Tuesday, June 30, 2009
My sister had Oscar almost 6 1/2 years ago. He made my parents grandparents and changed their lives. He and Sarah lived with them during part of her pregnancy the first few weeks of his life because my brother-in-law serves in the Air Force and was gone for training. His arrival was an amazingly exciting time for all of us and he moved me to tears the first time I met him. He is a fun little boy and I've called him (and later his sisters) munchkin since he was tiny. He loves planes, trains, cars, his accordion, and his baby cousin. He fell in love with Mike as soon as he met him and even has a little accordion just like his uncle. He even played on stage when they were visiting with Mike twice. He almost backed out the first time, but after he knew he could have his own microphone he was all for it. Then the second time he worked his mic talking to the crowd and thanking people when they clapped. Turns out he can be a real ham! I've so loved watching him with our little one. He has talked to him on the phone (actually more than he talks to me now) and just loves on him when we get to see them. He is eager to hold him and is so gentle and loving towards him. I've always loved this little guy and it makes my heart swell when he loves my favorite two men too!
The twins came along just 15 months later. Twins do not run in our family and it was a real blessing when we found out they were coming! There is a story behind it, but that is for another day...
Lucie is the older of the twins. She is not just the 2 minutes older that it shows on her birth certificate. She was actually concieved about a week earlier if I remember correctly. An unusual, but wonderful thing. She was born with black hair, but now is the blonder of the two. At times she is so much like me that Mike asks if I gave birth to her. She is talkative, bubbly, has a great sense of humor, is a natural motherer, can be bossy, is starting to act like a mini-teenager, can throw a temper tantrum that would blow your mind and is still so sweet that she can make my teeth hurt! When she was a baby my sister would call so I could listen to her belly laugh. When we visited them last Christmas she was always patting my 7 week pregnant belly and talking to the baby. She crawled in bed with us Christmas morning and said "Merry Christmas, Baby!" to my tummy. Talk about melting my hormonal heart! That trip she was so anxious to see me that when we would call to check in (they live about 13 hours away from us) she would sadly say, "My Heather is on the road." It never seemed like we would get to them! That night when we pulled up she was to the door so fast that my sister didn't even know we were there. She was jumping up and down yelling, "My Heather, My Heather!" She is My Lucie, My Lucie.
Emma is the youngest of the crew, but not by much :) She has always been a blond little beauty. She is getting so tall and has become quite a little model when given the chance to pose for a camera. Emma is a special little soul. She has been diagnosed on the spectrum of autism, but most would never guess it. She is so loving! A funny story about Emma happened as we prepared for our wedding. The girls were to be our flower girls. We knew Lucie would love the dresses, but Emma was hating anything that was dress like. My sister thought we might be able to get her in it if we put pants underneath, but when we saw them a few months before the wedding she wouldn't try it on at all. There were tears and it was not a battle worth fighting. We figured that we would find her another outfit if she wouldn't wear the dress at the wedding. About 2 weeks before the wedding the kids all watched the movie Cinderella. From that moment on (to this point) she has been a princess whenever possible! She couldn't wait to get in her princess dress, she wears dresses as much as possible and the bigger, puffier the dress, the better. The only hard part was getting her to not wear the dress the three days before the wedding! She loves her little cousin like mad as well. When we sent his birth announcement she carried it around for days. No one else could touch it because she wanted him all to herself.
I am lucky enough to be Godmother to Emma and Lucie and am so grateful to have that role. These three munchkins are such a blessing to me and to our entire family. I wish we lived close enough to see each other more, but am just thankful to have them in my life. I couldn't have picked better cousins for my little guy if I tried. A big thank you to my sister and brother-in-law for having such great kids!
For more things everyone is grateful for head over to Heavenly Homemakers. It is Gratituesday!
Monday, June 29, 2009
Friday, June 26, 2009
craigslist posting about a rummage sale that had canning items. She originally didn't have it out with her rummage items, but after I e-mailed her she remembered that her grandmother's was still around somewhere. She found it and e-mailed me to let me know to come to the sale or to call her. I touched base with her Sunday morning and she agreed to hold it for me till I could get there Sunday night. We also agreed on $5 for the colander. I hadn't seen it, but she assured me it was in great shape, although it had been well used.
