Sunday, June 30, 2013

Over at Bloglovin

Like everyone else has seen, the Google Reader is gone no more as of tonight. I have joined Bloglovin like a few of the blogs that I have follow. My blog will remain where it is, but if you subscribe to it and read it in Google Reader, you won't be able to tomorrow, so you are now able to follow me over at Bloglovin. Just click the link below or to the left below my about me section.

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Off to camp

Today, we took Matt up to his first week of Boy Scout camp. It took us about an hour and a half to get there. Our GPS took us some backwards way so we got a nice tour of the middle and west of our state. So pretty up where the camp is. I saw a couple of farms that I would totally love to live at. Someday maybe.

The camp is truly hidden. LOL. It is down this long windy dirt road in the middle of no where.

This is the lake that the camp is on. Matt chose to work on his swimming badge as well as his first year stuff, so he will be living in this lake pretty much all week long. He loves the water anyway, so he will be happy.

Love the mountains in the distance. They are everywhere in this neck of the woods. We kept going up and down the mountains on the way here.

Steve and Matt getting my attention to check out all the frogs in the conservation pond.

Big toad. probably the daddy frog. hehe

Smaller frog. Probably the mommy frog.

There were a ton of polliwogs in all stages of development. These guys are just starting to get their hind legs.

This is the mess hall. It's pretty big inside. If there happens to be a bad thunder storm, the kids will end up here. A couple of weeks ago 20 or so kids and 3 adults were struck by lightning at this camp during a storm. Everyone was ok, thankfully.

The campsite that our troop will be staying at.

The campfire area. Pretty good size, then again we have 16 boys going from our troop.

They are staying at Naticook. Love all the Indian names of all the different camp sites here.

The two boys (in green shirts) in charge of showing our troop around. Matt is in the swimming trunks with the flames. He has a swimming test and group photo right away, so lots of the kids were wearing their swimming trunks with their class A uniform.

All the boys that came from our troop. Our fearless leaders were walking a bit behind them. Our Scoutmaster has his camera with him, so I know there will be plenty of pictures of the kids. I will post more next weekend or so when they are posted to our scout website.

I know Matt will have a blast. I am a little nervous for him. He has been away from home before, quite a lot in fact, but this is a bit farther away. At the end of July, he will be camping in Connecticut. I will be a nervous wreak that week. So this week, the hubby and I are going to relax and spend some time together. No kids at home all week long.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Been relaxing and a garden update

I have been relaxing (sort of) the past couple of days. I have issues with my right hand where the fingers curl up and stay that way (trigger finger). Once I get them uncurled, it is super sore and I end up having to wear my brace whenever I am not using my hand. Only things I managed to do was make dinner and pick some peas with Matt. The brace has a little pillow that goes from the palm of my hand all the way to near the tip of my fingers. It is really comfortable considering. I sleep in it (have to) and only my wrist hurts in the morning because it has been stuck in the same position not moving all night long.

It has been so hot this past week (in the high 90's) and muggy. Today of course is in the mid 60's. It feels so freaking cold. It has also rained almost everyday. Surprise there. We got 3 inches yesterday. The corn is loving all this rain.

This was the corn bed on June 20th, one week ago today. I had both kids in the garden with me to help weed everything. They pretty much only did the corn. Matt helped with the cucumbers too though.

This is the corn now. It is raining out as you can see the puddle at the lower right hand corner. That is the low spot in the yard.

 Getting bigger. I kinda fell right before I took this picture. I landed on my left wrist hard (it still hurts bad) and landed in the puddle above. My backside was soaked. LOL. Oh well. I just put on my jammies and curled in bed with the laptop.

My shelling peas are huge. I am just waiting for them to plump up so I can pick them. There are tons of them too. Thankfully we haven't seen the ground hog in days. I guess the critter ridder spray is working. It was bothering my asthma when I was spraying, so I have a feeling it really bothered him.

Kinda blurry picture. It was taken after my fall. But these beans are pretty hardy. They have been munched on three times and some have managed to come back. The other half of the bed has finally sprouted with tons of bean plants too. Hopefully they are able to grow without becoming an early lunch for some furry four legged critters.

My pole beans. Chantelle was in charge of planting two rows of these and I was in charge of planting the other two. Guess who forgot to plant the missing row. Wasn't me. The missing beans have been planted as of yesterday though.

Our butternut squash is looking good so far. I have 13 plants. The hubby loves this type of squash. My, not so much, but I will eat it. I need to see if I can can or freeze it. I am sure I can.

