Monday, August 30, 2010

a running update

where have all the running updates been?

oh wait ...

no running = no running updates.

it's true.

BUT, I ran today. and plan to walk tomorrow. and run Wednesday. and on and on and on.

I'm not going to lie. Today's run felt like I haven't ran in weeks. because ... oh wait. I haven't.

But as always it felt great when it was over and I relished that runners high that I lived on last summer.

Last night while at Wal-mart to get chicken, I also got two sports bras, a pair of running leggings, 2 pair of running shorts and two tops. I've got to learn to stick to the list better.

I jest.

But the new clothes did help. It's important (for me anyway) to be comfortable in what I'm running in. And that means a lot more than just good running shoes. It means pants that don't ride up or sag down and tops that don't ride up exposing the jiggle I'm running to get rid of!! And most importantly, a good bra. The two I got were both Danskin and the one I wore today worked great. I recommend making that $11 purchase to anyone wondering.

I've decided to run in the HYT 5k (the one I ran last year). It's October 2. I'm not even going to make any silly "promises" like I want to finish with this time or I won't walk. I just want to finish and do the best I can.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: disguised

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Daughter's first self-haircut

I knew it was coming.

Daughter has talked about it.

Husband and I have had to remind her quite a few times in the last few weeks that Mommy is the only one who cuts hair and scissors are just for paper.

still, I/we knew it was coming.

Today.

And there is no one to blame but myself. I have her safety scissors out on the office desk because that's where I have my practice yarn for learning new crochet stitches while watching youtube. Laziness. I should have put them out of reach.

#momfail

Daughter announced, "Mommy, my hair on de floor. I did it ALL BY MYSELF."


fabulous.


See that little chunk in the front of her bangs? That's it. It could have been much worse.

I asked her why she cut her own hair: "I don't know."

I reminded her that only Mommy cuts hair. "I know dat"

I asked her what she is allowed to cut: "I only cut paper."

I wish.

Monday, August 23, 2010

A New Generation of Fun

About a month ago my mom agreed to babysit for us while Husband and I went to a wedding in HYT. Thus introducing my kids to the backyard we grew up in (complete with upgraded toddler swings)

We've been back to visit more in the past 3 weeks than we had in the 6 months prior ... because my kids are addicted to the backyard.


Son enjoying a push from Nanny

"I BELIEVE"

Son playing ball.
Husband found one of my brother's footballs in amazing condition so then we had to play catch

Son enjoyed the "tommy toes"

And of course the bubbles

Daughter climbing the platform to the slide

monopolizing the bubbles while silently pleading for a haircut
My parents also have a very friendly/playful/cuddling young cat named Little. Both kids are in love.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Food Day Friday: homemade ice cream

This is our ice cream maker:

It was Husband's parents' and had been in retirement for about 20 years (Husband guesses). We were shocked it worked when they offered it to us. Sure, we have to buy ice and rock salt but it was free and it works.

This is my favorite part: "I want to serve you well."
We've been making two kinds of ice cream.

Strawberry: mine and Husband's favorite
Chocolate: Daughter's favorite
Son is lactose intolerant so he doesn't get any. Thus Daughter can only eat ice cream when Son is asleep.

Ingredients

2 cups whole milk

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups mashed fresh strawberries
  • 2 drops red food coloring (optional)

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the milk, cream, sugar, salt, vanilla, strawberries, and food coloring. Pour the mixture into the freezer bowl of an ice cream maker, and freeze according to manufacturer's directions.

We do not use the food coloring and I use about 4 cups of strawberries (and I put them in the blender instead of mashing)


Ingredients

  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/3 cup HERSHEY®'S Cocoa Powder
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup light cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Directions

  1. In medium saucepan, stir together sweetened condensed milk and cocoa. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat; cool slightly.
  2. Gradually add whipping cream, light cream and vanilla, beating with whisk until well blended; refrigerate until cold.
  3. Place in ice cream freezer container. Freeze according to manufacturer's instructions.

I liked both of these recipes because they don't contain eggs. nothing against eggs we were just out and haven't had a chance to go to the farm.

love love love homemade ice cream. Husband and I both believe that's the best strawberry ice cream we've ever had ... a title previously held by Breyers.