I was thrilled to see that it was indeed in great shape when I got there. It is different than the one I grew up with in many ways, but is the same basic item. This one is pointier at the end, has a stand that comes apart for easy storage, and the wooden mallet rolls a bit easier. I did end up buying 12 pint jars in their original box with their rings for $1 as well and they threw a few bath toys in for little guy. I felt GREAT about the $6 I had spent and proceeded to fill the jars with pineapple the very next day!
Today I was rummaging on my way home from work and stopped by an estate sale. I often do not have much luck at estate sales as they are often priced much higher and are rarely filled with things that we need at this point in our life. This one seemed fairly typical with lots of beautiful crystal bowls marked for $10 and $20. However there were clothes for $1 and tons and tons of really great shoes. If only my feet were a size 6! I'd be the proud owner of pink crocs and white sandals right now, but alas, I am not as mine are more like an 8.
exactly like the one I grew up with and that my grandma has. I figured I could try them both out and keep the one I like best. Or keep them both and have one to have for a helper at some point. Or sell one to pay for both of them. I decided to rationalize it anyway I could and bring it home to meet the other one!
I'm excited to give them a whirl this summer. I know I'll use it for tomato juice and applesauce. The label also mentioned using it to 'rice' potatoes, which I had never thought of. We may have to make mashed potatoes, just so I can give that a whirl! I even read that you can use it for pumpkin. It keeps the seeds and fibers behind so it would make mashing pumpkin go a bit quicker, potentially.
So, price breakdown. I spent $8 for 2 perfect condition colanders. On e-bay they are somewhat limited and seem to be around $20 or more. None have shown up on our craigslist in Milwaukee. Amazon has a similar one listed for $28. All in all I am so happy with what I got and I can't wait to wash them up and put them to work!
Any Frugal Finds in your life this week? I'd love to hear your great find stories!
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Today Summerfest begins. If you live anywhere around Milwaukee you know about The World's Biggest Music Festival. Summerfest runs from today until July 6th and it is jam packed with the biggest, craziest, loudest music you can imagine. There are performers from every genre (okay, most every) and the music goes all day long from noon until the cows come home. There are many, many stages of music, the big Marcus Amphitheater and all the food and beer you can consume as well. It really is a big deal here and people come from all over the place to have a great time down by the lake. And for one ticket you can see a huge range of acts and have a really full day of music. Not a bad deal all in all.
This year the big acts are:
Keith Urban/Counting Crows
Chicago/Earth, Wind and Fire
Stevie Wonder/John Legend
Kid Rock/Lynryd Skynrd
Bob Dylan/Willie Nelson
These shows require an additional ticket. It kind of gives you an idea of the range and quality of acts that they bring in to Milwaukee in just 11 days! If you are heading down to the lake enjoy yourself. The weather is perfect for Summerfest! Just don't forget the sunscreen and some water :)
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
I went to pick up more produce from our freecycle produce people this week. Unfortunately I missed last week when there were tons of great blueberries. BUMMER! However, I am so grateful for what we get that I can't be too upset!
This week I picked out about a dozen pineapples that were in need of processing ASAP, a few random red and green and orange peppers, an apple, a banana, 2 cukes and 5 bunches of asparagus. It wasn't as big of a load to bring home as usual, but the pineapples and asparagus are not something we usually buy so they are a treat. And everything was pretty usable, so not nearly so much ended up in the compost pile.
I took care of the peppers right away by chopping and flash freezing them and putting them into two freezer bags. I use these on pizzas, in soups, in any dish that I am going to saute onions and peppers and garlic and such. When cooked they are not much different from fresh.
The asparagus I took care of Monday evening after work. I cleaned them up good and got rid of the bad spots as some of the tips were a little slimy. Then I snapped them. Did you know that to find the woody end all you have to do is hold asparagus by the two ends and snap? The stalk will break where the tender ends and woody part begins. This way there is no waste of the tender asparagus and there is no tough asparagus in your dishes. So simple and so wonderful! The tough ends went in a bag in the freezer to be cooked down for soups. The tender parts got made into two casseroles of Asparagus and Poppy Seed Chicken from Tammysrecipes.com and one recipe of Ham, Cheese and Asparagus Pasta that is take off of a lasagna recipe I found. One chicken and the ham dishes went into the freezer for quick meals in the future. The other was lunch yesterday and today. The last of the asparagus is waiting to be grilled tomorrow. It is so hot that I think we need to use the grill as much as possible!
