Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Bonding with the boy

Well, with one child out of the house it was just my boy and I yesterday. We did a lot with our time together. We learned that zucchini is not always an offensive vegetable and when mixed with chocolate and sugar it came become quite wonderful to the taste buds of a toddler. Once again the transformation of food has made me magical in the eyes of my child. Since yesterday between the two of us we have eaten half a tray of zucchini brownies. We also spend the morning blanching and freezing the excessive amounts of zucchini from our garden. Seeing the vegetable in it's various states had been quite fun for him. He enjoying helping to harvest the vegetable from the plant, then watching as I cut and blanched it. He was able to help lay the slices flat and put them in the freezer and was surprised by how their texture had changed when they were removed from the freezer.

We also made a potato salad for dinner (the potatoes can be seen peeking in at the edge of the picture). We sure did make a mess and a whole lot of dishes but we had such fun together. We spent the afternoon outside working in the garden and shared a book under the shade of an old tree. He had a chance to see what it would be like if he were an only child, with the attention of both parents centered directly on him and decided he didn't like it very much. I don't think that I have ever seen a boy so happy to see his sister come home so he could tell her about all the fun he had while she was away. He hugged her and let her settle back into home life then shoved a brownie in her face and said, "Here have a brownie, I made them, there is zucchini in it and I love zucchini".

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


I have stumbled into the world of canning and once I got there I fell flat on my face. I walked into the store to buy my supplies knowing exactly what I would need and had a game plan set. My recipes awaited on the counter for later in the evening when I had time to devote to the task at hand. I was so excited to get started. I figured I would start with my very least favorite vegetable in the garden, the radishes. I only eat them in salad and try to get out of even doing that when I can so when harvest time came and I found myself looking at 20 radishes I knew I had to come up with something quick. So that is how I arrived at this idea of canning. I decided I would pickle the radishes for the husband. After I was finally able to get the kids in bed for the night and clean up the mess from dinner all that was left to do was chase the husband from the kitchen. "I am going to start canning", I announced and boy did he disappear. I set up the pots. One for boiling the rings and seals and another that would function as the water bath. I made my pickling brine according to the recipe, going back and forth to the recipe every two seconds. While looking at the time constantly to make sure the jars were in the water long enough to be sterilized. I packed the jars, added the brine and applied the seals and rings. Then I put those cute little jars into the water bath and processes them for the exact time the recipe stated and set them on the counter for the night. I cleaned up my mess and felt so smug and proud of myself. I had done it! I had really done it! I went to bed feeling satisfied and as I lay there I replayed all of the wonderful events over in my head. Then with shock I remembered something. SALT! I never put the salt into the brine! I measured it out and put it on the ledge of the stove then got distracted by my husband, who had passed through the kitchen and asked how it was going. I got out of bed and went and looked at the stove ledge and there was my salt. The jars certainly were cute but the radishes they contained were definitely not pickled.

Two Different Worlds

I find myself living in two different worlds at the moment. There is the one world where everything is convenient. The food comes already made and the children are sent from one place to another thus keeping them occupied and happy. The work outside of the home is hectic yet satisfying and provides all of the worthwhile praise in a persons life. There is this other world where children stay home, meals are prepared from scratch each day and the mother stays home receiving all the acclaim that the need from the smiles on her families face. I would like to believe that the later is the type of life that I live but I keep feeling the pull of the former. There are times when taking a box from the cabinet and adding water seems like the best idea ever for dinner for connivence sake, no matter how disgusting that whole idea actually is when you think about it. It always sound like a good idea to keep the kids involved in activities so that they can be with their friends doing things that they like to do but then when they are gone I miss them so much. As crazy as they make everything I really do enjoy the time we spend together. I enjoy all the time that I get to spend with people when we ignore the easy way and instead opt for the slower pace. Theses little changes in my life have brought such great satisfaction and gratification. My outlook on those around me has changed so much. People that I once found so old fashioned (my Mom for instance) are now the people that I respect more. My mom tells me about her childhood more frequently and all the time spent helping her grandmother with the canning and bread baking.  My husband has relatives that live in the country and I find myself asking for tips on canning and gardening. As I get a little more practice crocheting I feel more connected to some more of my husbands relatives and look forward to the skills that they maybe able to teach me. These are exciting times for me. It is like finally opening your eyes to a world that has been around you the whole time. I still will feel the pull of the convenient lifestyle and will have to fight the urge to buy everything in sight and microwave all my meals but I will have all the reminders of what really matters when I look at the people who are around me. The smiles on my children's faces and the skills that my relatives and I share and the memories that we make when we get to do those things together are all I need.
Enough of the deep stuff. Now back to looking up homeopathic treatments for a dog with hot spots and boiling beans on the stove for tomorrows dinner, not exactly a lively day here.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Best Laid Plans

This year we tried something new with the garden and started just about everything with seeds. Everything except the cucumbers, we took the safe route and bought cucumber plants. Now here it is July and the garden is finally starting to flourish. The cucumbers though are having some trouble. I think they have a mildew. From what I could find it looks like we are dealing with powdery mildew, something we should have been trying to prevent but now we are stuck with trying to treat it. It appears that we are going to lose the plant.

Thankfully I was able to get a few cucumbers off of the plant before this showed up. I really hope the plant makes it. The kids are so excited about cucumbers each summer. This is one of the challenges of gardening and I am sure this is only the beginning but wish that this is as bad as it gets.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


Once again life has taken over and while I struggle to maintain control I find myself being swept into the whirl wind. It is almost like being in quick sand, the more I fight against becoming engrossed in the hustle and bustle, the further and faster I find myself running to keep up.
The kids are doing their summer activities which is great because it keeps them social and busy. Unfortunately it leads to me running around a lot more and stressing out about all of the details required of me (washing soccer socks daily being my least favorite). With all of the additional activities in our home I feel like the summer is going so fast and soon enough it will be time for school to start. I wish that I had a pause button so I could just enjoy these warm days with the kids for a little longer. We have spent some quality time together. We have traveled and seen friends and family that we usually do not get to see. We have sat by a campfire sharing stories and we have cooked meals together, laughing at the mess we've made in the process. I guess life has been busy but we have had some great times together. Sometimes just stopping and taking a few minutes to think about how things are going is enough to center the mind. Now if only thinking could help center my house, the chores are piling up. Maybe I can wrangle the kids into helping, all in the name of quality family time.