Wednesday, August 25, 2010

So much time and so little to do. Wait a minute. Strike that. Reverse it.

Tomorrow is Mason's birthday and party. We have been busy beavers getting ready for his first "friends" party. (Poor guy, with a birthday right before school starts, it is always too hectic to pull together a real party. But this year I promised him. And, as crazy as it is in my house, I am so happy that I kept my promise.)

He's having an old-fashioned birthday celebration.

Details are forthcoming.

"So much time and so little to do. Wait a minute. Strike that. Reverse it." (Anyone recognize that famous quote?)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Peppers

In the spring I planted six jalapeno plants. One was promptly eaten by a critter, which left me with five. I guarded those plants with my life. That is, if you include the cut hair from my boys' head as being part of my life, which I totally do because I gave them life. Anyway ....

Our plants are literally popping with jalapenos and I'm in heaven. I picked a colander full just this morning to pickle. I have at least this many jalapenos still on the plants.

And I'm drying a few. I tossed in a few cayenne peppers, too. (A lot of our cayennes are still green.) My house is filling with pepper fumes and sometimes I can feel it in my throat and it makes me cough.

*Ooh! And notice the yellow pear tomatoes? They were a garden surprise. Over near our mint patch (which is now also a strawberry patch), I noticed a few volunteer tomato plants. Two were yellow pears and two or three are cherry tomatoes. I just love how Mother Nature works with the artful calculation of plants re-seeding themselves for future harvests. It's like she knew I wasn't going to plant the yellow pears this year and wanted to treat me anyway.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Veggies from the Garden

So much yummy stuff is coming from the garden these days. These are the days that I love. Love, love, love.

I often eat roasted veggies for lunch and as a side for dinner. And sometimes on the same day. This day I had cherry tomatoes, sweet yellow peppers, potatoes, onions and jalapenos.

I can't simply get enough tomatoes or tomato sandwiches in my system. I love tomatoes on toasted bread with salt and mayonnaise. I don't use mayonnaise often, but it's almost a necessity on tomato sandwiches. However, that being said, have you ever tried it with homemade pesto? Wow. I don't know which I love more. Some days I wish my belly could hold more.

Last week (in the midst of our family room remodel) I roasted bunches of tomatoes both cherries and romas. I turned some into roasted tomato sauce that will be used in soups and such this winter.

I just roasted them and ran them through my food mill. (One of the food mills I used to make baby food.)

And homemade pesto and marinara sauce. I think this may have been the third batch of pesto I've made in recent weeks. I've frozen a bunch and look forward to a winter of homemade pesto. I made a simple marinara with olive oil, garlic, onions, cayenne pepper, and threw in a few whole basil leaves. For dinner I couldn't decide which one I wanted, so I had some of each. (It might look like a lot of food, but last week I was so busy working that I was averaging one meal a day.)

So, what veggies are you harvesting and what are you making with them? Do you have any new ideas for me? (Some critters ate all my squash, zucchini and pumpkin plants this year.)

Monday, August 16, 2010

A New Room

Nearly two years ago I mentioned I wanted to get new sofas for our family room. I was waiting until the last of the children (Sawyer) was potty-trained. And then I waited until we had some extra money and well, here we are. With new furniture.

Getting new furniture isn't about only getting new furniture. It means new paint, new curtains, new pillows and throw blankets (those might be awhile), and everything else. Because surely you can't put new furniture in a room that has been lived in by six children. It would be sacrilege.

So, the four big boys were off to camp, again, this past week. (My mother jokingly says that I am trying to find every way to get rid of my children this summer, which is not true, but it seems to have worked out that way.) We wanted to surprise them with new furniture, so we ordered it and had it delivered while they were away. We made pinky promises with Spenser and Sawyer that they wouldn't tell the surprise to the boys when we picked them up on Friday.

So we painted walls and trim. Added a fancier baseboard moulding to the existing moulding. We hung and re-hung antique, cast-iron grates.

We spray painted a lot. This little clock used to be green, but it just didn't go with our new blue walls. We sprayed the new curtain rods black. I hemmed canvas painters drop cloths and "made" curtains out of them.


And we removed all of the toys from the family room and put the children's computer in the corner.

