Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Blueberries for Ian (and Cai)

Last week the boys and I went to pick blueberries. Despite it being hot and humid we had a great time. Although it should be said that they boys ate all of the blueberries they picked. While a few made it into their buckets they did not stay there for long. I however did manage to pick 4 lbs before the boys were too hot and whiny. Thinking about it now I probably should have taken them in the morning rather than afternoon. However I think because of the time of day we picked there was hardly anyone else out and we had the entire row to ourselves. Meaning that the boys were free to run up and down the row without me worrying about them bothering anyone. So in the end I think it was worth bearing the heat and sun. All the blueberries are gone now. I made another batch of jam. The last batch was a freezer jam that used gelatin. This batch used pectin and I canned it. I'm thinking of giving several of the jars as Christmas gifts this year. Yes I know it's August and I'm already thinking of Christmas. But planning ahead never hurt anyone :) I also made a batch of blueberry soda. This time I cooked the blueberries whole and then mashed them with a potato masher after draining the syrup off. We have been using the sweetened blueberry pulp in yogurt. Yum! And the blueberry soda has turned out so much better. Sadly it's already gone :( I than froze the rest. My sister-in-law says she puts frozen blueberries in oatmeal to help cool it down. It's such a great idea. It's will cool it without making it watery. I know my boys will love that come cooler weather, as they love oatmeal. Sometimes I think Ian would eat it everyday. I wish we could go back and pick again. It was a fun way to spend the afternoon. Unfortunately the farm is now closed for picking. Hard to believe that summer is coming to a close. I'm certain ready for some cooler weather.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Menu Plan Monday- August 16th

Oh my! It's the middle of August already? How time flies when you're having fun. Sorry for not posting last week. I did plan my menu, just didn't get it posted. This week I'm determined to be on top of blogging. For lately I feel like there is lots to share, just have to sit down to write about it. :) As far as this weeks meals, I'm trying out some new recipes. They all look fairly simple and all use summer veggies, which right now it a must since we have so many wonderful fresh summer produce available to us. Have a mentioned how much I love my farmer's market? Well I do. It is wonderful! Ok so here's what will hopefully be gracing our table this week. What do you plan on making?

Monday: Jewel Box Pasta (baked pasta with ham on top- we'll how this works as I'll need to cook it all together since I do not have the individual ovenproof bowls it uses in the recipe) and green beans
Tuesday; Red Lentils with zucchini
Wednesday: It's our anniversary! I think we might try and go out. We'll see if we can find a babysitter for that night. If not I'll cook Sunday's meal and we'll just have a breakfast for Sunday's meal.
Thursday: Chicken Stew for Couscous and corn bread
Friday: Mark's Company Party
Saturday: Leftovers
Sunday: Enchilada Casserole

Now head over to Organizing Junkie for more great menus.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Baseball and Birthdays

Well a week later I'm finally sitting down to write about our combined birthday party for the boys. Last Saturday was filled with lots of birthday fun. We started out with a picnic lunch at Ox Bow park and than got to watch a vinitage baseball game. The Bonneyville Millers Vintage Base Ball Club play Civil War era Base ball. Last Saturday they had a home game against the Deep River Grinders. It was so fun to watch the game and especially hear the banter between players and teams.
To get a better idea about some of the differences between today's baseball and Civil War era baseball take a visit to the Bonneyville Millers website (linked above). There is a whole list of terms and basic rules of the game. While some things have not changes, many things have. No gloves are used, and when a ball is caught off of once bounce it is out. In order for a run to be tallied the runner must ring the bell at the score table after touching home plate. The pitcher is called a hurler and before every pitch the ump will ask "Hurler are you men in position?" The hurler answers "Yes, Sir" And the ump responds "Hurl" Batters are strikers. Outs- Player Dead or Hand Dead. Three Hands Dead means side retired. Umpires can fine players on the spot for ungentlemanly conduct. Some of the fines given (all for the amount of 50 cents) were for arguing with the ump, endangering the female score keeper (a foul ball hit the score table), and endangering the cranks (fans- again due to a foul ball). It was a fun afternoon at the ball game. The Bonneyville Millers won 11-10 Huzzah! The boys enjoyed it as well. Although half of the their time was spent finding and playing with pine cones. But hey at least they had fun!
After the ball game we had a bbq at my in-laws. We enjoyed corn on the cob, hamburgers and hotdogs, pasta salad and of course birthday cupcakes.
The boys and their cousin ran around outside playing baseball and eventually soccer.
Uncle Eric and Aunt Andrea made the boys a soccer goal and got them each their own soccer ball. It was a big hit with both of them. And I hear that grandma has put in her order for one at their house. :) The whole day turned out great. It was a great way to celebrate the birth of my active boys.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

He's Four!

Happy Birthday Baby Boy! My Ian is four. Wow. It seems like just a short while ago he was turning two and we were welcoming home a new baby Cai. Now he's four, getting ready for his second year of preschool and talking my ear off. Really, the boy talks a mile a minute. He gets so excited he'll repeat himself and have trouble getting the words out. It's like his brain is working faster than his mouth sometimes. :) So great. It's wonderful watching him learn and explore. Trying to teach Cai and Aiden how certain toys work or how to put a piece in a puzzle. Of course this means sometimes he get frustrated when said brothers play differently than he thinks they should. But we're slowly learning to work through those. So here's to my first born. My inquisitive Ian who I'm sure will teach me alot in the next year and for years to come!