Our cucumbers are finally getting bigger. For the longest time, I was afraid they weren't going to do anything. I planted them a month early by accident and was afraid that it kinda stunted them, but once the hot days came, they started going nuts. Of course we have only had like one week of hot weather though.

When I first planted my bell pepper plants, they looked good. Soon they started to look like this. The leaves turned yellow and were curling and falling off. I assumed that it was a nitrogen deficiency even though I fertilized it. I decided to fertilize it again and see if it helped. If not then I was going to get a fish emulsion to help with the nitrogen issue.

This is what the same plant looks like today, a week later. More leaves have grown in and the color is much better. Now if they will just grow bigger, I will be happy. I have 6 bell pepper plants this year. Only one of mine did anything last year and all it did was give me one pepper. We love peppers here. We put it in lots of dishes and eat it raw for a snack.

My tomatoes are growing up fast. I know I should have removed the little cages that my dad put on them and put the large ones we have on them. Maybe I can manage to do it this weekend, if I am not busy.

Our Zucchini (plants on the left) and the summer squash (the middle and right). The dark green plants were all started by seed, the yellowish plants were bought. Even though I fertilized them both at the same time and planted the middle row when the others were even smaller, I am not sure what is up. The middle row does have some fruit and flowers. I was thinking of taking the fruit off to let the plants grow a bit more and get a bit healthier. I am just afraid that I am taking off the female flowers and that no fruit will happen on the plants. We will have to see how they look in a week.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Summer Time Routines

Since Matt has finished 6th grade last week, it has been a bit crazy at home. I will admit that this week I said he can do pretty much anything he wants because he leaves for camp next week, but after listening to him and his sister argue Friday over computer time, I have decided that we need a summer routine. I also need to make sure both kids have their chores listed out and get on their butts to do them. My daughter may be 18, but she still lives at home (and is not working, which is driving me nuts) so she will have chores and things that I expect her to do.

Both kids have a pet to take care of. Matt gets Max the cat and Chantelle gets Allegra the rabbit. Both are expected to clean up after themselves, do their own laundry (not sure I trust Matt with my new washer and dryer yet), and take care of breakfast and lunch for themselves. Mornings are hard for me. My RA bothers me a lot in the morning and my fibro makes it hard to walk, so I take it easy during the mornings.

Chantelle also has to wash, dry and put away the dishes, and sweep the house (it isn't that big honestly). Matt is in charge of the trash, recycling and composting as well as picking up the living room. Most of his mess tends to be in that room because he spends most of his time there when he is not on the computer. I am in charge of making the meals, washing my and the hubby's clothes, cleaning the kitchen, bathroom and my bedroom. I vacuum and wash the floors once a week. The garden is also a big chore for me. One that I love though. I average about 2 hours a day in my little garden between weeding, watering, planting and harvesting our food.

Now for our routines. Mine is pretty set up already. I need one (I don't deal with change well) and have it typed out, laminated and on the fridge. I tend to forget things quite often (thanks RA), so I love my lists and my Home Management Binder. I'll have to show you mine someday.

Both kids need to be up before 9am, unless they were up late (as in past midnight), then they can sleep in a little. Breakfast is first. Two days a week Matt and I go see a movie for either $1.00 or $2.00 at our local theater. The movie starts at 10, but you need to be there by 9:30 to get a seat. All the movies are already out in dvd, but it is nice to get out of the house and into the cold ac (ours is not set too cold to save on energy). Chantelle needs to work on her chores while we are gone. Then she is free to go on the computer for a little bit.

On the days that we are home, Matt will do his chores after breakfast, except on Thursday. He has to have the trash and recycling out before 7am. When he is done then he needs to sit and read for at least an hour. I will read as well so I can keep an eye on him. After reading and before lunch, he can go on the computer. Once lunch is done, the tv goes off and no one is going on a computer, that means me too.

Chantelle usually reads or watches Netflix like all day long. I can do it too if I am in the mood. We will either play games, do puzzles or a craft together. I need to take a nap daily (again thanks RA and Fibro) so that I can function for the rest of the day/evening. At this time I either want Matt outside, but if it is really hot and the air quality is bad, then he can watch a little tv till I wake up.

