Open all the windows and pull the patio furniture from hibernation.
It's the start of summer--relax and make yourself at home.
It's the first official week of summer around here and boy has Mother Nature shown us who is boss. It's been HOT HOT HOT! Kids don't seem to notice how hot it is though. Why is that?? Remember when we were kids and we would play outside all day no matter the temp? Children really are amazing. Sunday I put the best babysitter I have ever had out in the yard and I really haven't seen the kids since.
They really have not deviated from this schedule once:
Fall into bed
We are very safety conscious around here...always need to wear the life-vest...never mind that the water is only 5 inches deep.
(the water is brown cause they run and jump over and over into the water...
dragging mud and grass with them each time)
And as a good parent I am doing my duty and making sure the life-vest work. I refuse to move from this spot all summer. I will watch there every move. Safety first!
The recipe was very simple to follow but for some reason mine did not turn out so pretty. The juice from the berries ran all over the cookie sheet and burned. Apparently I didn't have the sides of the dough folded and pinched off correctly. They were still good...but didn't look like the picture at all!! When it cools off maybe I'll have to try it again.
Disclaimer: I'm sure Amy from Cooking with Amy is a GREAT cook. She writes great recipes and takes beautiful pictures. No where did I claim this was my recipe or that my lack of skills was Amy's fault. I take full responsibility for this disaster.
I've never made freezer jam all by myself before. I've always assisted my mom. By assisted I mean I sat at the table, ate chips and salsa and watched her make it.
Other than the fact that I forgot I didn't have any lemon juice I did pretty good. My friend Haley had been over all morning and the minute she left and I put Bubby down for a nap I realized I was out of lemon juice. So, while standing there trying to figure out what to do I saw her purse laying by the table. She had forgot her purse! She would HAVE to come back for it! And when she came back for it she could bring me some lemon juice. SWEET!! I was saved by Haley...she deserves a jar of jam I think.
Wednesday was by far the prettiest day here this week so I decided it was perfect to pick strawberries. Actually, my friend, Kerri, decided we should pick strawberry's. I was more than happy to pay the extra .60 cents a pound and have someone else pick them for me but I was told it was all about the experience and we should embrace the season or some crap like that. I am so glad we did!!
Kerri brought her son along too and I thought the boys did so well. The fabulous owner, Becky, gave each of them their own little buckets and they picked quite a bit till they found a frog. Then all picking stopped at that point. I thought they would eat more than they picked but I don't think either one of them ate any. We had to keep on them constantly to pick ONLY the red ones though.
They picked a little and then played in the mud a little...good combination for little boys.
I managed to get one flat picked which was enough for a couple batches of strawberry jam.
While there we were able to pick up some beautiful asparagus and rhubarb.
The rhubarb made for some yummy pie! My friend Meagan sent me this wonderful looking recipe so I think I'll give it a try today.
After all the strawberry picking we were starving so we found a tiny little bar in a tiny little town nearby and had the most wonderful lunch I think I've had in a long time. I should post pics of our lunch at this time but I was seriously too busy eating to remember to take pictures.
Such a fun day! I'm so glad my friend talked me into going. Great memories for me and for Bubby.
You remember the scene in Friends when Joey is reading The Shining? The book scares him so bad he puts it in the freezer. This is what happened to me last night.
I've seen this Abe Lincoln book around for awhile and wondered what the deal with it is. At the library it was on the 'new release' shelf so I thought I would give it a try. So, last night I'm laying in bed and I HAVE to read it while on my back that way no vampires can sneak up on me. It's freaky! It's all dark and 'voices in the night' and 'people meeting in the dark woods'. Which I guess is what vampires do. Not sure I'm going to be able to make it though. Bubby got up at 1:33am last night cause 'he couldn't very sleep' and I put him back in his bed. Then I layed there for 2 hours listening.....
I'm taking it back to the library. I can't deal with this. I have issues ya know.
If you will remember back in the fall I went to St. Louis to see The Pioneer Woman and have her sign her cookbook for me. I've cooked a number of recipes from her blog and cookbook in the past year and love most of them. I say 'most of them' cause sometimes I tend to mess recipes up. I get distracted. I do love the style of her cookbook though cause there are so many pictures! She puts a picture after every task and that's very helpful to me. I'm a pretty visual person and I like to have pictures so I know if I'm on the right track....cause sometimes I'm not on the right track.
Take for instance her Twice Baked Potatoes. I made these the other night and they were SUPER yummy but they didn't quite look like hers. Not sure what I did wrong. These are my potato skins.....
These are Ree's potato skins......
(Photo courtesy of The Pioneer Woman)
look at her skins...now back at mine....(I feel like the guy in the Old Spice Commercial...look at your man..now back at me...your man...now me...) You feel sorry for my potato skins don't you?? It's ok...we ate them anyway.
So, yesterday I thought I might redeem myself and make her Pecan Maple Scones. (can't seem to find the recipe on her website) If you will notice her scones have a nice shape to them. They are rather....scone-like wouldn't you say?
(Photo courtesy of The Pioneer Woman)
Mine were not so scone-like. Mine were more pie-crust-like. They were super yummy but they were HUGE! I don't know what I did wrong but since we ate them all in a day I'll have to make them again and see if I can't fix the issue.
Don't worry...I'm not giving up. I will get out the butter and try this again! I will not be discouraged!
Disclaimer: No where have I EVER claimed these are my recipes or this is my cookbook. The cookbook and the recipes were perfect before I got a hold of them I swear. If you would like step by step directions for any of these recipes or more I highly recommend The Pioneer Woman Cooks and/or her Cookbook. Good Luck!