The basket weave mastered

On Twitter Monday, I announced my personal goal for the week was to "master" the basket weave crochet. "Master" meaning no longer needing to refer to the 20 minute youtube tutorial video.

After a couple of glitches - the first one realizing I didn't actually know how to do a double crochet (which I needed to do the first row) - I was in business. It only took about an hour of total concentration, viewing, rewinding, replaying, repeat, repeat, repeat before I got it.

pride. I did it. WA-HOO, as Daughter would say.

Well, I haven't done it in the sense that I've made an entire scarf yet. I've just done it in the sense that I can do it and WILL finish said scarf soon.

After this scarf is finished I'm going to master the puff stitch.


Ladies, Gentlemen, Children of all ages: I present to you THE BASKET WEAVE.
I'm using Lion Brand Yarn Vanna's Choice (yes, as in Vanna White) in Barley. I thought because I'm crocheting in basket weave a pretty brown color would be a neat choice. Plus I found this yarn 50% off at Wal-Mart. I hate the picture quality. I tried about 8 different settings trying to get the pattern to show up well. But you still can't see how pretty the yarn actually is. eh. I can't win them all!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

crochet update

My mom starting teaching me how to crochet right around Thanksgiving of 2004. She's left handed like I am, but her grandmother taught her how to crochet right handed so it was a pretty tediously frustrating process for me ... to say the very least. I shed tears about the days it took me to figure this out. It was on Thanksgiving that it finally clicked in my head and I got it. It was a magical day.

She taught me how to make a scarf with a double crochet stitch. And I went to town. I have made over 100 (no exaggeration) scarves this way. Lots of different yarn and a couple of different size needles. Lately, I've branched out to other square and rectangle shaped things.

baby blankets
shawls
dish towels
wash clothes

all with this distinct double stitch. I love it but was growing tired it all my projects looking the same to me.

Enter youtube. The Art of Crochet my Teresa has episodes and episodes of how to crochet this, that and the other. ALL LEFT HANDED. (signal high pitch singing -- AHHHHHHHHHH)

I was so excited.

My ultimate goal is to learn the basket weave stitch (I already have some fantastic brown yarn I found on clearance for the basket weave), the puff stitch and how to crochet flowers. I decided to start with the basics to get warmed up.

First, I learned the single crochet. done. easy. Thanks Teresa.
Second, I learned the double half crochet. done. not as easy but I got it after a couple of views.
Today, I decided to watch the double crochet ... you know, the one I mastered almost 6 years ago.

When other crocheters look at my double crochet they always say it looks really unique and I just figure it's because I'm left handed. Even my mom thought it looked different from what she does. So I started calling it the inverted double stitch.

Well, now I know why.

What I have been calling the "inverted double stitch" is some made of work of art. It is not the same as what's on the video.

This means that either my mother, who had not crocheted for over a decade by the time she taught me, forgot exactly what to do and taught me how she remembered it.

OR my tediously frustrated mind interpreted what my mother was showing me into something pretty different.

Both are completely possible.

Here are swatches of the right way and my way.
The double crochet is on the left and what I've been doing is on the right.
The main visible difference is the height and length. The right way is taller and longer.

This is mine ... the "inverted double crochet" ha. I don't if it's an actual stitch that exists. I have't been able to find a youtube video about it yet! It's pretty. It's just not a double crochet.

This is the actual double crochet. I like it too. It's not too much different - especially in the pictures. In making it, there are only two big differences. I left out one part completely and another part I did a different way.
I think it's pretty funny that I've been doing it "wrong" for so long. I'm excited to know the correct way. I think I'm going to put my basket weave video on hold and go make a washcloth with the actual double crochet!!

Monday, August 16, 2010

the baby birds!!!!

Remember my Did it List for August 4th? It included saving baby birds. Well, here is the long ridiculous story of how I/we saved two baby birds' lives.

Wednesday, I decided I needed to go to Wal-Mart to look for yarn. (my current thank-you gift is wash cloth/dishtowels and a bar of goat's milk soap from a local farm). So, I'm always on the look out for the yarn I use being on sale. So, I take Son into his room to change his diaper and get him dressed.

