Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Garden veggies and a touch of home

We have had the pleasure of not only getting fresh produce from the Farmer's Market this year but also enjoying the harvest of my mother-in-law's garden. Lettuce and Snow Peas have been plentiful this summer, even with the rising temps. And now the green beans and tomatoes are starting to come in. :) It is a joy. Last night's dinner saw only vegetables from Grandma's garden. Salad with snow peas, yellow pear tomatoes, and red cherry tomatoes. Steamed green beans that I picked that afternoon. It was so much fun to serve that night what I had picked just an hour before. It makes me even more excited for next summer and my own garden. I'm already dreaming of the possibilities.
In addition to our yummy fresh veggies, a beautiful sunflower graced our table. A sweet reminder of home; of Kansas. This beautiful sunflower came from one of the booths at the market and I could not resist. I've slowly come to enjoy many things about Indiana. But I still miss home. I miss clear blue skies with no clouds and lots of sun. I miss golden wheat fields. And I miss sunflower fields. The green of corn and soybeans can be beautiful. But somehow I find myself finding it too green. Too lush. And I long for the golds and yellows of home. I long for open fields not bordered by thick trees. I miss Kansas, which (for now) still represents home.
I can feel grateful that I'm not there this summer. When the humid heat gets so unbearable that you feel like you're "breathing peanut butter" (words from one of Mark's buddies) I remind myself that it's not over 100 for the 11th or more day in a row. Small things to be thankful for.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Menu Plan Monday- July 25th

Well last weeks meals got all switched and changed. It was hot here last week (or at least hotter than normal). And I had no desire to use the oven if I could avoid it. So I ended up cooking other meals that would not require the use of the oven. This week I'm going to try and use the crock pot alot. There are so many good crock pot recipes that I've never tried. So even if today and tomorrow we will have a slight break in sweltering weather I'm going to try not to use the oven this week. That being said blueberry pie is calling my name so I think I'll make one tonight. :)

So here is this weeks menu.

Monday: Fussy Day Chicken (Whole Foods for the Whole Family), green beans, salad
Tuesday: Taco Casserole (Betty Crocker: New Slow Cooker meals)- I'm going to substitute beans for the ground beef
Wednesday: Curried Chickpeas and chicken over rice (using up leftover chicken), veggie side
Thursday: Slow Cooker Lasagna (Betty Crooker: New Slow Cooker meals)

I'm not completely sure what's happening this weekend. Thus there is a chance that I will have to cook. In which case my plan is as follows:

Friday: Salsa Chicken (Betty Crocker: New Slow Cooker meals), veggie side  and rice
Saturday: Chicken Burritos (meal 2 from Salsa Chicken)
Sunday: leftovers or simple pasta meal

We may also make a trip over to the Elkhart County 4H Fair one evening this week. Cause you have to eat fair food while during fair week. We went Sunday morning, but we are thinking of going again. I'm not sure which night though so it doesn't hurt to have a plan for dinner anyway. :)

As always be sure to visit Organizing Junkie.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Blueberries for Winter

 Last week my sister-in-law and I took the boys blueberry picking. Luckily the heat had yet to get really high and being that we went in the morning it was no too bad out. The boys had a great time. I was amazed at how many blueberries made it into Ian and Cai's buckets.

 Last summer only about 10 berries made it in before they started eating. This year both of them picked. Cai than ate all the berries he picked. And poor Ian lost most of his as he ran down the row. I was able to pick 8lbs so mama was happy with the whole trip. It was fun to listen to the boys talk and play together.

 In the beginning Rachel and I were telling the boys all the things we planned on doing with our blueberries to help excite them about picking. Not that we minded them eating as many as their little tummies would hold. After their attention started to get distracted we set the older three with the task of filling the bottom of on of the buckets. Ian was all excited about this job.

Every time his brother or cousin would eat or steal berries from the bucket he would scold them. "These are for winter" he would tell them. "If you don't pick blueberries, then there won't be any for winter." Have to admit it warmed Rachel and my heart to hear him. Sure we could get blueberries in the grocery store. But our boys don't know that. Blueberries come from the blueberry farm and if we don't store them now than there will not be any later. Makes me feel happy to think that not only is picking blueberries a fun activity but hopefully I'm teaching my kids important lessons on eating locally and seasonally.

  While a few of our berries were put in the fridge for eating, the majority were saved. I made a batch of jam and froze the rest. When Mark was taking out the cookie sheets with berries one them to the stand alone freezer, Ian asked what he was doing. "Well Mom is freezing these blueberries." Ian's response, "For Winter. Oh I remember" :) Oh I love that kid.

If anyone is interested I simply  use the recipe in the pectin box for making  jam. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Menu Plan Monday- July 18th

Happy Monday! That sounds really cheery. I'm not really cheery today, but I'll try cause if you act happy you become happy right????? It's been a frustrating day today. But boys will be boys and add heat to that and you get all sorts of fun. Right now they are eating so hopefully with full tummies they will be content for awhile.  So last week we had pizza on Thursday instead of chicken stir-fry, cause there was no leftover chicken to put in the stir-fry. Whoops. I got to go out on Friday night for an all girls night with some women from church. It was a much needed break and so fun hanging out with these women who I'm starting to really truly admire. Making friends can be hard, but being accepting into their group has made things alittle easier. Saturday Mark and I went into South Bend for the afternoon without children!!!! And I got found a beautiful dress to where to the weddings I'm attending in August. Finally I got to go golfing on Sunday. This is the second time this summer and I am both loving getting to go and wishing I could find a way to go more often. Oh how I miss golf. Oh how I miss my golf game, playing only one a year means my game is really bad. But it was fun. And I even got par on one hole so that was nice. :) Ok enough rambling and on to our menu for the week. I'm cooking all week. My mother-in-law is going to be gone for a week starting Wednesday which leaves me to cook over the weekend. So here it is a full weeks menu. 

