We were all terribly lazy this morning and did not get up until 10. While i was taking a shower Chris was making "breakfast" for everyone. Avery had the idea to make the muffins into a smiley face on the pan. Dee, i think she is getting inspirations from somewhere else....looks familiar doesn't it? She got the camera and she took the pictures, and wanted me to say that she thought that it would be fun to do it like that.
It was hot today. Hot enough for a little fun from the freezer. Weeks ago in anticipation of a hot summer afternoon like this i interred some items in ice. What better than a freezing cold block of ice to play with on a day like today(hot and humid!)? This is not an original idea, i give all the credit to this mom and to this kids craft sight for passing it along. I have found tons of great boredom buster ideas on this blog. This one is one of them.
So you just get a bunch of random kid things from around the house...you can see what we used in this picture. Toys, buttons, money, hairbands, jewelry, beads, acorns, stones and etc. Remember to freeze in layers! I think i did ours in three. Just put a little water in the bottom of a rubbermaid container and place a few of your found items in. Freeze solid and do another layer, until your container is full. It takes some patience to set up but it was well worth it.
The kids had so much fun with it. I love it when they really attend to a project like this one. I gave them a few old toothbrushes, a turkey baster and some medicine cups and syringes to excavate all the items. They shared the whole time and even helped one another. They really worked hard at it too. There is something about doing things outside or just out of the ordinary that makes a lot more peace and harmony around our house.
this week for our Thursday field trip we made a visit to one of our local fire stations. They were so nice and let us go right in and one of the firefighters took us around to look at the trucks. Mitchell was happy to sit right up there in the driver seat of the new ladder truck. He had lots to say to the firefighter and lots of questions about what everything was and where things were in the truck. When it was time to get out of the drivers seat Mitchie said in a funny little voice, "that was hard work driving the firetruck".
Avery got in on a little bit of the action when it was time to pose for a picture. Otherwise she was a little shy and not into getting in the firetrucks or talking with the firefighter.
Mitch asked (well really he told) if he could wear the firefighters helmet, and he was indulged. He put the helmet on and had a hard time holding that noggin up. You can see in the picture how heavy it was and what a hard time he was having. It was all covered in soot and had pictures of his family on it....very cool.
Every week when we go to the farm to pick up our farm share box we make a visit to the goats. They have three very nice, pretty goats. Last week after we had come home Mitch wanted to know if he could see them milk the goats...so, we checked with the farmers and they told us they were milked at 6 and 6 and that we were welcome to come and see. We planned our veg box pick up for the same time they milk
Farmer Brian was so kind and gracious to ask Mitchell to help him milk the goats. I was very proud of Mitch. He sat right down and listened carefully to the instructions, and then he did it, he got milk on the first try. **I have to come back and add in here a funny Mitchell comment. When Farmer Brian was preparing the goat for milking Mitchell wanted to know, "Why do you have to clean her 'gutters'?"**
Avery also a found a friend and an animal she was interested in. As you can see it was not the goats. Farmer Brian asked her if she wanted to help milk too but she said no. I think she probably wanted to do it but was too shy to say so and take a turn. So she sat with their dog in the hay and they got to know one another.
We also fed the chickens today. We were told when we first went to the farm that they like grapes, so the kids saved some of their snack grapes from the ride there and fed them to these lovely chickens when we finished milking.
here is what we got in this weeks box. Beets(going to juice those), arugula, lettuce, cucumbers, zucchini and summer squash(saute with onions), scallions, sage(maybe dry) and eggs.
I dug deep to find these today. Look how little they both were and now the time is just flying by and they are growing before my very eyes. I am sure most of you mommies out there can relate to the little bit of sadness i feel, sometimes a lot of sadness, at how quickly they go from helpless babies who need you all the time to little kids(or big kids) that can do things for themselves and even want you to leave them alone sometimes. I miss the little baby times. My whole life i wanted to be a mommy, back then i always envisioned myself as the mother of babies, never the mother of actual children. Imagine my shock!!! It was like i never wanted to believe that they would grow or become independent.