The cat was on the floor which wasn't really abnormal, but she really doesn't lay that close to the fireplace so that was kind of weird. AND the birds were chirping REALLY loud. For the second year in a row there is a nest in the top if this chimney. And sometimes their chirps echo down the chimney louder than others.

OK, stop.

Just to give you a better idea of what I'd about to describe:

This is what the fireplace looks like (actually this is Daughter's. Son was asleep in his room when it came time to take this picture so I took a picture of hers instead. It's exactly the same just on the other side of the wall.)
It's a coal fireplace that we have NEVER used. We've never even taken the cover off. the middle comes out (somehow) and I have just discovered that the bottom also slides open). There is a fireplace on each side of the wall and it shares one chimney.
So, my back is facing the fireplace, changing Son. Gracie is laying on the hearth. The birds are going crazy.

I start to panic a little. They sound so close. They HAVE to have fallen out of the nest and into the fireplace. I call Husband. In a panic.

How can I get these birds out of the fireplace and back to their mom? oh man.

THEN I realize ... The bird isn't in the fireplace. It is IN SON'S ROOM. About two feet away from the cat!! The best I can figure, the cat pried the grate open (because I can't imagine that the birds did it).

PANIC.

Then I realize the bird chirping was in surround sound. That's right, there were TWO BIRDS in SON'S ROOM!!

I call Husband again. Ask him to find a place that we can take the birds (because climbing on our slick metal roof up to the chimney to put the birds back in the nest was just not an option).

I'm getting the kids dressed and mentally preparing myself for having to pick these birds up for transport.

Daughter could definitely tell I was anxious and said, "don't worry, Mommy. I take care of baby birds. I know." She obviously heard me telling Husband that I didn't know how to take care of baby birds. My precious daughter. What a sweet loving spirit.

Husband calls back. We can take them to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center at Oak Mountain State Park about an hour away.

Now comes the fun part. I find a box with a lid. Stick an old towel in. Put on two pairs of gloves and DID IT.

Well, the first one was like, "oh Thanks. I appreciate you picking me up. Where are we going?"

The second one was like, "I don't know you. STRANGER DANGER. STOP!!!!" tiny wings flapping. claws dung into the hard wood floor. screeching. That one was high drama. I'm glad he was the second one or I would have lost my nerve.

On the drive any time the birds chirped, Daughter chirped back. She told me they were talking to her.

We stopped in downtown to pick up Husband. I don't think I calmed down until we handed the box over to more capable hands. (Then we toured the facility.) When we registered the birds they gave us ID numbers and a card to mail back so they could update us when the birds were released. I thought that was cool.

SO. Here are the birds.

This is the nice one who let me pick him up effortlessly. bat-like, huh?

both of them during the drive.

stranger danger bird

calm bird.

Their new temporary home
sigh. I'm so glad it turned out like it did. What if the kids found the birds first? What if the cat stopped being a watcher and started participating? (sigh)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Church Sign: Oak Mountain

I've been slacking on these. I see interesting ones, but then never seem to have my camera.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Food Day Friday: tomato sauce from the garden

This is the third batch of sauce I've made from the garden (I actually did it July 13, it just took this long for it to come up in Food Day Friday)

The first two batches only had tomatoes from our garden in it.

This batch includes our Juliets and Stupices AND 15 Adkinsons from my parent's garden. The Adkinson is a variety introduced by Auburn University in 1966. I think that's kind of cool.

what I used: 15 Adkinsons, 3 Stupices and 23 Juliets

I put them in boiling water for about a minute. This makes peeling the skins off EASY PEASEY.

Cool them off in ice water and peel.

This is all the tomatoes, peeled. I put them in whole and let the cooking process break them down. My mother used to dice hers. I think that's a waste of time. Cooking and a little mashing with a potato masher at about hour 2 makes dicing an unnecessary step.

