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June 29, 2008

Birthday girl...

Celebrating Hannah's birthday, 2 days of fun...
Instead of doing fancy origami, we folded fans...and it was a perfect day for that, HOT and humid! We don't have central air either! I actually like being in a "natural" environment.

Veggie burgers, tuna-noodle salad, plenty of sweet fruit, a yummy shrimp mango dish, sticky Thai rice and sushi! Help yourself!
4 generations: Hannah with Daddy, his mom and her mom - 2 of which...

... share a birthday, so we went to spend the day with her! One turned 7 and the other 98!

June 25, 2008

It's REAL LIFE...

Join in! Jessica is hosting another REAL LIFE day, see http://farmfreshiowa.blogspot.com/ for details. So, here's my take...


Curb appeal (our lovely lil home built in the 1940s, we bought it 2 years ago):
From whence I blog:
One of the MANY junk drawers:
My best feature?
My FAV piece of jewelry?
That turquoise necklace (it's NEW to me, I ordered it from Premier Designs, a woman at the school where I work sells their jewelry)....that's my fav colour!
I got a yard of pom poms (pink and orange, as you see in this card) at JoAnn's for 1.99 a yard....they're so much fun. I have a skirt with rows of them and love it. I'm thinking of adding some to more clothes...

June 23, 2008

Seven...

Hannah will be 7 in a few days. You're invited to come help us celebrate on Saturday June 28th 12-2pm. We now have a sand box (the neighbor got TOO much, she's getting a pool)! You can see our garden behind the slide. Right after church, they went out there to play...

Rob and the girls got dry ice and sasparilla extract and viola! Sweetness...without corn syrup! It's really good stuff. He also made cream soda & we've got rootbeer extract for next time!

Homemade soda:
1 bottle of extract, sasparilla, rootbeer, or cream soda (about 5 tablespoons)
5 gallons of water
5 pounds of granulated sugar
5-8 pounds dry ice

Yellow pear tomatoes, still small, but ripening up!Mary and Mom at the beginning of the bridal shower. Look at the cake my sister Susanna made...it's towels! She also made 2 scrumptious Florida Sunshine Cakes, glazed...looked like 2 rings! Fresh flowers from my garden and lilies from Susanna's.

June 19, 2008

How does your garden grow?


Getting ready for my sister's bridal shower. She's a fantastic cook. I bet her fiance will fatten up after they're married!

I want to be a "locavore." I'm reading this fascinating and thought-provoking book right now. Can you believe a farmer was sued for saving seeds? Yep, and the seed company won, thankfully they didn't make him pay, but it is illegal to save certain seeds, the ones that have been genetically modified.
This is our late garden. Let me explain, last year we had watermelon, cantaloupe and tomatoes that produced no edible fruit (green or animals ate them), we were frustrated and decided not to have a garden this year, but the more we thought about it, we wanted fresh organic vegetables and fruit. So last week, Rob worked really hard, dug the earth and chopped it up, mixed in manure and top soil and now we're faithfully watering it. Funny scarecrow Rob made, eh? Those are his old military coveralls! And rootbeer bottles hanging from each "arm."
*Did you see Twinkle hopping around the yard in that photo?

http://warmbiscuit.com/- check out this fabulous website, they have some gorgeous fabric & pom poms for sale.
http://anapronaday.blogspot.com/2008/06/vintage-aprons-on-brain.html - I've added a link on the right hand side to this blog. Vintage aprons (and EATING alligator if you check her most recent post! Ew)

June 14, 2008

Sunny days...

We went to Rob's company picnic on Saturday. There were paddleboats out on a little lake!
There was a slide there TALLER than the kinds they make nowadays...the sort that was on the playground when I was a kid, each step says "American" and it's super-slippery and fast!


















Scrumptious!
We made more cupcakes with pureed strawberry icing. I wished Sprinkles were a bit closer...I'd love to go check it out, but their cupcakes are $3.25 each! I thought these Robot cupcakes were awesome and fun!
Homemade cupcakes:
2 cups flour
2 t. baking powder
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick, melted, and if you've got the unsalted kind, add 1/4 t. salt)
2 eggs
1 t. vanilla extract
3/4 cups milk

Mix ingredients together (you know, dry stuff first together, then add wet) and scoop into 12 muffin cups (lined with cupcake liners, if you wish) & bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.
That's Thumper eating clovers...funny thing is he DOESN'T eat the blossoms (Kim, tell that to Max), I'm thinking it's because his lil mouth is too small, but maybe he really doesn't like them! He nibbles up the stems. Twinkle (is the gray bunny) still VERY shy, runs away when we approach the hutch. We got them almost 3 weeks ago. They love running around the yard FREE, but I'm scared they'll slip through the fence (it happened once already) and get hurt since we're close to the road, or get lost.

June 13, 2008

Are you a locavore?

Here we are in front of the giraffes...my mom, dad, me, sis (Susanna) and the 4 grandkids in front (Rob took this photo):Keepin' it Real (I was tagged by Sylvia, and consider yourself tagged, if you're reading this, I'd LOVE to see the stuff of daily real-life):

1. My fridge...one more round of Baby Swiss on the top shelf, we need to get more milk and a few boxes of Entemann's from my MIL!