My friend Meagan decided to finally brave the country roads and visit us last week. Some background: My friend grew up in a small town just as I did but she has since moved to the big city. She has a beautiful home with the white picket fence on a cul-de-sac which is exactly where she has always wanted to be. Me....I live in a old farmhouse with a VERY crummy road...which is exactly where I want to be...except for the crummy road part.
As her and her kids are getting farther and farther from the city the kids are getting more and more nervous. 'Mom! Why is the road so bumpy?! MOM! Where are the houses? Mom! Are we lost?' I think they were a little culture shocked. But they soon learned a huge backyard, water pistols, a sprinkler, swing set and chickens make for a fun afternoon.
Everyone got their bikes out and had a great time riding up and down the driveway.
Bubby had to give his friend a little push every now and again...whether she needed it or not.
After much sprinkler fun they had to test out the sandbox a little.
After lunch we decided we needed to make a ice-cream run. We can NEVER get together without eating ice-cream! It's just the way things are.
On the way into town Meagan was reminded of what it was like to live in a small town. First we passed a guy on a lawnmower going to get gas at the Casey's, of course. Then closer into town we met 2 tractors and a truck pulling anhydrous tanks. Luckily we didn't have to drive behind them!
There is a reason life is slower around here...and it's not always cause we want it to be.
My friend Meagan came to visit me last week (FINALLY) and she came baring gifts. Note to future guests: If you come bearing gifts I will like you even more. Just kidding.....not really. She made me this fun place mat purse. The outside of the purse is made from 2 woven plate mats sewn together with twine and then the inside 'lining' is made from 2 napkins sewn together. How fun is this?! It's totally impractical and won't hold very much but I love it!
Inside the purse she filled with lots of my favorite things: Coke, M&M's, trashy magazines and a book of quotes. Perfect present!!
This weekend we traveled to my parent's house for Mother's Day. It was a relaxing, warm, fuzzy, all-the-family-was-there-type of weekend but that's not what this post is about. It's about how my sister is trying to wean me off crackMcD's coke in her own crazy way. We did a little shopping on Saturday morning and on the way home I told her to pull into McDonald's cause I wanted a coke. She pulls up to the drive-thruspeaker and....wait for it...she orders a MEDIUM Coke!! I said, "No! Get a large!" She ignored me and drove on through to the first window. I said, "They are the same price! Order a large! What is wrong with you!?" She then gave me some drivel about how she was trying to save my life or something...blah blah blah.
Basically it was like she doesn't know me at all! Then on Sunday morning after looking over the Target ad we decided to make a run to pick up a couple of things that are on sale this week. You know me...can't resist a Target run. After picking up a couple of items I head over to the snack bar and order a medium coke and popcorn combo for the trip home...it's a long 5 miles people! My sister proceeds to pop TWO straws into the cup and walk off. I am like..."HEY! That's my coke! Get your own! What is wrong with you?? First you make me drink a medium coke and now I'm supposed to SHARE with you?? I don't think so!"
My Peonies are blooming!!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE Peonies...they make me smile. They remind me of a simpler time when people actually sat on their front porches, drank sweet tea and watched the evening sun set.
30 Ways to Make Your Life More Simple
1.Resign from a commitment you’re not passionate about.
2.Stop trying to be perfect.
3.Implement a basic cleaning schedule.
4.Sign up for automatic billpay.
5.Automate a portion of your investing.
6.Clean out your media collection and keep only the items you love.
7.Plant perennials that will automatically bloom next spring.
8.Clean out your purse or wallet.
9.Put a paper shredder next to your mail spot.
10.Wind your wardrobe down to pieces that work together.
11.Delete any social networking accounts you don’t actually use.
12.Add your number to the do-not-call list.
13.Create a car maintenance schedule and post it somewhere you’ll see it.
14.Design a filing system that you can stick to.
15.Start your day with a healthy meal.
16.Turn your phone off when you need quiet time.
17.Invest in a programmable thermostat.
18.Set one good goal, and go achieve it.
19.Record your good “shower” ideas and then implement them. (Don’t we all get our best inspirations in the shower?)
20.Write to a friend with (gasp!) pen and paper.
21.Set limits on your bad habits, and reward yourself when you stick with them.
22.Stop trying to be a saint and indulge yourself every once in a while.
23.Pay off your credit card debt.
24.Avoid watching commercials and reading advertisements.
25.Rediscover the pleasure of reading purely for enjoyment.
26.Plan two weeks of delicious meals ahead of time and skip the nightly grocery run.
Today's mail was super fun! Lot's of freebies! I got this sample showcase I had singed up for through the US Postal Service.
I got free deodorant, Grill Mates, Aveeno, Bengay, Shower to Shower samples and lots of coupons.
Then I got my first FREE issue of OK! magazine. Now I will never miss out on how Jennifer Aniston lost 7lbs in 7 days and what the royals are doing. I know...such trash to read but so fun every once in awhile.
Sunday afternoon we were lucky enough to take the kids out to a friend of mines house to fish. They had so much fun! The Hunter has been taking the kids fishing since they could walk so they really have grown to love it. He used to put Bubby in a pack-n-play and Sissy was basically toddling around and he would fish. As the kids got older he would give them a pole without a hook and they would just practice casting all day. They thought they were fishing big time!
The boys were extremely impressed with Sissy's mad casting skills.
She can cast and fish better than most.
She was the only girl there and I don't think the boys cared if she was there or not but once she caught the first fish she was considered one of the boys.
Even Bubby got in on the fun! His face doesn't show it but he really was excited to get a fish.
After the fishing adventure we went to another friends for a backyard BBQ, inhaled some food and then took off for a swimming party.
So much fun! But they were so tired. Home, bathed and sound asleep by 7pm. A good day.