Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend

Here's what I did over the long weekend.

Drank some beer...

Ate a LOT of food.  (and didn't cook any of it!)

Had some serious puzzle time.

Listened to the sweetest three-year-old voice telling stories about what he did at "the land" with Uncle T-bone and how the bolt fell off of the golf cart.

Was continually inspired to take more and more and more instagram photos by Tricia.

Witnessed six of the best kids in the WHOLE WORLD make memories they will never forget, with minimal fighting and tattle-tailing.  (photo courtesy of Tricia!)

Watched this, which will NEVER get old.

Went thrifting with my peeps!

Six girls and four thrift stores, and we made some serious damage.

Morgan got practically an entire new wardrobe.

Drank a little more...

Laughed our BUTTS off at a bar.  Who cares that it was 4 PM.  We made it to a bar.  By ourselves.  With no kids.  It was on the way home from the grocery store, but we were there!

Tricia got some of the cutest little juice glasses!

Spent time reading and knitting... (photo courtesy of Tricia!)

And watching the kiddos have fun.

Twelve people, a cat and a dog in one house, and I couldn't ask for one thing to have been different.  I love visiting my sissy, and it was such a bonus to have Tricia and her family there this time! 

LOVE LOVE LOVE these peeps!

Hope you had as fantastic of a weekend as I did!



Friday, May 25, 2012

A Happy List

I am one of those people who likes to make lists and put silly things on them, just so I can cross them off.  I especially like making lists of things to be happy about.  Sometimes I make lists in my head of things to panic/worry/not be happy about, and then I just start to hyperventalate and go find some wine.

Today is a happy day though.  And so now I bring you my happy list:

1.  The sun is shining.  It's been raining for 4 days straight and today it's sunny.  I think the next 4 days are supposed to be rainy too.  Rain is good for the garden, but not for my mood.
2.  I've discovered how much I like cucumber water.  I had some at a pedicure a few months ago, and decided to make some at home.  Yum.  Take some cut up cucumbers, put them in a pitcher, add water.  Yep.
3.  TONIGHT I not only get to see my sissy that I haven't seen since Christmas, but also Tricia from Mommy's Missing Pieces.  I'm giddy.  (well, I'll see Tricia tomorrow morning, but that's close enough).  Our three families are going to spend the long weekend at sissy's house.  The best part?  We have NO plans other than we have to go thrifting sometime during the weekend.  We are going to drink some adult bevvies, do some puzzles, I will knit, they will cook.  Giddy.  Together, these two girls have listened to me complain about more than I care to admit, and always say the right thing back to make me feel better.  Love you girls!
4.  The drive to sissy's takes about 5 hours.  Most of these hours will be spent in the daylight.  5 daylight hours in the car = 5 glorious hours of knitting for me.  And then again on the way home. 
5.  There are 7 days of school left.  Then I won't have to argue with my son over why he forgot again to turn in an assignment, resulting in another zero.
6.  Both of my kids remembered to put their deodorant on this morning.  Trust me, you have no idea how big of a deal this is.  Kelly, you are welcome.
7.  I do not have a headache today, and I slept REALLY good last night.  Finally.
8.  Nate's uncle is sending me some raw wool freshly sheared from his sheep!  I'm so excited to try processing it all the way from this state, into yarn, and into something rediculously warm and wearable!  (and a bit nervous to have it be a big flop and waste it!)
9.  Next Wednesday is Hockey Mom's club, Friday I get to go see a play with my mama, and Saturday is knit night!  Three events in one week that are for MEEEE!
10.  Did I mention it's sunny out?

Now, I just need to truck through this afternoon, and let the weekend fun begin.

I hope you all have a safe, HAPPY, fun Memorial weekend.  Thank you vets, for all you have done and continue to do for us!



Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

How does your garden grow?

When I was visiting my sissy a few years ago, she had a book laying on her coffee table about square foot gardening.  Have you heard of it?  Check out this cool website for more info.  Basically the idea is simple.  In a large, more traditional garden, tons of prime real estate is being used up by paths between rows so you can walk through your garden to reach all of your goods.  Why not create something that you can reach all sides of?  No need to process the soil that you will be walking on, right?  That's kind of a waste of time, energy, and money.  A 4' X 4' garden is plenty of space to grow quite a number of different things, and really can look pretty if you want it to. 

Our first year of attempting this method, we made two gardens and have since expanded to three.  Something is planted in each square foot of the garden, and trust me when I say that this produces PLENTY of goods for our family.  The soil is rich in nutrients - it's a mixture of peet moss, vermiculite, and compost, all which we've bought locally at a reasonable price.  We've planted tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, green peppers, banana peppers, peas, beans, carrots, lettuce, pumpkins, zucchini, and watermelon.  There is nothing like picking something and eating it, knowing that it came from a tiny seed you planted in the ground with your own two hands.  And the taste of these fresh veggies doesn't come close to comparing to what you can buy in the grocery store.

I think we are on our fourth (or is it fifth?) year of gardening.  I do enjoy the hobby, but I absolutely hate bugs.  Hate them.  I feel like little things are crawling on me for two days after I spend time out there.  GRODY.

Morgan did help a little with all the weeding that had to be done, but she also doesn't get along well with creepy crawly bugs.  Besides, there were much more important things to do.  Like look cute.

And do cartwheels.  Outside of the fence.  Away from the grubs and centipedes that she found.
So, most of our things are now planted for this year, but I want to go pick up a few tomato plants (those just work better if you plant the established plants) and I might just find something new we haven't tried yet that I'll pick up too. 

