Sunday, May 17, 2015

Just Last Week…

Another week in review post. We’ve had so many rainy days, and in this part of the country, we never eschew the rain. By mid-summer, we’ll be wishing for it again. It does make gardening difficult, but Greg was able to get out with the boys last Sunday and do some planting. They put in carrot seeds, lettuces, and radishes. There is an onion growing that was leftover from last year. See the peonies in the background? They’re ready to burst open and I can’t wait.

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It is a rarity to get a photo of all three grands at the same time, even moreso a pic with their mother. Since it was Mother’s Day, I snuck out the camera while they were all gathered round.

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Layla turned 4 months old, so Jess started her on cereal. She was so THRILLED with it and scarfed it right down. In this past week she has slept through the night, and Jess is getting more sleep than she knows what to do with. Layla also rolled over from her back to her tummy, but Silas was the only one to see it happen. He was as excited as can be!

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We’ve been using the veggies from our Bountiful Basket every day. One night we roasted the colorful carrots with some olive oil and a spice blend called “Sunny Paris” from Penzey’s. We’d not had the different colors of carrots before, but expected them to taste like the usual orange ones. The purple seemed sweeter, the pale orange like regular carrots, but the white ones were a little bitter.

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We celebrated Greg’s birthday a couple of days early with the grandkids. Cheese enchiladas and German chocolate cake with homemade caramel pecan frosting, his favorite.

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Over a couple of evenings, Greg and I managed to get peppers, tomatoes, basil, and a squash planted. They’re being watered in well, thanks to Mother Nature. We have a few more things to put out there, and I think this next week will be a good chance to get that done.

We’ve had all manner of illness in the house this past week, and while the kids are recovered, all of the grownups have lingering ailments that have slowed us down considerably. Fingers crossed we’ll all be back to normal this week.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Using the Bounty: Tomatoes

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In my last post I mentioned the Bountiful Baskets we got on Saturday. When I ordered, I got a few add-ons to the conventional basket: the Mexican, the Agua Fresca, and the organic Beefsteak tomatoes. Fifteen pounds of what I was expecting to be large, red, fragrant tomatoes.  No such luck. They were small and pale-ish. I was disappointed.

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Turns out, I needn’t have been. By Sunday morning, they were a bit redder, so I thought I’d take a chance and whip up a Caprese salad to take to Mother’s Day lunch with Greg’s family. I cut the first one, took a little taste, and was pleasantly surprised that they were, indeed, flavorful. The salad was well-received and only about a quarter of it came home with us. Greg made homemade pizzas for supper, so I used that leftover salad to make a margherita pizza.

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A little garlic olive oil on the crust, instead of sauce, then fresh tomato slices, fresh mozzarella slices, and some fresh basil. Greg took it out to the grill for a few minutes, then I popped it under the broiler in the oven to brown up the cheese…

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Oh my, it was delicious. The crisp was crusty on the bottom and edge, but the pizza was light and flavorful. And check out this cheese pull:

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I love when the cheese is like that! I also love that we were able to use up the leftover Caprese salad right away in such a delicious manner. The heat brought out even more flavor in those tomatoes.

I see a blt with avocado in my future, and a tomato and avocado salad for supper one night. Perhaps a batch of sauce as well?

What would you do with them? I’m open to suggestions!

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Sunday, May 10, 2015

Week in Review

One of these days I’ll get a real blog post done – when I finally get a project done. Until then, these week-in-review posts remind me that while I may not be completing all those projects, which I very much enjoy doing, my time is well-spent nurturing grandbabies. Our situation may be out of the ordinary, and admittedly is sometimes overwhelming, but I truly feel blessed to have those babies here. They’re happy kids who dote on each other most of the time. No delusions that it’s all sunshine and rainbows, but the good far outweighs the challenges.DSCN0317 (2)

Here is Silas with the “Litter Bug” he created in preschool. He learned a lot about recycling and keeping our Earth clean when they studied Earth Day. He’s writing a story in this pic, but don’t ask me to recall it. His imagination makes for wild tales full of adventure and Super Hero feats of saving the world.

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We are able to contribute for a Bountiful Basket every other week, and when I ordered on Monday I went a little nuts and got three add-on packages. There was no way there was enough room in the frig for what was coming. Layla was really good one day and between her napping and happily sitting in her high chair watching, I was able to deep clean the frig in shifts. Take in the beauty. It was fleeting. Sigh. (Yes, that is a half-eaten apple, courtesy of Silas.)  (Does anyone else have so many condiments? I need a frig just for those. Sheesh.) (Also, too, doesn’t showing the inside of the refrigerator seem really personal?)