This afternoon, i was watching them play together in the backyard...lying on the backyard blanket and loving being together. Playing simple games and just sitting. Here i was in the house doing dishes and busy work watching them have all the fun. And then it dawned on me, these times are going by too quickly, and I should be right there where they are. Enjoying them, listening to what they have to say, really listening, and watching clouds together on the backyard blanket. So out i went! It was such a simple thing to do together but i really loved it, and i think they did too. I need to remind myself not to miss the sweet moments.
just a random picture of them laughing and having fun at school!
...Oh yes we did. Chris and I both were "dumpster diving" today. He brought home 2 office chairs from the dumpster outside Mitchie's school this morning and i found these there this afternoon. They were just sitting in a bag beside the dumpster so i pulled them out and look, they were lovely. I love the top one...it has little princess' and castles all over on the squares. So cute! And free makes them ten times cuter!!!!! I am just going to give them a little wash and make them ours.
The kids already adopted one. I said it would be great for sitting on in the backyard and that is the first thing they wanted to do when we came home. You would have thought i bought them the coolest gift ever. They spread it out in the shade and then laid there together for a long time just being brother and sister and being together. I love them.
I know, enough already, but here is another one. I still had a few vegetables hanging around from our last weeks CSA box, and i kept asking myself and others(you know i am talking about you Dee), what am i going to do with this swiss chard? It was so pretty i should have stuck it in a vase to enjoy it when we first brought it home. The stalks are a really beautiful soft rainbow of colors...pinks, oranges, reds, greens and almost yellow. But alas it sat in my fridge and looked back at me every time i opened that door, as if to ask me, "well, what are you going to do with me? When are you going to cook with me?"...but honestly i had no idea. But then it came to me,all of a sudden. Quiche!!! It happens that way doesn't it? You have no idea what you are going to make with these strange mystery ingredients, or just any time you have to make dinner, and then it hits you in a flash. SO tonight, i sauted some onion and garlic in a pan with some olive oil, then i threw in the chopped and washed swiss chard until it was wilted and softened. In another bowl i mixed up 5 eggs, 2 and 1/2 cups of half and half(i think i cut that down with some extra milk), dash of nutmeg and salt, whisked that together. I used store bought crust(sorry Mary) and fit it into my pie plates....put the cooked chard on the bottom, sprinkled with some chopped ham and about a cup grated cheddar. I poured the egg mix on and put those bad boys in the oven. Then baked them for 15 minutes at 425 and then turned it down to 325 for another 30-35 minutes, until golden and a knife comes out clean. I made the kids one without the swiss chard, just ham and cheese. They do good at eating veggies but i know when i am pushing my luck and i was able to accommodate them tonight so i did. And thank goodness, they liked it!! This finished off our box for the week, since we ate the rest of our salad along with it.
***fixed!! thanks to my computery husband i got the picture re-posted. Sorry!***
What more can i say...what is even left to say about the strawberries. I am sure you all have had enough food blogs, but this is what has been taking up my time and attention lately. Making sure they did not go bad on my clock! All we have left now is a few frozen berries for smoothies some other time. But who doesn't love a nice strawberry shortcake? I am not sure that the whole wheat shortcake went over that well with Mitch, Avery did not seem to mind.
As we have been getting boxes from our CSA, we have been getting things we have never heard of or seen before. This is one of them, garlic scapes. My understanding is that it is the shoot of the garlic that is above the ground. It is pretty, if nothing else. I love the way they curl over and around themselves. This is two weeks of scapes. I had no idea what i was going to do with it but with a little research and looking around i found this recipe for garlic scape pesto. It was gone before i could take any pictures of it....otherwise there would be more photos!! The kids even loved it and ate all that they were given. I just threw the roughly chopped scapes into my mini chopper with some basil(also from the farm), and olive oil....once it was all whizzed up together i added the juice of one lime, S&P to taste and about 1 cup fresh parmesan. We used it to make little pizzas with some mozzarella on top, but i bet that it would be good on pasta or even as a veg dip.
This morning my boys made strawberry pancakes for breakfast. I love pancake mornings. Mitchie was a great helper and was very excited to stir the batter himself.
Chris took some pictures of the making and I must say they turned out very well(not the pictures, well the pictures were good, but i meant the pancakes turned out well.). I thought i did not like them, but i guess i was wrong.
Although, there were not many berries used for this. We still have a bunch more to eat and to make yummy things with...hmmm, i wonder what will be next?