The apple and banana were eaten at work. Bad spots were tossed and the rest was enjoyed! The cucumbers are waiting patiently for me to slice them up for dinner.
The pineapple was the biggest undertaking, but it didn't take too long. The biggest challenge is that it is so hot here and I knew I wanted to can it...ugh! My first step was to peel or de-skin or just plain cut up the pineapple. I wasn't sure how to do it easily, so I found a little tutorial on The Pioneer Woman. It went really quickly and was pretty darn easy! As I did each pineapple I tossed the top, bottom, core, skin and bad spots into a big bowl to compost. If the flesh was really firm it went into another bowl and if it was softer then it went into a third bowl. This way I just boogied through the fruit and I do the next part without having to re-sort the fruit. I took all the 'good' pieces and chunked them like you'd get in a can at the store. I put a full bowl of it into the fridge to eat fresh. The rest I put in my big 8 cup measuring cup to can in pint jars.
The soft stuff was what I wasn't sure about. I considered making pineapple jam or just canning crushed pineapple. Can you believe that I couldn't find directions for canning crushed pineapple? And I don't have a food processor, so I wasn't sure how to crush the pineapple either. However, we have a bunch of jam already and I'd like to have the option to use it in other things so I decided to give it a go.
I used my KitchenAid stand mixer with the fine shredder attachment. It worked, but it wasn't exactly clean and it didn't do as good of a job as I'd have like. I'm thinking I should have used the course shred attachment or that maybe the pineapple is just too soft for that. There was sure a ton of juice!
Next step was to boil the pineapple for 10 minutes. I took some of the juice out of the crushed pineapple and put it in the chunk pot. Both pots got put on the stove and started heating up. At the same time I started the canning pot to get the water boiling. I used my 8 cup measuring cup to heat some of the water in the microwave. I figured the less time spent with the burners going, the better. Three pots boiling and the heat index is almost 100...craziness! The kitchen was hot enough and I hated the fact that the air was on and I was heating the house up too. Once the water was boiling and the pineapple was done cooking for 10 minutes I started putting it into pint jars.
I put 1 teaspoon of lemon juice in each pint jar to help with the color, but added no other sugar or water or anything. This is pineapple in its own element! I ended up with 5 pints of chunks and 7 pints of crushed pineapple. They processed for 15 minutes in the water bath.
So exciting to me that I am able to really utilize this produce and that it will be so helpful for our family. I am hoping to be able to find other ways to get produce this summer and fall as well. I know there are people who will have vegetables and fruit that will go to waste and I will be happy to help them glean their gardens!
On a side note I am SOOOOO excited to say that I found a canning colander! I e-mailed a bunch of people on craigslist who had canning items listed with their garage sale. One e-mailed back and had one for me. She wasn't putting it in the sale, but when I asked she remembered that she had her grandmothers. It is different from the one I grew up with, but is perfect! It is going to be loved and used by at least one more canner. I hope her grandmother is somewhere enjoying the fact that her stuff will be enjoyed!
Nothing grows as easily or elegantly as day lilies. These bright orange beauties have sent up their stalks and are getting ready to bloom again this year!
Shasta Daisies. They are simple, sweet and look amazing when many other flowers are finished. I love them massed into a simple glass milk bottle. We don't have these at our house yet and I miss my big bank of them along the side of my garage at my single girl house. So cheery, you just can't help but be happy when you see them!
Saturday, June 20, 2009
I had to go back to my part-time job after 12 weeks and Mike got to become the little one's caretaker while I was gone. Before that I had been the main event as we were nursing all the time and I was in full on baby mode. Mike took over duties like nobody's business and the boys have a good time when Mommy is gone to this day. I should mention that Mike has no siblings and had never really held a baby until ours was born, let alone changed a diaper. To say he had experience with babies or children would be a big stretch. I think it makes him an even bigger hero that he has stepped up to the plate in such a big way! He and little guy have a special bond and I'm glad that they have had time to be together without me getting in the way.