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For Valentine’s Day, Greg purchased and installed Minecraft on his Kindle for the boys. Silas likes to pretend he’s playing, but Brad actually does spend some time each week creating in the game. He likes to watch Minecraft videos on YouTube, then try out new ideas in his own game. He’s usually allowed just a few hours each week, so it’s a special treat to get to play. He also is required to wear headphones. It’s way too much audio stimulation for this Grammy to deal with otherwise!

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Miss Layla was sick through this week, but she was a trooper. There were still lots of smiles and snuggles and slobbery kisses.

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Aaaand, here’s our haul from Bountiful Baskets that we picked up Saturday morning! Jess and I did some meal planning this afternoon centered around all this deliciousness. There are some new-to-us items that will take some research to learn to use, like tamarind and dried hibiscus flowers. I’m pretty excited about the tomatoes. This time of year I start craving fresh ones, and while these don’t look too red and ripe, they actually have good flavor. The multi-colored carrots will be fun to sample as well, and I’ve never given the boys fresh apricots. I like apricots, so we’ll see how that goes.

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We pick up our basket at 7 a.m., so usually have some time to get everything washed before putting it away. Not this day, since Brad and I were attending a private showing of the new Avengers movie, and had to be back in town almost right away. I had time to unpack and inspect everything, make sure Jess got a good pic, then we packed that clean frig full. It is once again bursting with bounty, with nary a spare inch for any leftovers. Good thing we have a second refrigerator in the garage!

You may have noticed the pretty flowers on the table in the background. Bradley picked those out for me when he was shopping with his mama the other day. Grampy sprayed the dandelions in the yard, so those were in short supply this week.

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Saturday, May 2, 2015

This Week in Photos (again)

I don’t feel like I accomplished much this past week beyond making the bed every day and keeping up with dishes. I did do a massive amount of laundry mid-week. The boys were out of underwear, so…

Last Sunday was a gorgeous day and I spent part of the afternoon working on the east side of the garage. Years ago I made a small flower bed there, but it’s been sadly neglected. The mulberry tree was cut down last fall, so now I can get in there and put in some new color with flowers. The bleeding heart at the far end is just lovely, and there is lily of the valley all over in there. Also, lots of little trees that are the bane of my existence.  Anyway, this bed is where I’ll be using empty wine bottles. You’ll just have to stay tuned for that!

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The boys just cannot keep away from their baby sister, and she loves the attention. Well, most of the time. Silas asked me to snap a pic while he snuggled Layla.

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On Monday evening I went outside to grab the stroller and bring it in, and this is what I found on the front porch. I think my heart is going to explode, these boys fill it up so full. Yes, they duct-taped dandelions to the house. They know Grammy likes flowers by the front door.

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Bradley and Layla are checking out the baby TV channel together. Yes, for a few minutes each morning, she gets to watch TV. Grammy has things to do.

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Whenever the boys are here for supper on Tuesdays, we have Mexican food and call it “Taco Tuesday” (thank you, Lego Movie). I asked Silas what we should have this week and he asked for “regleear” (regular) tacos, salad, worms, and butterflies. I did not bat an eye, and he got what he asked for. For the worms, we made “zoodles” using a zucchini and a little gadget I have that looks like a vegetable peeler, but makes long shreds instead. I did a quick sauté with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, and we had our worms. (I made everyone take some. Grampy buried his one zoodle in the bottom of his taco.) For the butterflies, we took some sugar cookie dough from the freezer and Silas made butterfly-shaped cookies for dessert.

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The weather was perfect all week long, and Jess took the kids to the park each afternoon when she got home from work. Miss Layla has graduated from being strapped in her car sea on the stroller, to sitting in the seat. She loves walking to the park now that she can see all the cool stuff around her!

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When I could, I worked on this project. I spent most of Wednesday afternoon cutting out all the little pieces, and now have begun to sew. More on that project as it nears completion. That is my mom’s sewing machine, so I’ve had it 18 years. I have no idea how old it was when I got it, but suffice to say, it has lived a good long life and is about to be retired.

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So there you go - a small slice of life here on the prairie. Complete with duct taped flowers and worms for supper.

 

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Saturday, April 25, 2015

This Week in Photos

Some projects begun, but nothing ready to blog about. For fun, I thought I’d share a few photos of the grands taken this past week.

On Monday I awoke with a massive headache that soon had me feeling nauseous, which means migraine. It was a s.l.o.w. morning for me until the meds took effect. Brad-Man was very sweet and helped take care of his sister for me. DSCN0180

He played quietly while Layla had her nap, and took some pics of his Lego creation.

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Later that afternoon he and Silas built towers with Duplo blocks. Silas was ecstatic when the tower was so tall they had to get the step stool to add bricks. Duplo tower

Miss Layla got some new fashion accessories. She actually doesn’t mind when we put headbands on her. Not so with the sunglasses. Those were pulled off immediately.