Once I have refueled a little, I head out to the garden. I don't water the garden till around 3:30 or so. Dad said it is  perfect time to do it. It gives the plants time to cool off after a hot day. Plus it is usually cooler for me too. I tend to get my arms and legs wet to help keep me cool. hehe

I do need to start back up with my Flylady routines. I have a bunch of clutter that needs to go away and her methods have always helped. But that is for another time when I don't have both kids around messing it up constantly.

Crock pot Chicken Cacciatore

My crock pot gets a workout in the summer time. Nothing worse than running the oven or stove when it is 90+ degrees out. Today was one of those days. High humidity too. Right now a huge storm is heading our way, so it will cool off soon.

This is one of our favorite meals. I love chicken (I don't eat much red meat) and the rest of the family loves pasta with a nice homemade sauce. What's better than making a Chicken Cacciatore?

8 pieces of chicken
28oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 cup of red wine (or chicken stock, I never have wine)
1 tbsp sugar

Mix all ingredients except the chicken and put half in the crock pot.

Put the chicken on top of the sauce. You can brown the chicken in a skillet before putting it in the crock pot, but isn't necessary.

Put the remaining sauce on top of the chicken.

Cook on low for 6 hours. Take lid off during last hour to let the sauce thicken up a bit.

Serve over pasta or rice.


Our veggie stealing visitor

So last Friday, I noticed that my beans had been munched on. Well, completely decimated. Not sure what it was, we decided to put up our trail camera to see if we could catch anything. I thought at first we had a rabbit in the garden. We do have lots of rabbits around. This is what we saw that first time checking our pictures:

You can just male out the ground hog (which Matt has named Sonic, my name for him is much more colorful) running towards our garden beds. He didn't show up on Saturday and on Sunday, I scared him when he was heading over for dinner.

We put out a Have-a-Heart trap to see if we could catch him. We would love to you use our .22 or our bow, but you can see that we live in a mobile home park and our neighbors are too close.

Around 11:30 am, I ran out to check the pictures we had since 5 am. This is what we see:

If you look in the lower left hand corner, where my peas are, you can see the little furry guy munching his lunch.

Here he is finishing off any beans that he missed and the ones that actually came back. You can see the trap that he kept walking around. I am thinking of sacrificing some of my peas and putting them in there instead of the carrots.

Here he is leaving the bean bed after getting his fill. He's about the size of a cat. Seeing how the trap isn't working, the hubby and I are thinking of getting some coyote urine and spraying that around all our beds to see if that will keep him away. Me, honestly, if I could smell my predators pee near where I eat, I wouldn't go there anymore. I am hoping that works. Last thing I want to do is set up our hunting blind to catch him. LOL. Hubby might want to do that though. I won't tell him that I thought of it.

Any other ideas you can think of that might help keep him out?

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Dinner Plans 6/23 - 6/29

Sunday ~ B ~ Waffles with bananas
                 L ~ Hot dogs, Baked Beans, Salad
                 D ~  Grilled Porkchops, green beans, rice pilaf, salad

Monday ~ B ~ Mandarin Oranges, Maple Cream of Wheat
                  L ~ Sun butter & Homemade Strawberry Jam sandwich
                  D ~ Chicken Cacciatore, Rice, Corn, Salad

Tuesday ~ B ~ Bananas, Maple Cream of Wheat
                   L ~ Sun Butter & Homemade Strawberry Jam sandwich
                   D ~ Roasted Chicken in the Crockpot, Baked Potato & gravy, green beans, salad

Wednesday ~ B ~ Pineapple, Maple Oatmeal
                        L ~ English Muffin Pizzas
                        D ~ Chicken Salad Sandwiches, Salad

Thursday ~ B ~ Mandarin Oranges, Maple Oatmeal
                    L ~ Taco rice, Tortilla Chips
                    D ~ Pasta & Sauce with meatballs, Salad

Friday ~ B ~ Peaches, Maple Cream of Wheat
               L ~ Chicken Quesidillas with Homemade Salsa
               D ~ Take Out

Saturday ~ B ~ Eggs & Sausages, Toast, Bananas
                    L ~ Fish Sticks & Homemade Fries
                    D ~ Chicken Cordon Bleu Casserole

Friday, June 21, 2013

Our Summer Reading Challenge

Matt hates to read. If it wasn't for the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books, he would have never read any non-school books this year. My hubby isn't a big reader either. He will read the newspaper, but I have never seen him sit down with a book in the 14 years we have been together. Me on the other hand, I devour books. I love to read. My daughter does too. It just kills me that Matt doesn't. Chantelle has been reading nonstop these past few days. I lent her my copies of Catching Fire and Mockingjay, She wants to read them before the Catching Fire movies comes out this November.