Do you garden?  Do you prefer flowers or vegetables?  I'd love to do more with flowers, but the pesky deer like to eat them.  So I'm kind of restricted to the perennials that were planted in our yard by the previous owners, that seem to not thrill the deer.  They are pretty, don't get me wrong,  but I'd like to get creative every now and then!

Hopfully I'll be able to follow up with more pictures in a few weeks of lots of green stuff growing here!



Saturday, May 12, 2012

Making Wine

I happen to have a fondness for wine.  Did you know that?

This sign is on one wall in my kitchen.  Good food, Good wine, Good friends.  Yay!

These pictures are on another wall in my kitchen.  I have little wine racks above my cupboards, but sadly, they are empty right now, so I won't be sharing pictures of my empty wine racks.  Because who wants to see those?

Thankfully, there is this cool little place in town that helps me out when my wine racks get empty.  They know me well there.  It is called Wine Creations.  You can learn more about them on their website here.  They assist with all the hard parts of making  your own wine.  My hockey mom's club decided recently that it would be fun to go and do a few batches of wine.  We gathered a few months ago at the store to taste a few different kinds and decide what we wanted to make.  After one red and one white were chosen, we mixed the contents of a kit with a bunch of water in a big bucket.  (you will have to imagine a bunch of water and some other stuff in a big white bucket, since I did not take any pictures of buckets to share with you.)

Then we had to wait a long, long time.  About 8 weeks.  While we were gone, the handy employees did all this magical stuff while our wine fermented.  I'm pretty sure they waved some magic wands and said some magic words to make the magic happen.  Really, they just watch the temperature, allow the fermenting air to escape a few times, and add a few things here and there.  Also, somewhere in the process they transfer the wine from the big white bucket to a carboy, which looks like this:

I don't pay too much attention to all those details since I don't have to worry about it!

Then, after you wait a really really long time, you get to go back and bottle your wine.  This is the fun part.

First, Kerrie demonstrates how to disinfect by squirting some secret disinfecting potion into the bottles.

Next, Jennifer rinses the bottles and lets them drip dry on the drying rack.

The bottles are taken from the drying rack,

and hooked up to the filler machine, where the wine is pumped from the carboy to your bottles.

Each bottle is corked, and foiled in the shrink wrap machine, as demonstrated by the lovely Missy.

They are then labeled and boxed up, ready to take home.  (Do I sound like an episode of How It's Made yet??)

The foils you can choose are very pretty.

Here are some of the other customer's carboys sitting, waiting, and fermenting.

I love seeing this local business take off so well.  Every time we are there, they have a huge number of buckets and carboys brewing. 

So, while we didn't get to stomp grapes like Lucy did, we had a ton of fun, and got to taste several kinds of wine (that's really my favorite part).

Check them out if you are local here, otherwise check if there is somewhere similar wherever you are.  A fun ladies night out!



Wednesday, May 9, 2012

On To the Next Sport

I wonder what it's like to have kids that don't like sports.

I'm pretty sure last night would have been spent on my couch watching some dumb TV show, instead of at the ball field.

I wouldn't be able to experiment with the camera on how to focus behind the fence that is protecting my life from a speeding baseball that wants to hit my head.

I wouldn't be able to teach Morgan how you can still kinda get cool pictures by focusing either close or far.  (or how to pretend that you intended to focus on the fence instead of the pitcher.)

My kids wouldn't have nearly as many friends as they do today.

They wouldn't have learned so many important life lessons about sportsmanship, competitiveness, and being part of a team.

I wouldn't know that no matter how prepared you think you are to go watch a baseball game, you will probably have to park a mile away, and all the crap you have to carry will be heavy.  And while it was sunny and warm when you got there, you still need the jacket and fleece blanket to wrap up in.  And when you leave your regular glasses in the car and only wear your prescription sunglasses to the game, it's very hard to see who's who when the sun goes down.

I wouldn't be reminded daily how Andy is on the short end of the spectrum, and other boys are on the tall end.  (the boy standing behind him is less than a year older than him.)

I certainly wouldn't have needed a hot chocolate last night to keep my hands warm and icicles from forming off my nose.

And I would have missed this sky.  Because I probably would have been on my couch watching some dumb TV show.

So yeah, having your kids in sports is kinda cool.



Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Dance Competition Pictures

I don't have much to say lately.  That is why the posts have been scarce.  The weather is nice one day, and rainy the next.  That's pretty common for this time of year.  We have not yet cut the grass, but it kind of needs it.  Hopefully in the next week or so we'll start preparing the gardens for planting.  I can't wait to have all those fresh veggies at our disposal!  When the kids ask for a snack, I can tell them to go pick some peas!

On this day 13 years ago, there was still snow on the ground, and my sister sunburned her shoulders.  How do I know this?  Because it was the day I married my hubby.  What a perfect day it was.  I believe the sunburn was from the horse and carriage ride we took around Canal Park that day.  I was so afraid those seagulls were going to poop on my dress.  They didn't.  :)

I remember walking around the reception after dinner wanting to talk to everyone, and saying, "Hi! My name is Nancy HOOPER!" I stuck out my hand to shake thier's like it was the first time I had met them. I danced the whole night.  I couldn't sit down.  What a perfect day it was, indeed.

Happy anniversary, Nate.  I love you!

And since I shared so many hockey pictures before, I will share some of the pictures from the dance competition a few weeks ago.  Enjoy!

I love watching my baby girl dance...