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Silas was super-excited to go bowling with his preschool class this week. His mama got to join him at the bowling alley, but he told me his favorite part was riding the school bus.

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A sneak peek at my current project. I worked on it as I could this week, and made lots of progress today. More to come about this as I get them finished.

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Yes, that is The Hulk watching over my pile of felt. Don’t you have large plastic Super Heroes helping you out at home, too?

 

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Monday, April 13, 2015

Just Chalking Around…

Every few years I get a hankering to freshen things up around here and paint all the walls. The bulk of that project will happen the first couple weeks in June, but over the week between Christmas and New Year’s, Jess and I took care of the small wall between the kitchen and the master bedroom by putting on a few coats of chalkboard paint. The boys love sidewalk chalk outside and now they can use it inside when the weather is bad. I also enjoy chalkboard signs and chalkboard art, and this is the perfect canvas for practice.

Here is the plain boring wall when we got started. The thermostat and light switch in the middle always made it a challenge to decorate. Jess mudded and sanded the joint down the center.

Then a couple of coats of paint with plenty of drying time in between and we have this fun, huge chalkboard to play on. The paint was Disney Great Slate Chalkboard Paint, purchased at our local mart of the Wal. I think it was around $15 and we still have almost half the can leftover. (I did paint the light switch and the thermostat, so they blend in somewhat. They’re still a pain in my neck, though.)

As life goes, things got super busy and we didn’t even draw on our new wall until after Layla was born and came home.

We didn’t end up using this photo for a birth announcement, but it was a cheerful welcome to our sweet grandgirl. You can see that the boys colored in the top and bottom right-hand hearts to help me.

When that was erased (using a damp cloth per instructions on the paint can), the boys and I went to town drawing and writing this and that, here and there. Things were drawn and written and erased, and new things took their place.

Then Grace was here one day and we were treated to some awesome graffiti. She drew all this with the exception of the giant horse-dragon in the center. Bradley was inspired by Grace’s work and added his own, starting out with a horse, then decided that since it had a heart at the end of it’s tail, it should breathe fire and become part dragon. The chalkboard wall fulfilled it’s intention by providing a canvas for both Grace and Bradley to express their creativity.

 

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See the random words written at the top? Brad was writing in his idea book and needed to spell some words. I wrote them so he could copy. Silas enjoys drawing and writing on the wall as well. The letters of his name written in random order, lines and circles here and there, the beginnings of representational drawing of a monster or person he randomly names. That jar of chalk is always on the plant stand, and we also have sidewalk chalk in a plastic lidded box that can go outside or be used inside. The sidewalk chalk works better and the colors are more vibrant, so we all tend to use that the most.

The kids aren’t the only ones who get use from the wall. Recently the Easter Bunny was able to set up the kids’ baskets and show them which basket went to which kid. The Easter Bunny is no great artist, but they enjoyed his work and never questioned how on earth a bunny could reach so high and spell so well…

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Chalkboard walls have been very popular on many of the DIY blogs, and it’s easy to find lots of examples on Pinterest. Is it a passing fad? Perhaps. It’s only paint and when we’re done with it, it’ll take only a few minutes to cover up. I don’t see that happening, however. We’re going to enjoy it at our house for a very long time.

 

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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Day’ O’ the Green

Both grandboys wore green and had a fun activity at school to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. We had a good time hearing about the naughty antics of those little leprechauns in the classrooms. They made messes and left footprints all over. One of them even dropped his hat on the floor in his hurry to avoid all the leprechaun traps the kids put out. Fun, fun!

Despite our Irish heritage, we’ve never really celebrated the day much. Even so, this morning when I was writing out our weekly menu board, I drew a shamrock next to today’s entry. Brad saw it and asked if he could draw something too.

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It’s a one-of-a-kind leprechaun with a shamrock on his hat. Special effort was made to ensure he had five fingers on each hand. Then he wrote “LEPR ECHAU N” next to it. Now it looks like “leprechaun” is on the menu. I assure you, no leprechauns were harmed for this meal. LOL.DSCN9868

Since today is Taco Tuesday, we had taco pizza for supper. That was Brad’s request, and he asked to write it on the board. Since it’s St. Patrick’s Day, and we were drawing shamrocks, I added shamrock shakes to the meal.

 

Of course they were homemade shakes, using plain vanilla ice cream, skim milk, about a tablespoon of vanilla extract, and a touch of green food coloring, but they made our meal a tiny bit more special. They were topped with whipped cream and green sprinkles, and served in canning jars. The boys were excited when I put them on the table. DSCN9888

So that was our nod to the day. It wasn’t much effort, yet was fun and tasty. To me, it’s these little things we do in the course of a regular day that make special moments and memories.