Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Through the eyes of a Toddler

Finley had a mini photo shoot this morning.  Her pictures are hilarious and gives me a glimpse into the eyes of a toddler.  A camera for Christmas may be in her future and maybe some lessons on not standing so close and also not moving on to the next object before the picture is taken (hence the blurry photos).  But can you blame a toddler bursting with joy and excitement because she gets 2 minutes to take pictures of whatever she wants??

Bare Necessities.

Woodstock going in for the kiss.

What could be more exciting than a picture of your coloring book on the floor?

Good thing my hands are acting as censorship... thanks for the lovely picture, Finley.

Slightly disturbing colored Tinkerbell fairy from her coloring book.

Finley and John Wayne

mega close up of her stuffed bumble bee.

Mama and Finley foreheads

Finley's quilt

view from the top- Woodstock sleeping

 I decided to spare you pictures of the fabric of our couch, close up pictures of curious George's fur, 5 more pictures of half faced Finley, and a picture of daddys socks in the kitchen.  The eyes and curiosities of a toddler... melts my heart.

Monday, October 22, 2012

30 by 30

This past Friday was my birthday.  I'm 29.  That's right, I am now living out my final year of my 20s.  It's been hard to swallow that soon my 20s are going to be over, but in actuality I don't feel like I'm 29.  I feel more mature than that... like I should be in my 30s already.  But I'm not quite 30 yet, so to help make my 29th year a success, I decided to create a 30 by 30 list. 

30 things I want to do by the time I turn 30. 
  1. Marry Ryan Gosling Run a 5k
  2. Take a Road trip
  3. Go to Disney World
  4. Lose 20 lbs (will this ever be off my list?)
  5. Take a mini-vacation with just the husband and I
  6. Read 1 book a month
  7. Try something I've never tried before
  8. Take a class at the local college
  9. Make yoga a routine activity
  10. Volunteer for something.  Habitat for Humanity? Animal Shelter?
  11. Do childish activities: make a snowman, sledding, run through the sprinkler, etc...
  12. Listen to my records more
  13. Spend 1 ENTIRE (24 hours) day to myself
  14. Sit outside and enjoy the outdoors
  15. Go camping often
  16. Drink tea often
  17. Awaken my creative side
  18. Make my own beer or wine
  19. Spend a morning at a coffee shop by myself
  20. Grow a bigger garden
  21. Swear less
  22. Be kinder and less judgemental
  23. Decorate my bedroom
  24. Raise chickens
  25. Take lots of pictures
  26. Learn a new craft
  27. Bake more & cook new things
  28. Go to a concert
  29. Keep a journal
  30. Get a tattoo
Lets see if I can do all the things I want to do.  Wish me luck!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Squash Love

I went to the vegetable stand across the street last night and picked out some lovely squash.  I ended up buying 6 acorn squash.  What's a girl to do with 6???  Puree it and freeze it for baking purposes, of course.

 It's really simple.  Halve the acorn squash, spoon out the "guts", place face down on a greased cookie sheet and bake for approximately 50 minutes at 375°.  Let cool and spoon the puree out.  Place in freezer bags and there you have it. Simple, right?

Need a delicious recipe to use this squash puree?  Try this Squash Tea Bread... It is soooo good and you can use any squash puree, not just acorn squash.  Pumpkin, perhaps? 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Special Delivery

Remember back in March when Andy and I built our worm composting bin??  Well, here is a delayed update for you:  it failed.  We had bought the wrong worms.  Who knew that worms differed so much!  In my eyes, worms are worms.  Anyhow,  it only took me 7 months to correct the problem.

Today I received my special delivery: 1lb of RED WIGGLER WORMS (write that down).  It was hard to spend the $30 for them considering I'm a cheap ass, but it was from a Wisconsin farm so I tried to justify it. 
I was a bit rusty on the whole worm bin thing, but I went back to my old post to refresh myself and put the bin back in working order in no time.