This summer, weather he likes it or not, he will be reading everyday. He will need to read for at least 1 hour a day and at least three books during the summer. Normally I would have him read more, but because of his hate of books, three is a lot for him.

Once he finishes a book, he will then be given a choice of an activity. Something that we don't do much at all. Something like going to the Boston Aquarium or the Boston Museum of Science. I need to make up a little chart or something so that he and I know if he misses any days of reading. I know I have some off days because of my RA and Fibro and tend to forget things at times.

My goal is to keep him off the computer and away from the TV for much of the day. He will earn computer/TV time by reading extra and doing chores. I have a few books for him downloaded to my Kindle. He does have the app on his ipod, but I don't trust him. I know he will end up playing a game on it instead.

I am also going to do my own reading challenge. Only I will be reading a ton more books. I plan on reading 1-2 books a week, depending on the thickness of the book. I am giving myself the goal of reading 15 books this summer. Hopefully both of us can accomplish our goals this summer.

I have a bunch of books that I have bought from thrift stores and got off of I also have some books left over from when I use to work at CBD. I miss getting my free books from there. Let's not forget all the free Kindle books that I downloaded too. It is pretty much all I read from Amazon. I am a prime member, so I can borrow books for free too.

Some of the books I plan on reading this summer. I read a wide variety of books. Right now I am into any romance with cowboys and the paranormal. I have a few mysteries mixed in for a little something different.

My Kindle. They don't make them like this anymore and don't know what I will do if it ever dies. I don't care for the new ones.

Critter ate my garden

Yesterday, the kids and I spent over two hours in the garden doing some much needed weeding. When I first walked into the garden, I noticed that my bean plants had been nibbled. Some were missing their first sets of leaves.

The hubby checked the garden at 5:30 this morning before he left for work and all was well. No more missing bean plants. However, when I went out there at noon, ALL my beans were gone. All eaten up. All but like two. I am rather ticked off. We love our beans. I have already planted more earlier in the week and then even more yesterday. We start everything from seed, so it will be a bit before we see more bean plants pop up.

All that is left of my bean plants. Sooo sad. Hope the rabbit (it's what I suspect it is) enjoyed his breakfast.

The couple that are left. This is what all the beans looked like earlier in the week, before our little morning visitor.

What is left of the first half of the beans that I planted. Not much there. *sigh*

The hubby and I are going to be putting chicken wire fencing up around all our beds. We aren't suppose to put up a fence in the neighborhood that we live in, but these will be taken down at the end of the season. That and the land owner almost never comes in the back anyway. This is our way to save money on produce throughout the winter. Nothing taste worse than out of season store bought veggies. Growing my own gives us a way to continue the yummy flavors throughout the year.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Hard Lesson Learned

On Monday, Matt went on a school field trip to the beach. We live about 15-20 minutes away from a pretty popular beach here. He made sure that he had his sunblock, however he forgot to put it on some areas of his body. He also did not wear his swim shirt. I bought them just for this reason.

When he got home from school, he came in my room and said he was in a lot of pain. When I asked him where, he took his shirt off and this is what I saw:

Ouch! I keep Aloe Vera gel in the fridge for just this reason. I had a bad burn a couple of years ago and bought it then. So, I smeared the goo all over his shoulders and told him to stay shirtless for the rest of the day. His shirt was making it hurt more.

I asked him today if he was sitting in a chair at all, but he said no. I have been trying to figure out how he had this section of his back normal and the rest burned. He did say that he put the sunblock on in an arch. We have sunblock in a spray bottle to be easier on my hands. But of course he forgot his shoulders and neck. I told him and showed him the most important areas to get with the sunblock. I also reminded him this was another reason I bought the swim shirts for him. He said he forgot about them. Not sure how seeing he had to move the shirt to get to the trunks under it. But either way, he learned a lesson and will not forget to make sure these areas are covered next time.

Last day of 6th Grade

Today is the last day of 6th grade for Matt. It has been a different year for him. His first year in middle school. First time with new rules and way things are done. He has a hard time with change, but we managed to make things work out. He is excited for the plans we have for summer and can not wait for Boy Scout camp.

This is from the first day of sixth grade. His eczema was bothering him (always does in the warm months and when he is stressed) but he was very excited.

