Thursday, July 17, 2014

Summer Crazy

Its been another crazy summer week around here. 

Karolyn was with my parents in Branson, MO and then traveled to Kansas with them to play with my brother's kids for a few days. Now she is staying at Shawn's parent's house and playing with Eric's kids and riding Cheyenne. We miss her like crazy!


 Our garden is starting to produce and we've been enjoying multi-colored green beans raw and steamed.

 I picked quite a bit of basil and parsley to dehydrate for this winter. I haven't dehydrated spices before, so we'll see how this goes.

parsley


The kids worked really hard to get all their 4-H projects finished in time for the county fair this week. I'm pretty sure moms should get a ribbon too!
 Kaylee is in her last year as a cloverbud, so she did three projects and got three rainbow ribbons. 
She was pretty exicited about her ribbons!

 Kolsen talking with the judge about his chalk pastel drawing that he did.
Note to mom: make sure it has a hanger on the back.

 Kaylee's lupine chalk pastel. She used a picture from our flowers of MN book and did this all on her own.


 She also completed a baby quilt and we were able to bring it to the fair, since our friends ended up having a boy. She did a fantastic job on the binding and is excited about doing another quilt soon!


 Kolsen created a wildlife poster and talked about why prairie potholes are important. He had fun putting together the poster and I think Shawn was happy to see his son becoming passionate about something he loves too.




The two little girls and I enjoyed a concert at N.P. Park this week sponsored by the library. It was a bluegrass band from the twin cities. The weather was beautiful and the girls had fun watching the lady of the group clog. She also gave us a quick lesson on the autoharp since we got their early, which was interesting to learn about.

 Kolsen's cheering squad at his latest game. Kaylee, LT and Kassidy loved watching the game (and playing at the park).

 I love this picture with Kolsen (on deck) in the background. 
His team is 9-0 so far this season and Shawn is doing a great job as coach.

We've also been finding some spare minutes to keep the house clean which is important since all the neighborhood kids and in and out of the house all day playing. I thought my mom was crazy when she bought these mopping shoes at a garage sale, but my kids LOVE to help me mop the floor with them. These are a must have item for any mom with little kids and lots of spills.

Now we just have to wait for Shawn to get off work so we can go on the fair rides and eat yummy food tonight. On Sunday, Karolyn finally comes home, along with my in-laws for the week. The kids are counting down the days! More summer fun is coming.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Gardening

Parts of our garden are doing amazing and other parts are struggling along because of the rainy, spring weather. The most exciting part of the garden this year was the new space that we were able to add because of the deck. I feel like we doubled our space and we planted a lot of things that we haven't tried in the past.

 Our three rows of mix color beans are blooming like crazy. I think we'll be picking beans by the end of the week. I got these seeds from my homeschool mom's banquet and I'm eager to see how this new variety turns out. We also have a couple rows of onions which seem to be doing well, but are hard to see.

 We plated three jalapeno plants and three banana pepper plants this year. They are small, but are already producing vegetables.

 The big fail for this year seems to be my poor tomato plants. We bought some really small tomato plants and they grew to monstrous size in no time. Last week they started wilting one by one. We think it is because we've been having so much rain. A few of them seem like they'll perk back up and I bought two more at the farmer's market this past weekend to plant in place of the ones which looked really done for. I was dreaming about all the salsa and tomato sauce we would be putting up this fall and I'm devastated that they are dead. I'm not sure if I should by more? or if it is too late to plant new plants because our growing season is pretty short.

 My favorite new part of the garden is the spot for pole beans along the deck. They are already at the top and trying to go higher.

 Another new section of the garden is up by our house. Our backyard is pretty shaded, but right up by the house is really sunny and hot all summer long. This year I dug up all of Shawn's wildflowers (poor guy) and planted this area to garden too. I bought three beautiful trellis and planted spaghetti squash, cucumbers and zucchini. I found our that zucchini is NOT a vining plant, it's more of a bush, so next year I'll have to plant it to the side of the air conditioner and not behind it. I finally moved the middle trellis over towards the cucumber plants because they are going crazy.

I also planted celery and green peppers in the area in front of the vining plants. So far it seems to be working out well. I also have chives that need to be cut and frozen (to the right of the air condenser).

 Our raspberries are ripe this week and I've yet to see any make it into our house.

 We used all the large pots we could find in the shed for flowers along the deck and put one green pepper and one tomato plant (from the farmer's market in town) in pots. We'll see how these ones do.

 My first green pepper of the season.

 I planted cabbage and lettuce in front of the pole beans. The lettuce we've had so far has been delicious.

 My first cucumber. YEAH! I've never had the space to plant any vining plants, so I'm excited about adding these to our garden!

 Another sad picture of my poor tomato plants. I couldn't believe how tall they were and then they just bit the dust.

My spice rack. I planted basil, cilantro (which has seeded out already) and parsley.

We are also doing the Bluebird Garden's CSA again this summer, so we are getting a big box of vegetables to eat each week. We'll be swimming in vegetables all summer long!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The First Set of Grandparents Arrive

We just finished a nine day visit from my parents. We were excited they were able to make it up this summer after my dad's heart surgery earlier this year. Even with the kids not feeling well for a day or two we still managed to get in lots of summer fun.

 Watching gymnastics class

New shoes!


 They had a really neat obstacle course set up for the girls during one the days.


 We sat by neighbors and friends for the parade which had been postponed because of bad weather. The kids came home with lots of candy and were most excited about getting Sherwin Williams bags from our neighbor to put their candy in.


 Don't you think he needs a little brother???

 Our parade crew. Karolyn was under the weather, so Shawn stayed home with her.

 We celebrated the 4th of July with fun hairdos, fancy nails and fire works in Whapeton.


 The little girls have been begging to go to Adams School to play on the tower playground toy.

mmm...ice cream from Dairyland.

 It was a little cool and rainy one day so we went to the local Americinn and did some swimming indoors.


 The last day of gymnastics! Kaylee and Kassidy both loved being in the same class.

 Later in the week, we had some weather in the high 80s so we hit up Hoot Lake for some boating and swimming. I did my first swim for the triathlon coming up at the end of the month. Brrrr...the lake was pretty cold, but after the initial shock wore off we had lots of fun.



 We made it over to Fargo for a Redhawks game and got everyone in for free with our Sunmart receipts, but we spent plenty of money on yummy snacks. The best part was realizing two different neighboring families were at the game sitting right in front of us.


 Kolsen's team had the week of July 4th off, so my parents stayed through Monday night to watch a game. Kolsen played 2nd base and also pitched a couple of innings. So far they haven't loss any game this season.

And one of my favorite parts of the week was visiting LT's new little brother at the hospital. Holden is one of the cutest babies I've ever seen and I'm hoping to get some more time snuggling with him when we start up bible study again this fall.

Karolyn turned 9 in March and she has been counting down the days to her special trip to Branson with Nana Kristi and Papa Tom. They've got all sorts of fun shows and activities planned for the week and I'm sure she'll love being the only grandkid being spoiled rotten by Nana and Papa this week.