2. Closet...we have an old house and a really tiny closet!3. The kitchen sink (honestly, I had to clean it up, before I took this pic)...
4. The toilet:
5. My favorite shoes...are my Clarks from Rob (for Christmas), they're super comfy & cute (minus my swollen ankles....it's humid here)!

6. Favorite room...I love the kitchen!
7. My favorite spot...on the couch, reading a good book (I'm reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver right now)!

8. Next to be cleaned up...my crafting area (it's in the basement, so I stash stuff under the counter)!

9. Laundry...just folded on the left, needs to be put in the dresser and hung up....needs to be washed on the right (we also have a hamper in each bedroom, but that's too many pics of my mess)!

10. Dream vacation destination? Hawaii...So, "a locavore is someone who eats food grown or produced locally or within a certain radius such as 50, 100, or 150 miles. The locavore movement encourages consumers to buy from farmers’ markets or even to produce their own food, with the argument that fresh, local products are more nutritious and taste better. Locally grown food is an environmentally friendly means of obtaining food, since supermarkets that import their food use more fossil fuels and non-renewable resources."

...thank you, wikipedia.com! I needed a more definite definition. So, today Rob sweated like crazy in the humid weather and dug up the earth for our garden. We planted tomatoes, peppers, musk melon, peas & carrots. MY reason to try to eat more locally is it costs LESS...with the price of gas going up, grocery stores are reflecting that in everything they sell. That book I'm reading is fabulous inspiration, about a family of 4 who choose to be locavores!
A bit more from Red River Gorge...

videoI was amazed at how these little butterflies loved our shoes, must've been the salt! You can hear the waterfall behind me...it was a nice hike to this serene spot, no one but the 4 of us & we stayed here for quite a bit before heading out on the trail again!

video

June 7, 2008

Our camp...

Everything smelled sweet, Mountain Laurel, Bigleaf Magnolia, the blueberries growing in the mountains (green, some still tiny flowers), there were ferns, maples, oak trees, turtles, salamanders, many butterflies...to see the rest of our photos go to: http://www.flickr.com/photos/7861221@N07
We went on a camping trip this past week...got home and realized that we didn't miss the phone, internet/computer (I had a journal) or TV at all!

This is one of the arches, called Sky Bridge, yes, we walked over the top of it...about 10 feet wide. It reminds me of a place we used to hike as a child in Vermont, that we called Mount Horrid. My mom used to get scared when we'd try to look over the edge of the cliff, but I felt I had complete control of my actions...however, I feel the same way now, with my family. Here we are under the left half. There is so much natural beauty that God created, but I felt most comfortable sitting & taking it in!



June 1, 2008

Don't buy products "made in China"

I did it...last year my lil sis Andrea put one waterballon inside another and I had to try, it was hard, but it's that cool? Ooops...those water balloons were made in China. I'll give you the whole scoop on China, at the end...Thank you, Susanna, for taking so many great photos! I made some fabulous pink icing...pureed 5 strawberries, added about 3 cups of confectioners sugar, a stick of softened butter and milk until it was a nice consistency. It was delicious!Eating crepes (filled with yogurt) in her new tiara! Yesterday, Olivia put on the seatbelt over her booster herself and commented, "It's hard being 5." Usually I'd help her, but I'd been telling her that she is going to do it all by herself when her birthday comes!Olivia with Rob's sister, Sarah, and Brianna, whose 7th birthday party we went to this afternoon! It was really fun (she had a super cool pinata), a perfect day, sunny, but not too hot...

China -although I think capitalism is great (if you see something that's a great price, why would you buy something similar at a higher price?)...I do want to think & buy more locally! Especially if it's just American, Ohio made would be even better (like that cheese), think of the cost really being more affordable because there is little gasoline used in transporting the goods, it's made here! A friend sent me this (as an email):
Are we Americans as dumb as we appear or is it that we just do not think?
While the Chinese, knowingly and intentionally, export inferior products and dangerous toys and goods to be sold in American markets, the media wrings its hands and criticizes the Bush Administration for perceived errors. Yet 70% of Americans believe that the trading privileges afforded to the Chinese
should be suspended.

Well, duh.....why do you need the government to suspend trading
privileges????

DO IT YOURSELF!!

Simply look on the bottom of every product you buy, and if it says 'Made in China' or 'PRC' (and that now includes Hong Kong), simply choose another product or none at all. You will be amazed at how dependent you are on Chinese products, however you will be equally amazed at what you can do without.
Who needs plastic eggs to celebrate Easter? If you must have eggs, use real ones and benefit some American farmer.
Easter is just an example, the point is... do not wait for the government to
act. Just go ahead and assume control on your own.

If 200 million Americans refuse to buy just $20 each of Chinese goods, that's a billion dollar trade imbalance resolved in our favor...fast!! The
downside? Some American businesses will feel a temporary pinch from having foreign
stockpiles of inventory.

* Downside?? Is there a downside?

The solution?

Let's give them fair warning and send our own message. We will not
implement this UNTIL June 4, and we will only continue it until July 4. That is only one month of trading losses, but it will hit the Chinese for 1/12th
of the total, or 8%, of their American exports. Then they will at least have to ask themselves if the benefits of their arrogance and lawlessness were worth it.

Remember, June 4 to July 4. You might try it for always.

Send this to everybody you know.

Show them we are Americans and NOBODY can take us for granted.
If we can't live without cheap Chinese goods for one month out of
our lives,WE DE SERVE WHAT WE GET!
Pass it on, America !!!