Little Guy's First Brewer's Game
I know lots of great Dads, but really wanted to brag on Mike. He is a great Father to our little guy! We both hope there will be more little ones in the future and I have no doubt that he'll be just as amazing with all of them too. Happy Father's Day Honey! Thanks for all you do for little guy and me.
This list is something I started doing last year when I had a big case of pregnancy brain! I knew there were specific things I wanted to find, but I was nervous that I would forget them as I often felt like I couldn't remember my phone number. I keep a list all year of things we could use, things we need, and things we want. Typically I have an idea of what the big stuff sells for on craigslist and new and keep in mind what I'd be willing to pay at a garage sale. As I find something specific I cross it off the list. Last summer I crossed almost every item off my list before I was finished! So far I've crossed off the backpack carrier, the outdoor baby swing, and the compost bin (we made one). I've got lots of things on there yet, but the season is still early. I've also got listed somethings that a co-worker is looking for and clothes my sister is wanting for my nieces for school next year. One the right I've got a list of babies from our birth class who are all turning 1 shortly. This is a visual clue to keep my eyes open for specific toys or books that fit their personalities and that I know their parents would appreciate.
I do not buy a ton of my gifts at rummage sales, my focus is on our family's needs. However, I will pick up something for someone if it is what I know they want or need. Most my friends and family know I am frugal and I don't think many of them would be shocked if I got them a second hand gift as long as it was appropriate. The great majority of gifts we give are new, but there are a few exceptions.
So my tips:
1. Focus on the time you do have, not the time you don't have. Try to drive different routes on your way home from work on Friday and Saturday to ensure possible exposure to rummage sales. Do not be afraid to stop and buzz through many sales on your way home from work.
2. Make a list of what your family needs/wants. Know your prices. Ask if you don't see what you need. I'm asking for a canning colander at every sale I stop at this year. Someone will have one!
3. If you want to outfit a child/children make an inventory sheet and keep it up to date. When you come home from rummaging add tally marks for the 'new' purchases as you take off tags, before they are even washed. Think ahead for the whole year. Do not forget things like hats, mittens, snow pants, swim trunks, pjs, socks. They can be bought for pennies at a rummage sale, but are pricey if you need them last minute. Do not be afraid to buy a few years ahead if it is a great deal.
4. Carry cash at all times. You never know when you'll pass a sale on a Thursday that has the perfect $10 leather chair that you've been wanting your whole life. Carry as much cash as you would want to spend on the biggest ticket item you are looking for. I'm looking for a bike trailer, so I'm carrying as much as we would want to spend on that.
5. Be open minded. Last year I bought a bag of baby spoons/forks for $.25. There were about 8 spoons and 3 forks. 2 of the spoons had names on them. My son is not named either of these names and he really doesn't care! The two pairs of capris I bought for $1 fit me just as well as the one pair I bought for $30 a few years ago. Why not keep it out of a land fill and save yourself some money at the same time?
6. Don't be afraid to walk away. There are hundreds of sales every year. Someone will have what you want at a price you want. If you can't live without it, buy it, but really if you didn't have it yesterday chances are you will survive another day without it! If the price seems crazy high don't fight about it, just walk away.
7. Have FUN! The rush of finding a good deal is awesome. The things you'll see are funny. The people you meet are sometimes crazy. Rummaging should be like a scavenger hunt...only with a great purpose. If it is stressing you out or you are beat, go home. There will be more sales another time.
8. Be patient and persistent. You will not find everything you need/want in one weekend. Do not even try. The season is long and the finds are going to be there. Just keep stopping at sales and you'll be amazed at what you find.
9. Delight in the unexpected. Last year I found a Pampered Chef bar server for $.25. Didn't really need it, but always wanted one. I snapped it up and use it and love it. Every purchase doesn't have to be on my list. The list keeps me on track, but I delight in the little finds that make our life prettier, easier or just more fun!
10. Check out some other great bloggers ideas about rummage sales.
Friday, June 19, 2009
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
When it all got cooked down and soft I added Strawberry gelatin. I call this Rhubarb-Strawberry Jam because there isn't any strawberry in it and there is lots and lots of rhubarb! The mixture boils about 3 minutes (stirring the entire time) until it becomes a jam like consistency. Then you can freeze it or you can can it. Funny, can can!