NOTE: I don't have to do this with the Stupices or Juliets. But I decided to core the Adkinsons just because the core was more substantial and "woody"

This is after about 3 hours of cooking on medium heat. You can really cook it as much or as little as you'd like. I like my sauce thick. So there you go You can see from the residue how much water cooked out. I love that rich dark color.

This is how I store my sauce (for now) if I had more, I'd can it. But the only size jars I have are quart and with what I have, that's too much jar and not enough sauce. It's labeled "w/ Adkinson no salt" because the one under it (the 2nd batch) says "J&S w/salt"
Once I have bigger batches of tomatoes, I'll start canning.

Also, the only reason I don't add anything but maybe salt to my sauce is because I don't know what I'm going to use it for. It could be spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, eggplant parmesan sauce, sausage and peppers rustica sauce, heck in a couple of months, I could use it in chili and other soups. Not adding anything keeps the sauce much more versatile for later use.

I guess since my "sauce" is only tomatoes (and sometimes salt) I'm actually making what my mother would all "stewed tomatoes." eh, I'm calling it sauce. It makes me feel more accomplished. ;-)

EDIT: This post was written about a month before it actually posted. I've canned 3.5 quarts of sauce since I wrote this. SCORE.

My Done it List

I like lists. no. I love lists.

Lately I've been dealing with feeling down/feeling depressed/complete lack of self motivation to do anything except make sure the kids survive the day fed, clean and happy.

Something had to change. It got to the point that I didn't want to do any housework because no matter what I did, the house still looked like two very active toddlers lived in it.

And I do a lot. or I felt like I did. My body sure acted like it's done a lot in the course of the day. But I really felt like I didn't have much to show for it at the end of the day when Husband gets home.

We've had multiple conversations about how my job as a stay at home mom isn't to make sure the house stays spotless. It's the care for, play with, teach and feed our kids. I am not the maid. Husband definitely does more than his fair share especially considering he's gone about 65 hours a week financially supporting his family.

But I feel like because I am home almost 24/7 I should take on the majority of the household duties. But I like I wrote before, it gets so frusterating at the end of the day. It really looks like nothing has been done most days.

I really needed something to help team morale.

I thought about making a to do list every night before I went to bed that outlined the things I wanted to get accomplished the next day. But I quickly realized that a to do list only leaves me feeling overwhelmed at this point.

So ... what's another option?

How about a "Done it" list?

yes. A list of everything I accomplish during the day.

Things I don't put on the done it list:
any housework I do while Husband is home
anything dealing with taking care of the kids (except their clothes laundry and son's diaper laundry)
putting things in the washing machine -- it only gets recorded when the load gets put away

Things I put on the do it list:
every thing else.
emptying the dishwasher counts as one
filling it counts as one
watering the garden counts as one (as long as I do it before Husband gets home)

I've been at this for 2 weeks now and it's really helping my state of mind. I AM doing things. It's right there in my spiral index card "notebook." It's quickily become a little competition I have with myself.

Some days I feel lazy and only do two things (my record low) and other days I feel really productive and sometimes do 14 things (my record high -- completed today). But I try to have a weekly average of 7 things.

This is last Wednesday's list.
As you can see I only did two things: emptied the dishwasher and saved baby birds (blog coming soon). The water spots on the side of the page are not my distraught tears from finding two baby birds in Son's room ... I think I just left my list too close to the sink!
It seems to really be helping. I feel less downtrodden and like to see the list after a "busy" day.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

My Dirty Journal


my dirty journal and all its pieces.
The story of how My Life: vol. 5, Mommy's Book of Secrets turned into a shower toy for my favorite two toddlers:

Husband and I have a pretty big custom built shower in our bathroom. It's a great place for the kids to cool off after playing outside. They can walk around in it. Play. Get wet, not get wet. I let them play in there about once a day while I'm in the bedroom or bathroom feet away, listening to their silliness.

Last week, I was sitting on the bed finishing up a crochet project and the kids were playing in the shower. Well, Daughter was playing in the shower and Son was coming back and forth from the shower to the bed adjacent.

I'm paying little attention to what Son is holding as he goes back to the shower. About a minute later, Daughter yells something that I don't exactly remember. Something about "it is dirty" Then Son squeals. This was a new phrase for her (even in the shower) and it piqued my curiosity. I walk the few feet from my bed to my shower and peek in.

