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Saturday, October 19, 2013

Superhero Party

A2 turned 3! His latest infatuation is with Captain America, and anything super hero related.  He and his sisters raid my pots and pans cabinet and use my pot lids for shields.  What a better way to play on that than Super Hero Party!  I sent out an evite to join us for super hero training camp.  I purchased 6 yards of felt fabric and made 24 capes.  My kiddos got custom made ones, they picked out their colors and patterns, but everyone else I just made a bunch of generic shapes.  I ordered a pinata and some table covers from Oriental Trading Co.  For the picture booth and jail I went to the Sears distribution center and got the super thick honeycomb cardboard.  I cut out a city scape and covered it with a black plastic table cloth from the dollar store.  For the front city, I picked up a presentation board that was already black.  Add some post its for the city lights, and a blue table cloth behind it all and TA DA! Pictures from it turned out great. I made a bunch of cupcakes, and our family punch. 

As kids arrived they decorated a mask and picked out a cape.  They where then ushered over to the picture area.  As soon as they where done they went outside.  My oldest kids helped out.  I picked up silly string from the dollar store and the kids played target practice with it.  Hubby and his friends were given black capes.  I told all the kids to keep an eye out for the bad guys in the black capes.  Hubby would go around and harass the kids, then the kids would chase him around, catch him and take him to the cardboard jail.

They learned how to tie up the bad guys with paper streamers.  They played this way for an hour or so.  We then moved onto the pinata.  I really build the suspense for it!  Hubby and his friend hid behind the cars.  I told the kids to keep a close eye out for those bad guys.  As my back was turned and I was giving directions about the pinata, they snuck up and snatched it.  They took off into the woods with 25 kids tearing after them.  The men put up a good fight but where overpowered by the kids, tied up and hauled off to jail!  The kids had such a great time, so did we.  Watch all this kiddos laugh and play, no arguing. 
Kids came in to make their masks and capes.

Hubby and one of his friends getting tied up.

He was so sweet, having everyone sing to him embarrassed him.

We are blessed with such an amazing group of families.

A and hubby with the pinata...He got a Captain America sweatshirt for his birthday.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

So starts another school year

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Smells like Heaven

My house smells like heaven right now! Surely, spiced pear butter, spaghetti sauce, and cinnamon pear sauce are God ordained smells! I have all three! It's that time of year, harvesting, canning, schooling.  It's kind of a crazy time, but it's nice to appreciate the small stuff.  I canned 100 lbs of peaches and 60 pounds of pears! I take the peals and cores from the pears, run them through the mill and made pear butter and pear sauce.  If you have never had the privilege of eating Vanilla Spiced Pear Butter...you  have no idea what your taste buds are missing!  And the spaghetti sauce! mmmm mmmm mmmm! I grew up in an Italian family.  Our Christmas Eve was never a turkey or ham dinner...oh no..it was Nana's homemade manicotti and lasagna...don't ever mention the one year she made a frozen lasagna, let's just say it'll never happen again!  Dad made spaghetti sauce from scratch...I'm talking the biggest stock pot I've ever seen! He'd freeze it, then when it was spaghetti night we'd defrost some.  You'd think it would get boring after awhile but oh no.  Our spaghetti was always different, he'd add leftovers to the sauce.  You heard me, left overs.  Like chicken or steak, pork chops...you name it.  So tonight, I am thinking of him as I add last nights chicken and squash to my sauce, and it will be amazing!
Saucy awesomeness

Pear sauce

Friday, August 30, 2013

We have Kittens!

This is Bangle, we adopted her a month and a half ago.  I was definitely not in the market for a cat.  We already have Zippy and Lucky.  Zippy was a moment of weakness, kids giving away kittens outside my kids Co-Op.  Lucky I inherited from my parents.  We were outside playing when my neighbor pulled in our driveway.  The teenager got out and came to me, "I have something to show you."  We walked over to their van and he opened the door to reveal this scrawny cat sitting on the seat.  He (the teenager) had big crocodile tears in his eyes, "I can't keep her, we have to many pets.  I found her behind a dumpster.  Can you keep her?"
At this point, the kids hadn't came out yet, it was my one window to say no.  I was going to, but looking at his face...I faltered for just a second, and made the mistake of picking her up. Busted! My kids spotted me with her with their eagles eyes.  They came running out..."Mommy can we keep her, can we keep her ..pleeeeeaaaaase." "You can't say no Mommy, what'll happen to her?" Insert deep sigh here.  Stuck between my teenage neighbor with a big heart, and my kids I caved.  So I said, "Fine, but she can't come in the house, she can live in the barn with Lucky."
K named this one "Vanilla Bean."
That lasted about oh, two hours.  She got into the house when Zippy came in, and met Hubby.  It was love at first pet.  So, now we have this cat, and she starts getting fatter and fatter.  At first I thought she had just be emaciated and was putting weight on.  When she became ROUND I knew.  I told Hubby, "Well, it looks like we'll be having babies soon."  He took that as "Your pregnant?!?" "No Honey, the cat, she's pregnant."
She was restless yesterday, poking her head into all the dark corners of the house.  The kids found her under K's bed this morning.  I have since moved them to a comfy box in the laundry room...with a lock on the door to keep A2 out.  So now we have four new additions to the farm...We wont be keeping them though.  Maybe I take them to the Co-Op where another sucker, (like myself) will fall victim to their kids big round eyes and pleas for a cute little kitten.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Crochet Marine Doll...for the Tater Tot

Chris and Megan
Have I mentioned my brother Chris?  He is our family hero.  My kids adore him and his wife Megan.  He just deployed, it's not his first but this time, he not only leaves his wife behind but his one year old son.  I can't imagine what that must be like for them.  Chris is definitely a hero, but so is his wife.  She is one of the strongest women I know.  Rarely will you hear her complain, she carries on.
My brother and me.

