Monday, June 30, 2008

A Berry Good Day

Today was a "berry" good day. The berries from the farmer's market had given me a hankering for more fresh berries and I decided to try my hand at picking my own. I got up early and headed out to a local strawberry patch. I've never done this before, at least not that I can recall, but how hard can it be?

When I got to the berry patch, there were a bunch of people already there. Apparently 7 am is for lazy berry pickers. They had been there for awhile. Anyway... a girl of about 16 led me out and plunked me in a row. She didn't really impart any wisdom or say anything at all past "Hi" and "here you go." I think my row had been picked over before I got there. I wasn't finding much for quite awhile. I was starting to question whether this was such a good idea.

So I started to pray for berries. I should have done that when I got there, but better late than never right? Sure enough, after I prayed and started focusing on the blessings of a quiet berry patch and a lovely day, I started finding lots of nice berries. Thank you Lord!! I filled my box, and headed out.

I picked 12.35 lbs of berries and it cost $14.75! That's a big savings over buying them at the grocery store. And we will have fresh, locally grown berries in our freezer when they are out of season. Yummy! I spent the rest of my morning and part of the afternoon washing, capping and freezing my berries. I've got 6 quart bags full in the freezer now!

I went out to get the mail and check on my garden. My swiss chard was looking SO good! I brought some in to have with our supper. It is my very first harvest from my garden. Just look at it! It's so beautiful!We had a wonderful, fresh dinner tonight with my day's finds. I mixed the chard with the spinach I bought at the farmer's market. The red stems added such nice color. Strawberries were next - an egg slicer made short work of those. Then I cooked up a chicken breast with a little onion and made a ginger-lime dressing to put on top. I also baked some whole wheat buttermilk biscuits to round out the meal. It was so beautiful I had to take a picture.
So simple. So delicious. I love cooking in the summer!

A Restless Age

6 1/2 months is such a restless age. Apparently.

Since we got back from St. Louis, Hosanna has been a bit restless. She has gone from wobbly sitter to sturdy sitter and now she wants to be independent. Her new thing is sitting on the floor playing with toys while I work in the kitchen. She does really well, and only goes ka-bonk once in awhile.
Please take note of the above picture. See the trail of toys? I sat her down next to the bus. She scooched and wiggled herself across the room to the puppy and then on to the highchair. She was trying to chew on the end of the highchair buckle. Today she was doing it again and she tried to pull herself up. Whoa. I am SO NOT READY for that!!!
She's also decided to develop a discriminating palate. She will NOT eat carrots. One taste and she refused to open her mouth again. I tried at 3 meals!! I finally gave up and fed her something else. What am I going to do with this child?

Farmer's Market Finds

Saturday we had to run to the bank. I thought it might be fun to check out the farmer's market downtown since I've never been there and we were using the gas to drive to town anyway...!! What a beautiful thing we discovered! Fresh, locally grown vegetables. Homemade baked goods. Unique crafts. Even coffee! I was in love! The prices are good and everything is so fresh. We came home with baby potatoes, sugar snap peas, spinach, beets, strawberries, and a bar of goat milk soap. The coffee & cookies didn't make it all the way home.

So, I'm thinking, this is going to become a weekly event. Next time I'll take my BabyHawk for Hosanna and some chico bags to carry the goodies home. And I'll drop Teagan & the munchkins off at a park to play. Wrangling all 6 of us through the market was a challenge to say the least. But oh, so worth it!! I am loving cooking with fresh veggies again and will be meal planning around my farmer's market finds.

Old Friend, New Friend

On Friday I had the rare privilege of spending the morning with my best and oldest friend. (She's not old, but I've had her the longest ;-) My dear friend Shelli from Iowa was visiting family in the area and we got to spend some time together. It had been 4 years or so since her last visit, so this was really special. Since our last visit I've had 2 babies and she's had 1 (but the 2nd is cookin'). Here are our youngest little ones together. Hope is a year old (today! Happy B-day!) and Hosanna is 6 months, but they are the same size! They were so cute playing together.

I wish I had gotten a picture of Shelli & I together, but my camera batteries died while I was taking pictures of the girls. We had Kordell take one on her camera phone, but, well, it's a camera phone so I'm not sure how it turned out...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Home Again

We made it home. We left St. Louis Monday afternoon. We spent the night in El Paso, IL. The whole point of stopping for the night was to make the trip home more enjoyable and less stressful. In truth, we just prolonged the misery. I won't go into details, but a certain almost-3 year old does not travel well.

But we are home now. And keeping busy trying to catch up.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Happy Birthday?