The big 2 year old!

There his is. My big 2 year old eating ice cream at the Maple City Market on First Fridays, which happened to also be his birthday. It's hard for me to believe he is 2 years old. Where did the time fly. Especially seeing my new little nephew. I remember Cai being that size. When did he get so big? Now all of the sudden he is learning to put on his shirt, helping me unload the dishwasher, and adding new words to his vocabulary every two minutes. Among his new words are diaper, hurt, car, berry, getthi (spaghetti), cracker, and nola bar (granola bar). Oh my sweet wonderful two year old. Here's to the terrific twos! May they be filled with wonder. I love you my baby Cai.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Blueberry jam and Blueberry soda

Awhile back Rachel, my sister-in-law, and I went and picked blueberries. They had been sitting fridge waiting for me to make jam from them. And today I finally got to it. I used a recipe from Whole Foods for the Whole Family. I really like this cookbook. It made 4 1/2 pint jars of jam. After making the jam I had alittle over 4 cups of blueberries left so I decided to try and make blueberry soda. Using the same concept from rhubarb soda, I pureed the blueberries and than cooked them with 2 cups water and 2 cups sugar. I then strained them to get some of the skins out. I couldn't get all the skins out and it's alittle thicker than I would like. I think next time I'll just cook the blueberries rather than pureeing them. However it's still pretty good soda. It made alot so if you want a smaller batch you could cut everything in half. Just with the rhubarb soda I fill my glass 1/4 blueberry concentrate, put in some ice and then fill to the top with sparkling water. Mix and enjoy! The boys and I have already enjoyed a glass each. YUM!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Welcome Oliver!

My nephew Oliver Jay was born this morning! Mark's sister Rachel and Oliver are both happy, healthy and at home resting. Rach gave birth at the Birthing Center and then came home late afternoon. We went over and visited with everyone this evening. The boys brought cousin Josiah and new cousin Oliver pictures they drew early in the day. And we played, talking and enjoyed our new family member. Cai enjoyed pointing out Oliver's nose.
New babies are such a joy and blessing. And I'm so grateful for the joy this baby will bring to our family.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Menu Plan Monday- August 2nd

Can't believe it's August. Where did my summer go? This month is going to be a busy one. Well to honest August will always be a busy month for us, what with two birthdays and our wedding anniversary to celebrate. This year we'll be even busier as any day now my sister-in-law is due to give birth. We are all excited about the coming new baby. In addition at the end of the month Mark's brother is getting married. As it happens with weddings everyone here is busy getting ready. So lots of exciting things this month. And this week starts it off. Cai will be turning two on Friday!!!! I'm struggling alittle that a whole year has passed by already. We'll be celebrating both Ian and Cai's b-days on Saturday since Ian's is Tuesday of next week. I offered Cai a couple of pasta dishes this morning for his birthday meal. He choose spaghetti. He is such a pasta kid. He devours any and all pasta dishes. So spaghetti feels like a good choice for his birthday. So here is this weeks menu. What are you planning this week?

Monday: Groundnut stew as requested by my dear husband :)
Tuesday: Great Green Pasta and corn on the cob
Wednesday: Dinner with some college friends who are back in the states for a visit
Thursday: Taco bowls
Friday: Spaghetti, green beans and bread - Cai's Birthday!!
Saturday: Grilled hotdogs and hamburgers and baseball cupcakes to celebrate little boys birthdays
Sunday: leftovers or Simple pasta with leftover produce

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Fair food, gardens, and other fun

This last week I had my best friend from high school Katie visiting us. I was so glad to have her here. Not only do I love spending time with her, but it was fun to show off my new home and surrounding area to her. The running joke for the week was that she should move to Indiana and live with us. While we would love for her to be closer, I know she loves not only Kansas but her current teaching job. So I'm left with dreams. But I'm rambling.

So this week we tried to do lots of fun things while Katie was here. Being fair week we started the week there. Monday afternoon we spend at the Elkhart County Fair. We checked out the 4H animals (llamas, cows, chickens, rabbits and pigs to name a few), 4H photography and sewing entries, rode the farris wheel, and ate lots of fair food. It was a good time for all. (And yes Mom, the boys got cotton candy)
Tuesday we played at home and went to the Farmer's Market. Then my wonderful brother-in-law came to babysit while Mark and I took Katie to Constant Spring for trivia night. We were one point off winning the final music round. Wednesday we went to the Calendar garden.
I blogged about this back in June. It was fun to go back and see the difference. And still just as breathtaking.
Ian and Cai loved the pond in the middle. And we spent lots of time splashing our feet and poking moss with sticks.
I even brought the boys' magnifying glasses so we good observe the leaves, flowers and bugs.
It was fun for a short period, although they were soon replaced with sticks. Even Aiden had fun banging sticks together his brothers gave him.
Thursday we went to Shipshewana. We visited Menno-Hof, a museum telling the history of the Amish/ Mennonite faith, and visited some cute shops in town. Friday afternoon we played at the Kennedy Water Playground in South Bend. It was a cooler day so that water was cold. Poor Cai was shivering after about 10 mins. But we still had lots of fun splashing, swimming and running through the water. Sadly yesterday we had to take Katie back to the train station so she could go back to Kansas. I didn't want to say goodbye. Having her here for a week reminded me how important my girlfriends are and that I need to be better about keeping in touch with them. I was also reminded how blessed I am to have such wonderful people in my life. Thanks sweetie for such a great week!