Do you have a worm bin? 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Friendship- Camping

This post is a little late of course as this "camping expedition" occurred oh.... 3 weeks ago! But I wanted to write about it because it was such a wonderful time and really made me feel blessed to have found friends who are so similar to me in thought and way of life.

A friend of mine was celebrating her birthday and invited a group of about 8 girls to come to her cabin on the lake for the weekend.  The rules:  No men, No children.  Yes, please! 

The scenery was beautiful

 the food (everyone brought something) was incredible, but the company was truly amazing.  Being surrounded by 7 other mothers & wives was just what I needed.  We didn't do anything for two days except relax, eat, sleep and talk.  It was nice to wake up in the morning with no agenda, no child asking for this or that, and to just grab a cup up of tea, sit on the dock and read a book, float on the lake or sit around the fire.  We talked about our lives, our husbands, our children.  We also talked about our struggles and our desires for how we want to be in the future.  And to prove to my husband that we didn't just sit around complaining about our husbands (which, truthfully, we didn't do at all) here are pictures of what we actually did:

We soaked in the sun, read books and drank tea.

We went canoeing.

We told stories... mostly about our husbands & children.  I guess we are more in love with them than we thought!

 We went for walks.

And we sat by the fire.  At times in silence just taking in the calmness and the beauty.  Other times talk filled the sky and laughter ricocheted off the lake.

I never experienced friendship like this until now.  You see, growing up, I only had guy friends.  Up until now, I never thought I missed out on anything by not having girlfriends.  For years, I envisioned girlfriends spent their time gossiping and doing their hair and makeup.  I feel foolish now to know that isn't how it is at all.  Despite my foolishness, I feel fortunate to have found so many girlfriends now.  To experience events such as this camping weekend.

So to Jehan, if you read this, thank you for inviting me to your birthday camping weekend... I truly had a blast!.  To all the girls, Jehan, Kristy, Sarah, Bonnie, Jenny & Esme,  thank you for the company.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Home: A look Inside

A dear blog friend of mine, Rachel, did a recent post on the things she loves in her house that makes it feel special and like home.  There is just something nice and personal about seeing the inside of someones house and seeing how they make it theirs in their own unique way.  Her post inspired me to do the same.  So that my readers can get a glimpse into my favorite parts of my house that really make it a home I love and adore.

Andy and I bought our house a short two years ago.  This house has been nothing short of amazement to me.  It is small (1050 sq. ft) and to many outdated (est. 1955), but it perfectly fits me and all that I love.

Without further ado... my favorite places and spaces:

This corner of the kitchen is my favorite.  The breakfast table that has held oh so many great conversations.  The rooster & hen... their in love.  The light this corner receives is so beautiful, its the perfect place to sit and wake up in the morning.  Especially when Andy is cooking me breakfast!

Most people are shocked to see that we have a 1950s refrigerator.  I'm so hell bent on having one that we once went without a fridge for 2+ months until I found this beaut on craigslist. And the view when I'm getting stuff out of the fridge?  My garden lush and full.

Okay I'm clearly just in love with my kitchen...  The lady who sold the house thought I was crazy when I said I would not buy the house if this stove was not included.  Original to the house, I can't help but think of all the meals that were cooked on her.  I instantly fell in love with those pink counter tops too.

A lazy gnome basking in the sun.  Enough said.

The end table in the living room overflowing with homestead/gardening/harvesting books and magazines.  That lamp is my first and most favorite buy from an estate sale.  It was well worth the 2+ hours waiting in Wisconsin winter elements and the whopping $8 for the pair of the them.

Its clean now, but most of the time this tiny cabinet looks like it has exploded revealing its guts of a vintage sewing machine & unfinished sewing projects.  For now it holds my records I wish to listen to for the day: Patsy Cline, John Denver, and Urban Cowboy: the soundtrack.  That's right folks:  I can rock to John Denver AND Johnny Paycheck!