I could also title this "How to embarrass your 9 year old son to DEATH on his birthday" but that seemed a little wordy...

Friday night we went out for a pre-birthday celebration at Chevy's. Grampa Chuck arranged a little surprise for Kordell. After we had eaten dinner, the waiters all came out and sang to him, plus he got a sombrero and a sundae. He was totally embarrassed! He didn't want to wear the hat, but we told him if he didn't we would take away his ice cream.

Saturday (his actual b-day) we went to the Ambassadors of Harmony concert. Chuck sings bass in the chorus and this was the first time we'd ever seen one of his concerts. It was a great show! Barbershop music is so much fun.

After the show, as we were milling about in the foyer, one of the quartets, Vocal Spectrum, came over and starting singing "Happy Birthday" to Kordell.

The boy about melted into the floor. He did not know what to do with himself, he was so embarrassed.We took a group picture. Look at how happy he was.
To put some perspective on this... Vocal Spectrum is the very best barbershop quartet in the world. It would be like Third Day or Casting Crowns coming to your birthday party. All this was a bit lost on Kordell. I'm sure he'll forgive us someday...

Online friends IRL

Saturday I had the opportunity to meet some of my online friends & their families. We all met at a park for a picnic & playdate. Between the 3 of us, there were 15 children! It was a treat to chit chat with these moms that I have so much in common with, that I've "known" online for years now. Here are some pictures of our group.

The kids had a great time. Each of the kids had other kids their own age to hang out with. Here's Hosanna meeting a new friend, Eden.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Gone Loopy

This post won't mean nearly as much to you as it does to me, but I wanted to share anyway...

Thursday I went to The Loopy Ewe. TLE is only my very favorite place to shop online. It's all yarn all the time baby!! They specialize in sock yarn, but have lots of other goodies too. The store is mostly online, but they open it up for shopping a few hours a week. And it just happens to be in St. Louis!! Of course I had to visit while I was in town. Here it is, Loopy Central in all it's yarny glory.

There was lots more yarn around the corner. Lots, lots more! The owner, Sheri, kindly volunteered her baby-holding services so I could fondle the yarn. Hosanna got passed around and loved on by Sheri & all the Loopy Elves. I think she made their day!

I'm sure no one quite understands how incredibly fun this was for me. When I say, "look, here we are in front of the Numma Numma!" you will all think I have totally lost it. But trust me, it's good stuff.I could go on, but I don't want to bore you to death. Just bask in my Loopy joy, smile & pretend like you care. ;-)

All Aboard!

Wednesday brought us to the Museum of Transportation. The kids enjoyed seeing the old cars and the big trains. Here they are on the steps of one of the train cars:

Jade especially enjoyed the big trains. Here she is with Teagan, learning about all the different parts of the engine.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Taking the Animals to the Zoo

Yes, I called my children animals. You weren't at the zoo with us now were you.

It started in the parking lot. We paid $10 for the privilege of entering the lot and couldn't find a parking space!! We circled a whole lotta times before a space opened up in the far back corner. By the time we unloaded the kids, the stroller, and the hoveround and walked to the entrance, the first handicapped space closest to the door was open! Doh!

The first section of the zoo was a lovely shaded walk that housed desert animals. Except that most of the animals were AWOL. The hippo was in the house though. They had this very cool tank with windows so you could see the hippos underwater. Except an entire daycare was standing in front of it. They finally moved out and I told Kordell to run up there with Jade...quick! After a couple of "huh?" he finally moseyed in that direction, but was beat to the punch by another day care. (There were so many day care groups there! I think it must have been day care day.)

After that we decided to get a snack. $21 for 3 pretzels, some french fries, and a soda!! We sat under a tree at the only table open. A bird pooped on our map. Twice.

We decided to skip the reptile house (snakes...eww) and the monkey house and headed straight for the big cats, giraffes, and the like. It was uphill (both ways, lol). There was less shade over there and it was the middle of the day. We were by the zebras at the far end of the zoo when it happened. Jade had a complete meltdown. She had thought there was a playground to be had at the zoo and instead she had to hold her brother's hand and walk around. And we wouldn't even let her climb the fence or hang upside down on the guard rail! She'd had just about enough and she let us have it. We were about as far from our truck as we could possibly be. We had to finish the zoo, like it or not.

I fairly dragged Jade the rest of the way. We had a brief reprieve by the bear exhibit. They found the swimming polar bear rather fascinating. That's what they are all looking at in this picture:

We survived (barely). Afterwards we hit Sonic for a late lunch and found the kids a real park (with monkey bars and everything). Soft grass and wide open spaces. Much better.

Gooey. Butter. Cake.