...

Daughter was lathering up my journal and Son was holding their container of soap.

lathering

up

my

journal.

(keep calm. keep calm. keep calm. If you lose control they will both get upset and then all three of you will be crying and your journal will still be soaked. rescue the journal deal with the kids later.)

I step into the shower. snatch my very water logged journal up off the floor and in the calmest voice I can muster I croak out something like, "My journal was not dirty. That was a no no no." I'm pretty sure it came out as a screech.

I take the journal to the counter, start flipping through the pages. they are mostly ok. the top, bottom and outer side inch was soaked on all the pages, but the middles of the pages were still dry. I calm down a little. My journal has really thick pages. I think it has a pretty good chance of drying out.

So, I turn around to start doling out the age appropriate punishment for each child even though I wasn't sure what that was yet and I notice the floor. pages of my journal on the floor. the inside front cover on the floor. They ripped out 8 pages and most of the inside over. Again because the pages are thick I was able to get them laid out flat to dry. I became slightly traumatized. I stuck my head back in the shower to announce shower play time was over because it is a no no no to bring books in the shower and wash them. That was all the discipline I could manage at the time.

(sigh)

I still haven't tried to put it back together yet. tape, staples, whatever. I'm not quite ready yet. The book is hard to close and the pages while not quite stuck together are hard to turn. And they are definitely water damaged.

Oh what a story Volume 5 has to tell! Also, I've learned that my bed side table is no longer a safe place for my journal.

the potty training post :updated on bottom

I don't know when it ok to actually declare a child "potty trained."

I assume when the accidents stop. But on day 1 of no accidents? week 1 of no accidents.

eh. I have no clue.

All I know is that in the middle of June, Daughter was down to only wearing a diaper when we left the house and one at night. She'd been having dry naps for a few months already.

So, after one week of dry nighttime diapers, I decided we were finished with diapers for Daughter. We went to wal-mart so she could pick out more panties. At this point she only had three pair of "Manny panties" (handy manny boys' underwear). I was pretty certain she'd pick the buzz lightyear boys briefs or the sesame street girls panties. but she shocked me by picking a large pack of pink, purple, white and orange panties of various designs. (this led Husband and I to have a very long discussion about gender identifying)

Anyway, the first night she was confused about why she wasn't wearing a diaper to bed even though I'd been telling her most of the day, she wasn't going to wear diapers anymore.

It's been close to two months now and she's only had one accident. At the very beginning on the way to the grocery store when she'd just told me five minutes before that she didn't have any teetee in her body. (one of her favorite urine related phrases)

She still has trouble putting shorts back on and she always wants to take off dresses when it's time to use the toilet. But she's doing really great.

At 18 months, we first introduced her to the little potty and she got a hershey kiss every time she used it. We didn't make a big deal about it. Just started talking about using the toilet instead of diapers and started letting her go around without a diaper sometimes. It went well. Then at about 2 she told me she needed to use the potty at Lowe's. It was the first time she ever used a regular sized toilet and after that, Daughter did not want to use her little baby bjorn potty anymore.

I really worried about how to break her of the hershey kiss treat. But that's gone well too. We just stopped offering it to her and only giving her one if she asks. And that's down to less than once a day at this point.


Yes, leaving the house is a bigger hassle. There's the "go use the potty before you get dressed" argument. There's the "I have to go use the potty," but really she just wants to go to the bathroom and wash her hands situation. There's the "I need help pulling up my pan-ties" time waster.

But it's really nice to have her in underwear.

So what about all our cloth?
At the time we had a dozen prefolds, 9 pockets with snaps and 26 pockets with velcro. too many for one little boy. seemed wasteful to me to have that many.

Cottonbabies.com (where we buy most of our cloth diapers) has a program called "Growing up in Cloth" where you can trade in your old diapers toward store credit for new diapers.

Now, most of my diapers are in such shape that I would be embarrassed to give them to a cloth diapering friend. It's true. After a year and a half and two kids, elastic needs repair, velcro needs replacing. They look shabby and very well worn. I couldn't in good faith give those to a friend.