Mine was rather watery after the boiling so I tasted it. WAY too much Jello. We decided to proceed and see what it was like after a night in the fridge. The next morning it had set up like jam, but still tasted like Jello! I should say it set up like Jello and tasted like it too :) Not really edible as jam in my opinion, although Mike would have eaten it. He loves his sugar!
The dilemma was that I had used all the rhubarb up and needed to fix all this jam. Luckily I found two gallon bags of rhubarb in my freezer! I defrosted them, took most of the water out, cooked it down till it was sauce like, added a bit of sugar and all the jam. When they were well combined it tasted much, much better and was the right consistency! Thank goodness I didn't have to waste so much fruit, sugar and gelatin.
I packaged a bunch of little jars to take to work and share and canned the rest in a water bath for 5 minutes. These little hodge podge jars are fitting for my hodge podge jam! They all sealed and we have more jam in our house than we've ever had and its only the middle of June.
Rough guess on my quantities:
26 cups or so of rhubarb (10 fresh and 16 frozen)
10 cups of sugar
1/2 cup of water
4 packs of strawberry gelatin
Anyone have any different kinds of jam recipes to share?
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
The cake pictured below is a nod to Mike as well. At a fundraising dinner Fr. Ken agreed to play his accordion for the first time in front of the parish. He was very nervous and emotional as he said he wouldn't play until it was time for him to leave the parish...and now that time had come. Mike agreed to back him up and do a little playing as well. Fr. Ken got in position in the middle of the stage and they planted Mike behind the curtain with a microphone. Mike began playing The Clarinet Polka and Fr. Ken mimed it with his accordion. Everyone went nuts and was cheering...then Fr. lifted up his hands and the music kept on going! The crowd laughed like crazy. The gag went over really, really well and took a few of the nerves out! Fr. Ken then played a song and Mike helped him out. Mike continued to do a few more while Fr. Ken danced with some of the attendees and the night was a success. This cake is from his reception...made for a great photo. Look, no hands!
We will miss you Fr. Ken! Thank you for everything.
This post is also at Heavenly Homemakers Gratituesday. See more things we are grateful for here.
Friday, June 12, 2009
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
The pink peonies you see here are a bit of an heirloom in my family. I've been lucky enough to have a huge bank of them at my home growing up, a couple of them at my house when I was single and now they are at our home. When we get to move to the country they will be packing up their roots and coming with us. I also see them at my parents home (they moved to KY when I was in HS) and my grandparents home in SD. I'm sure you would find them at all my aunts homes as well. These peonies were the table centerpieces when my sister got married in Kentucky 9 years ago and they over flowed the huge vases we had on all 20 or so tables.
My sisters and I had many, many pictures taken along the bank of the blooms growing up. I even had a prom dress that was the color of the center of the peonies. That spring my mom took pictures of me in that dress with the flowers. I feel like these peonies are a part of my heritage and every spring I anxiously await seeing and smelling them. Those pink ladies smell just heavenly! There is no perfume that compares to the smell of our family's peonies.
We've been having a very cool spring here in Wisconsin and this week we finally (FINALLY) got to smell the wonderful peonies. Of course, I couldn't resist joining in the tradition!
The white ones are gorgeous and are a gift from a friend. They are also wonderful to look at and smell. I have a red plant as well, but it is still at my single girl house (now a rental for us) and I need to move it over here in the fall. My favorite will always, always be the pink ones.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Selective Squeamishness. I've been thinking about this a lot the last two weeks as I've dug through and processed and eaten through some fruit that many others would turn away from. I love this term and believe I originally found it in The Tightwad Gazette. (Seriously a great resource that anyone trying to live below their means should own!)
I grew up on a horse farm and there we grew a large percentage of our family food. We canned and froze almost all the vegetables and most of the fruit our family would eat throughout the year. We even raised our own beef. I think that as a child I wasn't squeamish about food because I knew the cycle of food. I helped my mom plant the gardens, weed, water, fight off potato bugs and other critters and then harvest and store. If a cauliflower had some bad areas we just cut them off, we didn't toss the whole thing. If some tomatoes had a few bad spots they got cut out and the rest still was used for canning tomato juice. We saw the bugs on the plants and knew the work it took to grow them. You didn't just throw it away, you did what you could to save what you could. There was very, very little waste.