Monday evening we were kind of bored. It had been a maintainence day. You know, laundry and that sort of thing around the house. We wanted to do something. At the Science Center, we had sampled something called "Gooey Butter Cake" made by a little coffee house called Park Avenue Coffee. The cake was great! And made right here in St. Louis. We decided it was a good night for a little exploring. After dinner we loaded up and headed downtown.

Park Avenue Coffee is just a bit south of Union Station, in Lafeyette Square. It's a great little coffee shop! Even without the gooey butter cake it would be a place I would love to hang out. It had cushy seating and even better, a patio in the back! The white chocolate mocha was really good and the gooey butter cake was phenomenal!! I had white chocolate raspberry gooey butter cake. It was SO rich and yummy.
The best best BEST part of the night was that I actually felt normal. Like, I'm a normal person hanging out at the coffee shop with my hubby like we always did. Here's my favorite picture from this whole trip. (I about cried when I discovered that it was blurry, but it's still my favorite!) This is us. This is what we do.
Here are the munchkins. And yes, we did let Jade have some gooey butter cake... just a little teensy bit. It is vacation after all.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Father's Day Weekend

Saturday we had planned to go to a Farm & Tractor festival at a tractor museum in Illinois. My grandma & grandpa met us over there. It was over 90* when we got there, and the festival turned out to be a dud. It might have been okay if the weather had been cooler. But it was nice to see Grandma & Grandpa. They hadn't seen Hosanna yet.
No, it's not Santa Claus in a cowboy hat... It's my grandpa!

Sunday, back in St. Louis, we headed over to the Science Center. They had a "Monster Machines" exhibit for Father's Day. We saw a monster truck, construction equipment, tractors, etc. But my favorite was the giant shopping cart!
Inside the museum, we went to the monsters exhibit- a look at the art and science of animatronics (movie monsters). They had supplies there for the kids to draw & sculpt their own monsters. Here are some of or creations...We had a great time at the Science Center! It was a fun weekend.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Chomp Chomp

Guess who got her first tooth today!?

My Eleventy-First Post!

I blew straight past 100 and this is my 111th post! Or eleventy-first as Bilbo Baggins would put it...
Yay me.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


No, not that kind of trippin'! I don't do that sort of thing. ;-)

We are on vacation!!!! Woo-hoo!

Yesterday we got up at 3:30 am, loaded up the munchkins, and headed south. It's a 8 hour drive straight through. We made it in 12 hours. It's vacation! Why rush? We stopped at a rest area in Illinois and they had a HUGE playground! We let the kids run for about an hour. I was going to take cute pictures to show you, but my camera batteries were dead! Anyhow, we took our time with lunch and made extra stops. This year we are learning the joy of slowing down.

Another thing we have discovered is on-the-road entertainment courtesy of C.S. Lewis. On a whim, we started a read-aloud of Prince Caspian. What a great idea!! It made the miles go by SO much faster. If we had started reading at 5 am when it started getting light out, we could have read the whole thing. As it is, we're left hanging 70 pages from the end! We haven't had a chance to sit down together and read more since we got here. Hopefully we can find time to finish it... SOON!! Lewis is a master. I've yet to read the whole Narnia series, but I am greatly enjoying this one.

Stay tuned for more stories from our vacation!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Homeschool Egg-speriments

Teagan found an egg in the yard. It was a whole robin's egg, not broken or anything. (We also found a nest. The egg & the nest aren't related, but they took a good picture together!) Anyway, I wanted to open the egg and see what was inside. Was it a baby bird that didn't make it or a dud that mama bird pushed out of the nest? We're homeschoolers FPS! We must find out!! It's a science project!

Kordell did not want to find out. He was afraid of what was in there. I brought him some gloves and sat him down and told him to crack it open. He was too chicken. He just inspected it gingerly and set it back down.

Jade was not so shy. She picked it up and dropped it on the table. She's thinking, Hmm... interesting. Meanwhile, Kordell was freaking out... (The wind blew our plate right in front of the broken egg.)Ah, here is the egg laying where Jade dropped it... It looks like egg white is coming out. Kordell still wouldn't touch it.
Mom had to be the brave one to pick it up and pull it open. What horror did we find inside???

Egg yolk. It was a dud.

Talk about your "Much Ado About Nothing." Rolling eyes... It was fun anyway. :-)

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The Box is the Best Part

My mom got us a freezer for Christmas, and we finally got it out of the box and installed! It fits just right between the washer & dryer. But this post is not about the freezer (though I love the freezer). No, this is a reminder that when you have littles, the box is the best part of every present! Here's Ruby in her new "house." :-)