I LOVE this TV console.  It came with the house and just has so much history.  Today it plays Cinderella 2 (a less than desirable movie choice) and is surrounded by Finley's toys.

My Mother found this table at an antique shop and it has since been the centerpiece of our living room.  It looks out on our old maple tree and its the place where we snack, color, read, and play fisher price records throughout our day.

The hallway lined with pictures of Finley, Ally, & Andy Jr.  A daily reminder of how fast these kids are growing up.

Another favorite room of mine is Finley's.  But this corner... this corner is my all time favorite.  The happiness train, broken mobile, and rescued headboard all have stories and are beautiful despite their imperfections.

Our bathroom is small.  The bathtub doesn't have a real shower... a feature of an old house. And the bathroom also features this ugly wallpaper that has somehow made me fall in love with it.  The decor... this lonesome gold rooster.  A rooster in a bathroom makes no sense whatsoever, but I couldn't care less.  This is his home-  Blue flowered wallpaper and all.

Andy might kill me for posting this picture, but to show you readers and remind myself of my own imperfections I show you my bedroom.  A disheveled bed, disintegrating 1950s curtains, unfolded laundry and a picture of a rectangle shaped cow I got at a garage sale for $1 can tell you many things about my personality.  1.  I hate making beds.  Why make a bed when it will only get messy in less than 12 hours?  Also, it makes a home look lived in.  2.  I have a love of all things vintage even if they are broken and falling apart.  3.  I love doing laundry... I just don't love folding laundry.  4.  I like unique, quirky things such as ugly cow pictures.

What are your favorite spaces in your home?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Canning Tomatoes: Chili Sauce

Long time followers may remember, but I did a similar post almost a year ago on canning tomatoes.  That time of the year is hear again.  While we have lost countless tomatoes to blossom end rot, we still managed to gather 30+ tomatoes to can a batch of chili sauce! 

This chili sauce is my favorite.  It is sooooo flavorful, that I can tell when my husband does or doesn't use it in our chili just with one taste. 

First step to amazing chili sauce is to gather all the vegetables (preferably from your own garden).  The recipe calls for 18 large tomatoes, 5 green peppers, 6 large onions and a bunch of celery. 

Next you will need to scald the tomatoes.  Simply put the tomatoes in boiling water and leave for approximately 30 seconds.  Fish out the tomatoes and immediately put in a tub or sink full of ice water.

Have your loving husband peel and cut the tomatoes and while he's at it all the other vegetables too.  This is where we discovered half our tomatoes were rotten from the inside and we thanked our lucky stars the vegetable stand across the street was selling tomatoes.

Put the (oversized) pot on the stove and add the remaining ingredients.  Let this concoction simmer for an hour or more.

After the chili sauce has simmered, pour it into hot (sterilize in dishwasher or in our case heat them in the oven) pint jars.  We usually end up with 10-12 jars.  This time was 11.  Put on the lids and screw tops and let them steam or sit in a hot water bath for 35 minutes. 

The steam canner has been a life saver.  With a 1950s stove, we only have one large burner and it's electric.  With a hot water bath canner, it takes almost an hour to boil the amount of water we need.  With the steamer it took 5-10 minutes.  It.was.wonderful.

When the 35 minutes is up, put the jars on a towel and let them cool down for the rest of the day.  Within a minute of removing them you should hear a pop.  This will let you know that the lids have sealed. 

With just this one batch, Andy and I are set with chili sauce to last us 2.5 months if we have chili once a week.  However, we still have chili sauce from last year.  Looks like we will be having chili once a week for 4 months... perfectly warming us up through the winter.

Chili Sauce

18 Large Tomatoes
5 Green Peppers-chopped
6 Large Onions-chopped
1 Bunch Celery- chopped
2 Tbsp Canning Salt
1 Cup Sugar
2 Cups Vinegar

-Scald, peel and chop the tomatoes
-Combine all ingredients and simmer for 1 hour
-Transfer to hot jars and can per canning instructions.