them. The only regret I have is that I didn't take a picture of them in front of the house.
Anyway, after their visit I asked them for the pictures digitally for a photo book of our project (read: ordeal). Their son just sent these to me yesterday, and I thought I'd share.
The Love Shack was originally built in 1948. The land was purchased for $700, and the house itself was a house kit purchased from a store called Herpolshiemer's for $4000. The kit contained everything necessary to complete the house- except for the hand tools. Flooring, wiring, windows, nails, etc.
The original siding was half-lap logs standing vertically next to each other. There was a loft area over the bedrooms where her sister (or aunt, can't remember) stayed. The couple had one child in this house, but had another before they moved out.

Here's a picture of the completed little house:

This is a side view- and if you look at the picture on my left side bar, you can see that it is no longer bare land. A lot of things have changed in the past 60 years! That road to the right of the house is the main road that our street is off of (for those of you local to the area, you know which road I'm talking about). Today, you can't even see that road from my kitchen window.

In 1950, they added the back addition. It was originally two separate rooms- one bedroom and one sun room full of windows. Later, the windows were replaced by drywall and it became another bedroom. Below is a picture of the guys working with a saw, hammer and nails. Isn't it awesome!?!?!?
(BTW, that window that they're on top of used to be my "bedroom" window for 4 years.)

This couple is awesome! He was the original band director for the school district we live in. Believe it or not, he STILL plays in a band today (every Thursday)! Some of the workers above were his jazz band mates. I think that's just too cool. He also served during the Korean War.
Our visit was brief (at least for Dave and I). We could have talked to them all night, but I think they were getting tired after a full day. Dave was excited to tell him about all the things he's discovered crawling around under the house, and I loved talking to her about raising a family in "close quarters." They commended us for doing our project debt free which made Dave and I proud.
This house is really putting some really neat people in our path.
So, yes....
sometimes I love this house.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Commission, Adam and FPU Jr.- and a really funny story

A month ago, Adam came home with chapel offering envelopes. We thought this would be a good idea to teach him about tithing.

He needed to earn money first before he could tithe off it.

Enter: FPU Jr.

Adam was actually excited to have some jobs. Yes, friends...he's a Hop- they are born and bred workers. The acorn is not falling far from the tree.

So, we put together a commission chart. A few things he does daily, and a few weekly.

Daily chores are paid 5 cents each day for: making his bed, cleaning up his clothes, cleaning up toys (WITHOUT A FIGHT), and feeding Molly breakfast.

Weekly chores are paid 50 cents each and include: helping me dust the furniture, cleaning the toilet bowls, folding towels and washcloths, and one daddy chore (usually sweeping out the garage).

He also can get fines. His infractions include: saying "I hate you" to anyone, having to be told three times to do something, and getting on the red circle. (We have three circles on the fridge- green, yellow and red- if he's acting up, he has to change the circle- red is bad).

The fines have been a good thing. He's really thinking first before he does something.

Every Sunday we sit down for payday. We talk to Adam about money, what he's earned, what his fines are and why. We talk about quarters, nickels, pennys, etc. We fill his chapel envelope, fill his spending jar, and set aside some for a run to the bank.

The first time we did this took longer because we wanted to explain it thoroughly. So, we talked to him about spending money like on toys and ice cream...he got that idea right away.

Then we talked about saving. He liked the idea of having money in the bank. He really liked the idea of going to the bank- because they give out suckers.

Then came tithing. Dave took this conversation over. Here is what they said:

Dave: Ok, now we need to talk about tithing.

Adam: Tithing?

Dave: Yes, do you know who do we give money to?

Adam: What?

Dave: Who do we give money to?

Adam: Um...I don't know.

Dave: Ok, who tells us to give our money to Him, even though he doesn't need it?

Adam: Um.... Barack Obama.

Yes, are smarter then you know.
Thought you all would enjoy that funny little story. :)
BTW, #51- Start Adam on FPU Jr. Done!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Could have gone so so wrong...

There are moments as an adult that I look back to my childhood and think, "How did I survive that?!?!"
For instance, getting a dog bite on my eye, hitting the water hard (on my face) while water tubing.

You know, those kind of memories.

Dave has many of those stories as well.
And now, those stories are starting to build for my children as well.
I was out of the room to stir my chicken corn chowder and add pepper (a total of 4 minutes), and came back to my youngest on the floor, crying and holding a bloody gash in the side of his neck.
In that 4 minutes, Adam pulled down the blind strings, convinced Colin he could fly if he jumped from the back of the couch onto the floor. Colin had the string in his left hand crossing in front of his neck and jumped toward the right.
First, I said a prayer of thanksgiving that he wasn't hanging by the cord. Second, I tried to convince Adam that those cords are NEVER to come down from being tied up on top of the blinds. Third, I explained to both boys that they are NEVER to try to fly from anything - unless they're in a big airplane paying a pilot to fly them.
It could have been so much worse. I know, it wasn't. I'm thankful for that. But, this happened over 2 weeks ago, the scab has healed, and I'm only now able to write about it.
4 minutes.
I was gone for 4 minutes.
This is what it looked like an hour after it stopped bleeding.

Thank you, God for watching out for my kids when I can't.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The best fall meal in the world!

This is my mom's recipe. I love this meal. Every time the air turns crisp, I start craving it. It's incredibly easy, cheap, and (best of all) YUMMY!

You'll need:
  • acorn squash
  • pork chops (I like boneless, medium thickness)
  • butter, honey or brown sugar
  • tin foil
  • shallow baking sheet
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Cut Squash in half and scoop seeds out.

3. Pick 2 of the three fillers (honey, butter or brown sugar) to place in the middle. Here, I chose honey and butter. Small amounts of butter go a long way! (don't ever use margarine!) 1 TBSP of sugar or honey is good per squash.

4. Lay pork over the opening of the squash sealing in the fillers.

5. Wrap in foil.

6. Place all your squash/pork foil balls on the sheet.

7. Bake at 375 for one hour- turning every 15 minutes. The foil will leak some juices- that's why you have the shallow baking sheet.

8. When the hour is complete, cut open the foil, dish up and enjoy! Shown below with eggplant.

Cost per serving: $2.94

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Easy Fall Craft for kids

I LOVE fall!

I love to get outside and walk around smelling the crisp air and appreciating the color array God has made. My favorite are those maples that almost look like they're on fire from the inside out. They're so vibrant!
This week is peak color in Michigan. This is always a good time to get out and collect leaves with the boys. I tried to turn our "loot" into crafts. This is what I came up with- easy, fast and incredibly cost effective!

You'll need:
  • a pile of leaves (dried and de-bugged)
  • clear contact paper
  • scissors

First, gather leaves.

Cut 2 pieces of contact paper per child. I usually cut them about 18" long.
Peel one sheet of contact paper and place it sticky side up on the table.
Allow kids to decorate the sticky paper with leaves.
You'll want to leave some empty spaces so the paper can stick together.

When they're done, peel the other side and stick them together.
If you're like me, you'll need to trim the edges a bit.

The boys love their place mats! They're excited to eat meals at their "fall" place settings.
Cost per craft: $.75