But I can mail then to cotton babies and ask for money. I mailed in 13 bumGenius3.0 and they offered me $65. My mom offered to buy me 6 bumGenius4.0 for Son. So, subtract $65 from the price of 6 new ... my mom saves some money and Son gets some better fitting diapers and I don't have as many diapers taking up room. (I'm getting all snaps this time so hopefully when Son is potty trained I CAN pass those on to friends.) win, win, win, win.

I'm excited to order the new ones.

now before I go. A picture of Daughter walking to the bathroom. She's not about to go ... I just asked her to walk down the hall so I could take her picture.




UPDATE: February 8, 2013.

My original post was written years ago and still it's one of my most views posts.  I assume it's because parents are looking for advice, tricks, tips, SANITY when potty training their kids. I am no expert.  I am just a mom.  My Daughter was super easy and super fast to potty train. My Son ... not at all.  He would poop in the floor for awhile.  He'd pee on anything.  It was much more a test of my patience.  And really, years later that's my advice.  Patience.  Your kid is still a baby. (the definition of baby in our house is someone who doesn't wear underwear and has to get their butt wiped by mom or dad.)  Give encouragement, praise and bribes, if necessary.  but, just be patient. Chances are they won't be wearing a diaper to kindergarten.













Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Daughter and Art

I bought these Crayola window crayons MONTHS ago. They have the consistency of some crayola pastels I've had for years and they clean off glass in a cinch.

It took Daughter a LOT of convincing that it was ok to color on the glass doors because for so long she's heard, "crayons are only for paper." Finally, she believed me that these were special "glass door crayons" and she was not going to get in trouble.



Behind her you can see almost see the art she drew on the door ... and all the smudges she/we made in the process. She's also holding up the picture she drew when she tired of the glass.

She loves to use crayons, markers, colored pencils, chalk, pastels, paint. pretty much anything I'll let her use. I love that she can draw circles now ... even though they look mostly like hearts.

This is a little bit of Daughter's art gallery in her bedroom. Aside from the heart in one of the pictures, it's all her work.

Son in the rain

We have lots of pictures of Daughter playing in the rain (while wearing her lady bug raincoat and while not) but this was the first time there was a good steady rain with no thunder and lightening AND Son was awake.

This was almost a month ago and he was more interested in filling his container with water than posing for pictures.


sheesh, it wasn't very long ago when those shorts went all the way down to his lower calves.

He was showing me his water in this one.

making sure there's still some in there.
Man, I love this kid. He's fantastic. So laid back and gentle. But don't be fooled by his very sensitive emotions, he's also a very silly little boy. And I cannot forget, Son is a climbing maniac.

GARDEN UPDATE

This is the first of almost a dozen blogs I need to catch up on. Hopefully, in a week I'll be back on track.

OK, lots has been going on in the garden. Here we go.

yellow squash: gone. I bite the bullet and pulled them up. and to tell the truth, after about 5 minutes of guilt ... I feel nothing but relief. Next year I'm only going to plant 2 instead of 4 so we don't burn out on them. And I'm also planting a different variety. Probably the crookneck early golden summer

basil: I plan on bringing in the two planters I have most of our basil in when the frost hits. but just in case it doesn't do as well once indoors, I'm letting one branch go to seed. (not pick the flowers and let seeds develop to have some for next spring if these die ... or if any one wants to use them)

livingston musk melons: we've eaten two and we're waiting for the other 11 to grow grow grow. Son loves them, Daughter not so much. I can't wait to share these. AND save the seeds for next year and for anyone who wants to grow their own.

eggplant: I pulled it up too. But saved seeds for next year. We only got about 6 eggplants off of the three plants. But I blame most of that on poor placement and the flea beetles. Next year, they will not be crowded by tomatoes and I'll be waiting for the flea beetles and not let them get out of control.

banana peppers: I pulled those up too. I didn't want to can them and I seemed to be the only one who wanted them. And they were beginning to overtake the counter. TOO many. I accidentally had 3 plants of just banana peppers. poor note taking. Next year, I will only have one plant max.

butternut squash: they are still doing well. I'm patiently waiting for them to be ready so I can share them also. While I hate that my cucumber seeds didn't end up being cucumbers, I'm excited to have the butternut squash. Next, year I'll get new cucumber seeds AND I've picked out a Waltham Butternut Squash

ok, on to the fun. pictures.