 My sister in law often inspires me to make new things.  I get a text with something, "Hey, could you make this..." I think HECK YEAH...challenge accepted.  I Googled the picture she sent me and found this.
Try as I might, I could not find a pattern or even where that particular doll was sold on Etsy.  So, I set out to make my own pattern.

Here is the final product....He's cute.  Just the right size for a one year old missing his Daddy.  I wish I could give him more than this.  But, it'll have to do.

How could you not love that face!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

My Overly Ambitious First Garden

I have always wanted a garden.  To grow our own produce and get my hands dirty.  So, following  one of my main mottos: Go big or go home, we did it! We fenced off a 50X100 area in ten foot fencing. That was quite a sight I imagine!  Hubby drove the truck and I stood in the bed (we would rotate) and I would heft a massive post pounder (about 60 lbs) over my head and pound the posts in.  A funny side story: that thing is from my childhood.  We used it around my parents property to maintain 27 acres of fence line.  We had to keep the horses and llama's in and the neighbors cows out.  That's right, I said llamas.  Their names were Jose' and Cuervo...get it...we didn't name them.  They were given to us by our cousin.
 Hubby built me a beautiful gate between the two trees at the top of the garden. I read and read and read and read...you get the point.  I talked to my Nana, my garden guru, and read some more.   My husband built me a nice gate and we went to town.  I already know a few changes for next year.  The dry spots and wet spots.  The highs and lows of the garden.  It has been a family project for sure.  The kids had a major role in planting.  Hubby really enjoyed tilling on his tractor.  I dug the rows, then poked the holes.  The kids came along behind me and dropped in the seeds, then filled the holes.  Now we are seeing the harvest! Corn, carrots, zucchini, squash galore! To much to list.  We've already harvest 30 lbs of potatoes, and daily the kids and I are pulling green beans out.  We bring them in, blanch them and freeze them. I'll post soon about the harvest.

The beginning!
I left the very middle un-planted and the kids drive their trucks in the mud and dirt.


kids planting
Grafted Apple Tree
At the north side of the garden I am making it a grand little area. Not sure what to call it but I planted an apple tree in the middle and put my vintage 1940's tree bench around it.  That tree is a true work of art. It has four varieties of apples grafted to it: Honey Crisp (my FAV-OR-ITE!), Gala, Granny Smith, and Fuji.  I have a ...are you ready for this...huckleberry bush, yes I said it! There is a nursery here that has developed a huckleberry for lower elevations.  I was skeptical but intrigued so I bought one.  Now I am kicking myself, I want to plant a whole hedge along the north fence.  I am sinking flat boulders into the ground at the top of the garden.  It will be amazing when its done.  The boulders will surround the hedge of huckleberry and a hedge of blueberries.

This is the sugar pumpkin before it went crazy! Now it covers a good ten ft area!

Carrots and green onions.

Our First corn harvest! Oh my sweet glorious taste buds!

Poles Beans, Spaghetti squash and zuchinni in the back ground.

K looks terrified...we have a lot of bees! These acorn squash plants are huge!

Sugar pumpkin! They are getting huge!

DIY: Rescuing a Classic

I picked up this little gem a few years ago, at a thrift store for $15.  It's a old folding top Sears Roebuck sewing machine table ....It's three different colors.  I hadn't done anything with it because I didn't have time and frankly, I wasn't sure how I wanted to do it.  Ace Hardware does a promo; a quart of paint...FREE!  They must hope that you either get a color and get hooked on it, therefore buying more, or that you buy painting supplies while you're there...or they're just awesome.  I'll go with they're just awesome.... A DIY'ers dream right! So I went in and picked out a color called "Pickup Truck Blue."  I had intended on painting my front door this color, but Hubby vetoed that (it wound up being "Sun Dried Tomato")  So I had a quart of paint...light bulb! This poor table.  I took it out side and started sanding it...Oh my word....a million layers of paint later, okay four layers of paint later I got the top sanded.
Next to paint the bottom. I scuffed the existing paint so my paint would hold well...I didn't do the inside yet because I haven't decided this tables fate yet.  I saw a beautiful one, just like mine, that had been converted into a beverage cart. Any who...I painted a total of three coats.
Now the top.  I still have some of my stain from the kitchen and school table.  What a great way to tie them all together.  I left a bit of turquoise paint on the edges (one of the million layers).  I thought it would look awesome with the stain.
After two coats of stain, I sealed it and....TADA!  This table cost me a grand total of......15 DOLLARS!  Yep, between the free paint, left over stain, and I reuse my brushes...These things sell re-purposed for between $75-$200 (That beverage cart I saw was the exact same model and it was $175).  I barely skimmed the top of the paint, so I have almost a whole quart left. I am just a bit proud of myself.
I thought about distressing it, but I promised Hubby clean lines.  He isn't a big fan of the shabby chic look.  So now I have a beautiful functional side table.  Maybe someday I'll get ambitious and finished the inside, maybe do one of those fancy beverage carts like this one.  Or, even better, find an old sewing machine and return this beauty to her true mission!

I do a light first coat.

Love it! The milk glass lamp was my grandmothers, the base anyway.  I had to hunt down a lamp shade, found it at an estate sale.

Look at that gorgeous wood grain! Why would anyone want to hide that under a million coats of paint?!?