Then I was a waitress and learned about tossing food because it was 'old' at the end of the day. I went to college and didn't have to work for the food I ate. I lived on my own and could pick what I wanted at the grocery store. Why would you buy less than 'perfect' food when you are paying hard earned money for it?
Now I am the grateful beneficiary of produce that is past its prime. Some is down right yucky. Some is almost perfect. Most is somewhere in between. I am learning to be selectively squeamish all over again! I am choosing to not let bad spots cause me to toss out something, but to think about what the good parts could still be used for. I'm getting creative and helping our family's grocery budget at the same time.
I do think we are all on a scale of squeamishness. I heard a story this week about someone who wouldn't eat apples off their tree because they had spots and holes and weren't big enough. They would go to the grocery store and get apples that had been shipped in and sprayed like crazy to kill everything that thought about treating it as food. Obviously this person was very high on the squeamish scale. They there are people who will eat anything...very low on the scale. I'm on the low side, but am somewhere in the middle.
I wish this produce was from my own garden so that I knew how it was grown. For now I take whatever steps I can to make it better for us and assume that none of it is organic (although some might be). I will balance this produce with organic choices in order to minimize our exposure to harmful chemicals through our food. I am doing what I can with the resources I have and am pretty proud of my accomplishments so far.
If I had been squeamish we would not have 7 pints of strawberry jam, 5 quarts of homemade garlic, red pepper and vidalia onion spaghetti sauce, 2 quarts of peaches, pears yet to be canned, and many, many other things we've eaten already. It is a great thing to cultivate selective squeamishness! This entry is posted at Tammy's Recipes Kitchen Tip Tuesday.
A big Thank You to Gayle over at The Grocery Cart Challenge for featuring this post at her Weekend Link Luv. If you are visitng from there, please look around and leave me a comment so I can come visit you! I've been reading blogs for about 4 years and finally have joined the conversation. Thanks for stopping by and hope to see you again!
The couple typically sends an e-mail out Sunday evening with a rough idea of what they've gotten from the fruit stand. It is first come, first take home and everything is out in their pick up and on pallets on the ground. Keep in mind that much of this produce is very ripe or even past that point. The challenge for me is guessing if enough of the produce will be in good enough shape to make the trip worth while. I consider the couple that does this to be a real blessing, but sometimes they have a bit more openmindedness (is that a word?) about what is really acceptable to eat or can or freeze.
I often take my trip on Monday morning if I am able, but this week I was working most of the day on Monday so if I was going to get any produce it would have to be Sunday evening. Right as Mike headed upstairs to put little guy to bed I got the e-mail saying there were LOTS of cases of tomatoes and other assorted things. I asked Mike what he though and he said to go and go right away. We eat a lot of tomato products at this house and so far our little tomato plants are struggling to grow in our very cool weather. I ended up getting a wooden crate of pears, a very large box of tomatoes (most with spots and some totally bad), a mixture of peaches, tangerines, garlic, a bunch of grapes, a bunch of 'bread' bananas and assorted other things. I've gotten a few things cleaned up, but my real focus tomorrow is going to be canning tomato sauce and pears. Wish me luck as I start another new canning adventure!
For only being June I feel like I'm doing well getting food put up for the year. Hopefully this will continue all summer long! I can't help but be grateful for a Tuesday spent canning! More grateful posts at Heavenly Homemakers Gratituesday.
Monday, June 8, 2009
Laredo playing on the shores of Lake Michigan.
Laredo lived in Kentucky with my parents for a few years. When I bought my first house they tried to talk me into taking her as a companion. I already had a cat and didn't know if I wanted two animals in the house. However, they pointed out how small she is and that she is so sweet and why don't I just try her for a few weeks? How do you argue with that?
Since then she has been a resident of Wisconsin. Laredo is one of those dogs that attracts attention wherever she goes, but she doesn't really care for it. People want to know what type of dog she is and where they can get one like her. My answer is always that we have no idea and they should rescue a dog! She is a good traveler, keeps her distance from kids since she isn't a big fan of them and gives the cat a wide berth. She was my comfort as I drove to my parent's home after my sister died and has been my encouragement to go for more walks than I would have without her.