This is our Star of David okra. We got a late start on it, so we've only gotten about a half a dozen okra off our 4 plants so far. more to come I'm sure. btw, this variety is named Star of David because when it's sliced, that's exactly what it looks like.

An okra bloom.

These are one of the peppers we got from our garden guru. I think it's an Anaheim. I'm waiting on email confirmation. Once I know what it is and how hot/sweet it is, I'll start using it in food!
sure, I could just taste it and I probably will.

This is another garden guru pepper. I have no idea what it is. waiting email confirmation.

And the tomatoes are still going strong. You can see the Juliets have taken over the Stupice. the grow and live together. because we planted them so close together we can't save the seeds. Luckily, we visited the garden guru Sunday and got some of their Juliets (and I did save those seeds) I decided we're not doing the stupice next year. I want to replace them with a bigger producer. And I've 98% decided on Jersey Giants. Now that I've fallen in love with canning tomatoes, I need a plant that can feed my addiction. I think this one will do it.

This is half of our onion haul. I didn't take a picture after I washed them. This is the best I've got. We planted purple, white and yellow. while most of them are about golf ball sized, there were three that were peach sized. I love these onions. We get the onion in the ground and the green onion above ground. I'll probably grow the same amount next year.

These are 1/4 of our potatoes. The rest are still in the dirt. As you can see they really vary in size. I think that's because I planted them so close together. Next year I'm thinking about decreasing the number I plant but giving them the same amount of space. We haven't eaten any of these yet ... but tonight we're grilling hamburgers, so I might cook them up too.
This weekend I'm planning on using all my free space to plant ching chang bok choy , spinach and broccoli. I'm excited about that. really excited.

Wordless Wednesday: Mexican lunch

Saturday, August 7, 2010

lots to blog about ... soon

not to be a tease but just to let you know there are things in my head that I need to get out.

upcoming blog posts:
(in no particular order)
  • Daughter's use of panties
  • the garden, multiple updates
  • geocaching
  • crochet
  • my waterlogged journal
  • homemade ice cream
  • my "done it" list
  • canning
I think that's all. If I could find my camera I might be able to remember a couple more.

Anyway, hopefully in the next week I can get them out of my head and onto the screen.


I FORGOT THE BIRDS. How could I have forgotten the baby birds? It was traumatizing. (to me, at least.)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Food Day Friday: refriger squash pickles

A friend shared this recipe with me as a new option for using up garden squash. Daughter and I both love it. She eats all the zucchini and I eat everything else.


2 cups sugar
1 cup cider vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
4 yellow squash sliced thinly
4 zucchini sliced thinly
1 onions sliced thinly
1 green or red bell pepper sliced thinly (as you can tell from the picture, I used red)
1 tablespoon pickling salt -- NOT table salt!
1 teaspoon dill seeds (add more if you like the dill taste) (I couldn't find dill seed so I left it out)

optional Add red pepper flakes to taste if you like a little heat with your sweet!

Directions:

1. Wash jars and sterilize - an easy way is to add a few inches of water to each jar and heat in the microwave until the water boils. Jars will be HOT!

2. Heat sugar and vinegar in a nonreactive (stainless steel or glass works best) until sugar dissolves. Set it aside and let it cool.

3. Place chopped veggies, salt, and dill into a LARGE mixing bowl. Pour vinegar/sugar mixture over it and stir well.

4. Spoon veggies out of the mixing bowl and pack tightly into the jars. Carefully pour the leftover brine into each jar and fasten the lid tightly.

Keep in the fridge. They're ready to eat in a day or two and stay sweet and crispy for months.

Thanks again for the recipe, Larisa. We're really enjoying them.

NOTE: do not try these right after you make them -- the sugar will knock your socks off. Give them at least a day (3 or 4 would be even better)