Joe even got fancy and installed new speakers in the ceiling.

And the kids were ecstatic when they saw it. There are still a ton of things that need to be done, like finding a new home for the elliptical/stationary bike; making pillows and finding a blanket (or quilt ?); painting a bookshelf; and caulking/painting some new trim. I'm sure it will be weeks until it is officially declared "finished."

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Cover-up/Dress

I bought a pack of men's white undershirts a while back with the idea of repurposing them. One of the first things I made was a cover-up/dress for Spenser.

It's very similar to the bandanna shirt I showed last week, except it's longer. I used the original hem of the shirt for the hem of the dress and serged all exposed raw edges.

The first day she wore it, she belted it. All on her own. (I just love her style.)


Sadly, I made her go change her clothes because we were going berry-picking and I knew how it could end. (And, sadly, after she wore it, it was misplaced for several weeks. It was later found with some of my white tees.)

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Bandanna Shirt

Since my serger and I are friends, again, I decided I should spend some more time with her. I was looking for a quick and easy project. My sewing time has been limited this summer with all the kids home. (My house is a constant mess even though I am constantly tidying. You seriously do not want to use my bathrooms if you come to visit. There are too many boys here full-time right now and I can't keep up ... The week they were all at camp was the week my house was at its cleanest this summer.)

Anyway, I had some assorted bandannas lurking around my sewing area from past projects of skirts and shorts. I grabbed two pink ones and got to work. I did a rolled hem around all the exposed edges and then sewed it together at the shoulder and side seams. I left the bottom untouched. I added a pink vintage button with a bit of velvet ribbon and it was complete.

I found her a few days later wearing it with a set of wings.


I love that girl.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Vacation 2010

We've had a few busy weeks. Taylor and Carter went to Boy Scout camp one week. The following week Jackson attended Cub Scout Day Camp all week and Taylor and Carter volunteered all week. The next week all four big boys went to summer camp. All four boys. (Thanks to Operation Purple.) Then we went on vacation. It's been wild and crazy this summer, but so, so much fun.

In the past week we've hiked several times, including a mountainous five-mile hike. Sawyer never complained until the last half-mile or so. His poor little legs and feet were tired, but he was a trooper. We geocached, as we hiked, in the mountains and by the lake.

The kids swam and played in the lake.


We took the troop canoeing twice.

Spenser found a seashell fossil in the lake. We kept telling her she wouldn't find any shells and she proudly found this "shell." After a quick inspection, I realized it was a fossil and she felt like a rock star and impressed her brothers.

We set out to take the children's family photo. This was one of the better ones. (Don't get me started on family photos.)

Even though Taylor wouldn't look at the camera (he was fighting his urge to smile), I still like this shot at one of the lakes.


And canoeing. This was the first time I have ever canoed. Ever. Like ever, ever. I'm usually on the sidelines getting children into life preservers and signalling Joe to return for his next group. We rented two canoes one afternoon and we went in the lake and around a small island. (I made Taylor go with me since he just earned his Rowing Merit Badge this summer.)

Joe is continually taking photos of me. I am continually avoiding the camera. This was one of the only non-hideous ones of me. And I think it's because I'm not looking at the camera.

And on our last night we ordered what seemed like the world's largest pizza. I'm sure there are larger ones somewhere, but this was the largest one we've ever seen and eaten. It was a whopping 26" in diameter. It barely fit in the car between me and the dashboard. It was actually wedged in there. My hands only supported the bottom of the box. We have since decided that this will be our newest vacation tradition.

We continued other vacation traditions, like hot-tubbing and homemade ice cream every night. We enjoyed strawberry, vanilla, strawberry-banana, chocolate-fudge, cheesecake (my favorite), and chocolate ice cream.

Joe and I were able to go on several runs while we were away. We ran through the mountains and by the lake and the view was breath-taking. Literally. This was our first vacation where I could run, as I had been recovering from knee issues the previous two years. (I'm currently coming off an extended leg injury that I've been dealing with for over three months.)

And Sawyer took his first ride on the Mountain Coaster. He loved every single second of it. He screamed, "Wheeeeee! I love this! Wheeeeee! I love this!" all the way down. And Jackson rode down all by himself this year for the first time. Mason was just a few weeks too young this year.