When Mike joined our lives she fell in love with him faster than I did. I figure its a good sign when your dog loves a guy! She has taken to our new lives and new family members really well and has done her part to drive away the bunny population in this neighborhood. Laredo LOVES to chase bunnies and has killed a few, along with a ground hog that wasn't much smaller than she. For all her froo-froo looking she is actually a mighty huntress under all that hair.
Laredo at Seven Bridges Park.
Laredo is such a sweetie and a joy of a dog. It is hard to think of life without her and hopefully we will not have to for a long time! Laredo is such a good dog that it is hard for me to deal with dogs who have bad manners. We have another dog, Pugsley and he is a great dog in his own right, but he has issues that I've never had with her. I am so grateful that someone else didn't realize what a gem they had. She has lived the life a princes (a bunny hunting, swimming in the lake princess) and has brought more joy to people than she knows.
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Friday, June 5, 2009
Thursday, June 4, 2009
4 cups mashed strawberries
4 cups sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
Stir all together in a large pot cooking over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and stir constantly until it reaches 220 degrees. This will probably take at least 10 minutes of hard boiling. You can use a candy thermometer or use the freezer plate* method to know if you are ready to can it. Once it reaches the jelling point fill hot sterilized jars leaving 1/4" head space (space between the top of the jelly and the top of the jar. Put into the hot water bath and bring to a boil. Once boiling process (with lid on) for 6 minutes. Remove from water bath and let cool. Listen to the pops that tell you that you have successfully canned strawberry jam!
*The freezer plate method is very cool, especially for those of us without candy thermometer. You put a few small plates in the freezer and when you think the jam has boiled enough you put a small puddle on the cold plate. Let it cool a moment and run your finger through it. If it stays separate and doesn't run back together it is ready to use or can. If it is too runny it needs more time. Keep stirring and boiling and try again!
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Today is the "Mom, I'm bored!" edition of Works for Me Wednesday. Obviously my little guy is not yet old enough to say any of those words, however he still makes it obvious that he is bored from time to time. Like from 2:30-2:31. Why is it that my toddler has an attention span of less than 2 minutes? Although sometimes, when I am really lucky, he finds the CD player interesting enough to play with it for a whole 5 minutes!
In all honesty I find his way of discovering things to be so interesting to watch. I love seeing him 'get' a new way of doing something or a joke. I made teased him the other day by mimicing his pouting in his high chair and he got it. He looked at me crossing my arms and pouting, then looked at his own arms and back at me and giggled. Nothing is better than a baby giggle.
So back to my tip. I find that my little guy likes our stuff more than his toys most days. My tip is to let him play with your stuff! Now some things he isn't allowed to touch and somethings I don't want him to mess with. However, most other stuff he is allowed to at least check out. He crawls over to the pile of books I have pulled out to add to the rummage sale pile and I let him pick them up and knock the stack over and drool on them a little. He is curious and it is how he is learning, little damage is done and it keeps me from becoming a total control freak!
My other idea is to rotate his toys. Already I can tell he gets bored with the same toys everyday. So some rotate out of play for a week or so and then when they appear it is a big deal. He wants to chew on them and drool on them and bang them against things again. In other words he is excited to see them! The way I rotate them is to have some in the van, some in the kitchen, some by his crib and some in the diaper bag. These little toys get shifted every so often and it makes them new again. When we are in the van I just grab a few and throw them in the diaper bag. The ones in the bag get tossed on the blanket in the kitchen. A few from the kitchen get hauled up when it is nap time and a few from there get put by his coat to be added to the van. This keeps our total number of toys down saving us money and clutter. It keeps him from being bored with the same couple of toys all the time. A win-win.
Works for me! I'm taking notes from all the other Moms. It won't be long until he is older and I hear the "I'm BORED!" See all the ideas here.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Monday, June 1, 2009
Anyone have a favorite that I may not have heard of? Anyone else have a 'problem' where you must go back and read every post written by a particular blogger when you find a blog that is awesome? (Seriously, I've read every post on Pioneer Woman. It is a problem.) Anyone want to tout their own blog?
I'll do my best to give a comprehensive overview of those I love. Maybe you'll find a new one to love!