Monday: Great Green Vegetable Pasta (Simply in Season)
Tuesday: Super Stuffed Tortillas (Simply in Season)
Wednesday: Chicken Cacciatore (Simply in Season), oven roasted potatoes, veggie 
Thursday: Baked Pasta with Zucchini (The Top One Hundred Pasta Sauces)
Friday:   Crustless Quiche (Simply in Season)    
Saturday:  Homemade Pizza using No Rise Pizza Crust  
Sunday: Chicken stir-fry or other leftover meal 

Be sure to check out Finding Joy in My Kitchen as she is hosting while Laura at Organizing Junkie is vacationing.  I don't have alot of links for recipes. Mostly I use my cookbooks. So I'm going to start adding what cookbook recipes are in as part of my menu. This way you at least know where I'm looking :) Stay Cool this afternoon. 


Monday, July 11, 2011

Menu Plan Monday- July 11th

Wow time just keeps flying past. And part of me longs for it to slow down, while the other is just waiting for nap/night to come so that I might have a few minutes to breathe without children under foot. We seem to live for weekends, the time when Mark is home and I have extra hands and more importantly eyes to watch over boys. While last summer I looked forward to Aiden being just alittle older and able to play with his brothers, I now miss the time of being able to put him in the sling and carry him everywhere without his disapproval. He may be able to play with his brothers but he is also everywhere and anywhere and I don't seem to have enough eyes to keep him out of trouble sometimes. He certainly keeps me on my toes. :)

Our mama duck's eggs hatched and they have moved on. We missed seeing the ducklings, as by the time we realized they were gone all that was left were the egg shells and a path through the vines they walked through. :( The boys still go over and look. I'm sorry we missed seeing the ducklings.

So on to my menu for the week. Here we go:

Monday: Chili- cause I have so many beans and it's been raining
Tuesday: Zucchini and spaghetti
Wednesday: Baked chicken,  oven roasted potatoes, and veggies
Thursday: Chicken stir-fry (assuming we have leftover chicken)

For more menu and recipes check out Organizing Junkie.
 Happy Monday everyone!

Friday, July 1, 2011

T-ball, big boy underwear and other random updates

I thought about trying to post several separate posts, but this is just easier. So call me lazy but you are going to get one big updating post.

Update #1- T-ball
Well T-ball has officially come to a close for the summer. Ian's last game was last week. He even got an award afterwards with his name on it. It was all very exciting- after the fact. We forgot a water bottle and Ian got cranky and won't play his teams last turn in the field. He's a stubborn kid when he wants to be. And it's so darn frustrating. While T-ball was fun, I'm so glad it's done. I'm ready to have my Saturday's back. In fact tomorrow we are headed to the Ft. Wayne Zoo to celebrate not having to be at the ball field. Well that and we have yet to have a chance to go since it opened in late April. Even with T-ball being over, our days of playing ball are not. We still play lots of ball in the yard. Of course with tennis tournaments airing on TV and Daddy starting his summer league the tennis rackets are starting to make an appearance more and more. Everyone needs a change of pace once and awhile. :)

Update #2 Cai's big boy underwear
Yep that's right. Cai is wearing big boy underwear and I couldn't be happier. After a week of wet shorts Mark and I spent a whole Saturday (June 18th) working one on one with him to sit down on his little potty. I put a waterproof tablecloth on the floor and we read books, watched tv and drank lots and lots of juice. We had two maybe three successes and several accidents. Sunday wasn't much better, but as a plus he demanded underwear when we tried to put a diaper on him to go to the zoo in the morning. Monday (June 20th) he was dry all day. :) It has been smooth since. Sure we still have the occasional accident, usually caused by Mom or Dad not getting him to a potty quick enough when we are away from home. But mostly he stays dry. I feel it is safe to say that we are officially down to only one is diapers. And I can admit that this fact makes me ecstatic! Really! Truly! Yeah for potty training. Or at least the results :)

Update # 3 words words and more words
Aiden at almost 20 months is starting to pick up more and more words. We now have the following
PawPaw (grandpa)
GraGra (grandma)
woof  (dog noise and thus dog)
chocho (train)
cawcawr (car, motorcycle, truck, etc)
Siyah (Josiah)
Oh (Oliver)
cacker (cracker)
Sure not all of them make sense if you're not around him daily, but hey he's slowly working toward verbal communication. Add in a sign to eat, drink, nurse and more and we have fairly good communication happening. Of course he brothers like to talk for him as well so that hinders his own verbal progress, but he'll get there. And even so, I really enjoy hearing him learn to vocalize and communicate.

Update #4 We put an offer on a house.
That's right we no only put on an offer, it was excepted! So we are now in the process of meeting with our bank to finalize getting an mortgage loan, getting an inspection set up, and meeting with LaCasa to finalize everything with our grant money. It's all very very exciting. The house was built in 1890. It has two bedroom upstairs and one down. Only one bathroom, but that's ok. Nice big fenced in backyard. One of the things I love about the house. Oh I'm so very very excited. The whole thing is terrifying (We Are Buying a HOUSE!), but very exciting at the same time. Wish us luck!

Final update #5 Mama duck nesting in yard
Yep, seems strange as we are not right next to the river. But Mama duck is nesting out the in ground covering below a tree in the front yard. Grandpa has made sure to have water and food for her. We keep checking to see if the eggs have hatched. I think my father-in-law said he counted six. We are still waiting. One more for thing to look forward to. :)