This is the picture I took this morning. We had a good laugh when I showed him the first day picture and we noticed that he was wearing the same shirt and hat. I couldn't get him to smile, he said he was, but I know he can do better. He sure did grow this year too. I bet this time next year he will be the same height as me (I am 5'6") if not taller. We have the same size foot (I wear a women's 11 1/2).

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Strawberry Picking Time!

Today, Chantelle and I headed out to Applecrest Farm to go strawberry picking. My friend L called and asked if we wanted to join her and her son J. It was a perfect day to go picking. Overcast, low humidity, chance it will rain. Nothing worse than spending time out in the middle of the field in the hot hot blazing sun.

We were out there for about an hour, maybe less. I always get a huge box and try to fill it as much as I can. I like to freeze the berries to make jam in the winter. So yummy! I also give the jam away as gifts for the holidays too. Chantelle and I picked just shy of 7 pounds of strawberries.

Like my little heart shaped berry?

Of course we had to check out what they had in farm stand. Lots of yummy fresh veggies and homemade goodies. I had to splurge and get some homemade apple cider donuts. Three with cinnamon sugar and three with plain sugar on them. So yummy!

Now I am curled up in bed with my laptop and a big bowl of freshly washed and cut up strawberries. Yummy! Now if my sheets would hurry and finish drying life would be perfect.

Monday, June 17, 2013

More Rain

Seriously? More rain? Hasn't it rained enough this month?

Right now it is raining so hard that we can not hear the TV. We have a metal roof on our mobile home, so it is like a big roar when it rains this hard. During a normal rain, it is nice to listen to.

Of course it started raining like 15 minutes after I spent 1 hour in the garden watering it. Go figure. Oh well, no worrying if I didn't water it enough. Mother Nature is taking care of that for me.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Dinner Plans 6/16 - 6/22

Sunday ~ Steak, Baked Potato, Salad

Monday ~ Chicken Noodle Soup, Homemade Rolls

Tuesday ~ Tuna Noodle Casserole, Salad

Wednesday ~ Pasta, Sauce with Meatballs, Salad

Thursday ~ Grilled Kielbasa, Mashed Potato, Green Beans, Salad

Friday ~ Hot Dogs, Mac & Cheese, Salad

Saturday ~ Cheeseburgers, Homemade Fries, Salad

Saturday, June 15, 2013

In Memory of Meme

Said goodbye, turned around
And you were gone, gone, gone
Faded into the setting sun,
Slipped away
But I won’t cry
Cause I know I’ll never be lonely
For you are the stars to me,
You are the light I follow

I’ll See you again, oh
This is not where it ends
I will carry you with me, oh
Till I see you again

I can hear those echoes in the wind at night
Calling me back in time
Back to you
In a place far away
Where the water meets the sky
The thought of it makes me smile
You are my tomorrow

I’ll See you again, oh
This is not where it ends
I will carry you with me, oh
Till I see you again

Sometimes I feel my heart is breaking
But I stay strong and I hold on cause I know
I’ll see you again, oh
This is not where it ends
I will carry you with me, yeah yeah

I’ll See you again, oh
This is not where it ends
I will carry you with me, oh
Till I see you again
Till I see you again,
Till I see you again,
Said goodbye turned around
And you were gone, gone, gone.

"See You Again" Song and Lyrics by Carrie Underwood 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Boring day today

Today was a rather blah day. It was raining (surprise surprise) again and really cold. High 50's low 60's. I am hoping it doesn't do anything to my warm weather loving veggies. I haven't seen it this cool this far into June. I know I shouldn't be complaining. I mean we are actually having a spring for once. But I long for the 80's, low humidity so that my joints don't freak out.

Yesterday we had a downpour and we had this beautiful rainbow after. It was huge!

Double Rainbow. It was right outside our little strip mall. I had to go to Kohl's for shoes for Matt and I. 

I love how bright it was. Look at all the colors!

So, today, nothing really got done. I didn't go out and check on my gardens. I did my food shopping for the little bits that I needed and the normal dish washing and picking up.

I started painting my bathroom. I'll do another post on that later. Tomorrow I get my new washer and dryer and they go in the bathroom. It needed a new color badly. The previous owners never even finished painting one of the walls. It was really horrible. Now I am in the mood to paint the hall and maybe even my kitchen. LOL.

I have found many new blogs that I have been enjoying recently. So, here is a little shout out to those blogs. Hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

Rocky Oak Homestead

The Rehomesteaders

Down to Earth

Thy Hand Hath Provided

5 Acres and a Dream

Oklahoma Transient

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