Sooo, last night was jam night. Here are the results of my work. For anyone that has not made jam before and might think it is hard, really it is not. It is a time commitment once you start, because you literally can not walk away form that pot and you have to stir, stir, stir. I would have taken some pictures of the making but i was tied to the pot. No extra hands. This batch of jam was the first time in a few years of jamming that i finally decided to just relax and not stress myself out about it. Once everything is prepared i usually feel like a spaz trying to get everything done and done just right...last night i told myself to calm down and just enjoy the process. I really did and this time i did not make a mess or burn myself, thank goodness. It was nice to get it done so fast and smoothly, and all 9 jars sealed!!! All you need is 4 pints of berries, some pectin(I use sure-jel), some jars and sugar. Follow the directions in the box of sure-jel and "viola" you have jam. I think strawberry jam is my favorite.
I was on unfamiliar ground...territory unknown. Chris has one absolute favorite combo...strawberry rhubarb, and that is one combination i have never, ever tackled before. But i love my husband...i want to make him happy, so i promised i would give it a go. Not having a recipe to follow did not help but i figured i could improvise a little. I referenced my friend Mary's recent strawberry rhubarb crisp...a recipe by emeril and my mom's apple crisp topping.
With all those combined I managed a pretty fantastic result if i do say so myself. We have been wandering past it all day long(i made it about 10 this morning) taking a spoonful and savoring every bit of it. There are more spoons in tonights load of dishes than anything else.
Here i need to give "props" to my tiny photographic assistant. Avery was home watching and helping make this and asked if she could take some pictures for the blog. And i can honestly say that this middle one, taken by my 6 year old, is the best picture we got of the whole undertaking this morning. I love how she captured the movement of the crisp topping being poured and shaken out over the fruit.
So I am going to give you my best recollection of what i used and what i did..... here it goes
Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
3-4 c. Strawberry, washed/hulled/halved 3-4 c. fresh Rhubarb, washed/medium chop 1/2- 3/4 c. Sugar 2 T Cornstarch
chop and combine fruit. Add sugar and cornstarch and pour into bottom of 13x9 pan.
3/4 c. rolled Oats 3/4 c. brown sugar 1/2 c. butter 1 t. cinnamon 1/2 c. flour
mix oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour....cut in butter to make it a crumbly consistency. Pour this on top of fruit in baking dish, spread evenly. Bake at 375 for 35-45 minutes...until fruit is bubbling up and crisp is golden brown. Enjoy
I think this sign says in big bold letters what we did today!!! And quite a haul we had...about 10 pounds of berries. I have plans for those berries...shortcake, strawberry/rhubart(says Mitchie) something, jam, random eating and some freezing for a later date. They sure were pretty, and sweet but a little tart too.
That is what Mitchell told us after he ate his way through the strawberry patch. We seem to have started, inadvertently, making family field trips every Thursday. This week was strawberry picking and baby animals...last week was the beach...the week before Avery got to go geocaching with daddy...the week before we all went geocaching...and i think the week before that we went to the amusement park.
I imagined much more enthusiasm. Not that they did not want to do it or want to help, it just was a little harder than i thought it would be. We did pick it fast though. We had two full buckets before we even picked down half of one row. Mitchie just wanted to eat them and carry the bucket...Avery, well she was picking with great care. In the time i picked half a bucket i think she had five in hers...because she was examining every berry to make sure that it was blemish free and perfect in every way! And, believe it or not Avery wore white and there was not a single berry stain on that girl.
As part of Field Trip Thursdays, after berries, we went to a local farm that was having baby animals for the month. So inside this little barn we got to meet a whole bunch of incredibly adorable, completely irresistible babies. Before we left the barn i was convinced that we needed to have baby farm animals at our house, most especially the baby goats and some ducks and sheep and maybe a pig and a cow too. How much cuter could those goats get? Obviously we were all quite taken with them and could not get enough of them. Mitchell was especially in love with that little red goat.
My name is Leslie. I live in Virginia. I am a wife to Chris, a super husband/great daddy/army officer/PhD student. I am a mother to three very exciting kids, Avery and Mitchell, ages 13 and 10 and baby Delilah who is 4. I am a little crafty. I love fabric, quilting and I love my friends and family. I hope here I can keep up with all of you that are so very far away.
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