Saturday, August 30

Summer Is Nearly Over

I just can't even.

Here we are at the last official weekend of summer.  Let me tell you, it's been a fun one.  We've been blessed with some amazing weather and even better company.

Peanut had such a good time this summer with her cousin that is two years older than her (my favorite cousin's little girl......can I say that?  Well, I just did).  Peanut also got to know her other cousin (who is about a year and half older than her) better this summer, as little S got to stay with her Grandma and Grandpa all summer.

(Just for the record, these are both actually second cousins.  In case it seemed confusing--for simplicity sake, I refer to them as cousins.  I also think "second cousins" sounds so distant and formal....and these relationships are anything but!  But I digress.....)

There was lots of giggles, lots of swimming, lots of sunscreen, lots of ice cream sandwiches, and lots and lots of good times.

Our sweet boy has had a great time too, although at just past two years old, I don't know that most of it will make it to his memory arsenal.  Sigh.  But that's what pictures are for, right?   Although he ended up loving the pool, he loved water fights even more--the most?  Could be that he's a little obsessed with cops (otherwise known as our local law enforcement, one of whom lives in our neighborhood and my boy grins from ear to ear when we drive by and the officer is off duty, as evidenced by the police car in the driveway).  Anyhow....he carries his water pistol around the yard in a way that would even make Detective Stabler proud.

So, yeah, he's had lots of fun too. 

My mom and I have talked about it on several occasions, and we think Peanut will definitely remember this summer.  Hopefully it will be up there as one of her fondest memories from her childhood.  Last year, I read BooMama's A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet and she's writes of her sweet  memories spending time with her cousin at her grandma and grandpa's each summer.

Be still my heart......because that is exactly what I want for my children. 

Lots and lots of  wonderful memories of carefree summers spent at Grandma and Grandpa's where she can swim and pick fresh blueberries and eat them right of the bush, swim some more, drive her car, have a tea party, wonder around "helping" Grandpa on his projects, dive for pool toys, and point out animals in the fluffy white clouds above.  Too me, it's just doesn't get any better. 

I hope Peanut will feel the same way.  I think she will, because she has told more times than I can count, "Mommy, I just LOVE summer."

I think it's safe to say that memories are being made!


Friday, August 8

I Think We've Turned a Corner

So back at the end of May, I mentioned we were going to attempt potty training the little brother.  And then a week later, I decided to throw in the towel, deciding he wasn't as ready as I thought.

I don't know......I can't read his mind?

Anyhow, fast forward to this past week (Peanut was completely done with swimming lessons, so we could be housebound by choice once again) and we decided to give it another go when we used the last of the diapers.  

A week ago Thursday was good, Friday not so much, Saturday not so much and Sunday was meh.  I mean, I didn't even really try that hard on Sunday because we had Sunday Family Dinner at my parents.  In fact, it was so unremarkable, I actually went to pick up some more diapers while the boy was down for a nap at my parents.

But then Monday morning, he awoke bright and early declaring he had to go potttttty!  And so we were back at it once again while Daddy watched him and kept an eye on him while I ran errands in the mornings (giving me a break, let's be honest!) before he had to go in to work.  Daddy even achieved a #2 victory with him while I was out and about.  Daddy for the win! 

It's so funny too, because like each of our children, the potty training experience has been completely different each time.

With Peanut, she learned early on to tell me when she had to go.  Like every two minutes we were in the bathroom while she relieved herself of the one sip of water she had had ten minutes prior.  And so it went for probably a week (a month?) before she started to figure out she could hold it long enough to relieve herself of the entire sippy cup of water all at once.

With our boy, he instead learned from nearly the beginning that he could hold it.  But then, he didn't quite figure out that he needed to tell me when he needed to go.  So I've been cleaning up lots of messes this week.  Ahem

We've went through a ridiculous amount of gummy bears this week--don't judge.  His goal of course, was no wet underwear--meaning he goes all in the potty and not half on the floor in the living room before telling mommy.  Each time he achieved this, I would hand him a gummy bear and his response would be "Sissy gummy bear?  Mommy gummy bear?" meaning he thought his sister and I should get one as well.  It was kind of like he declared "Drinks Gummy bears are on me!" at our {breakfast} bar.  He is so funny!

So it's been an emotional week of highs and lows to be sure.  And really, potty training shouldn't be this emotionally draining.  {Maybe it is for everyone??!?!}  I said as much to the Hubs and his response was, "This reason it is for you is because you can't control it."

He's so right.  

Because not controlling it is really hard for this self-admitted control freak.

Wednesday, August 6

Preserving Cucumbers

I love me some fresh cucumbers.  It's funny too, because I've really only learned to appreciate cucumbers in my adult life.  I pretty much avoided them like the plague all through my childhood and throughout high school. 

However, I've always loved pickles, so go figure!  I guess a lot of people do that though, so it's probably not entirely strange. 

Anyhow, I don't know if there is anything better than fresh from the garden produce.  It just tastes....better.  I buy cucumbers here and there throughout the year (yes, I realize that's not buying seasonal!) for our green salads and there's nothing like biting into a fresh from the garden cucumber to remind you the ones you've been buying from the grocery store pretty much have little to no flavor. Plus, you appreciate the garden your dad plants for you all the more. 

Even as much as my family (yes, all three of them!) and my parents like fresh cucumbers, you can only eat so many.  And as much as I wish there was a way to preserve the cukes in their natural state, you really can't.  So making refrigerator pickles and sweet relish it is.   

And before all you sweet cucumber haters click away, let me tell you too, my husband CANNOT stand bread and butter pickles OR sweet relish.  And he raves about both of these to whoever will listen. They are both that good. 

Our former favorite landlord blessed me with both of these recipes about a year ago and I can't thank her enough. 

Easy Refrigerator Pickles 

6 cups thinly sliced pickling cucumbers (my dad planted English cucumbers and they worked just fine)
1 cup thinly sliced onions
1 1/2 cups white vinegar
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp celery seeds
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 garlic cloves, sliced

Place 3 cups of cucumbers in glass crock/bowl (I used canning jars); top with 1/2 cup of onions and repeat.  Combine vinegar and remaining ingredients in small saucepan, stir well.  Bring to a boil for 1 minute.  Pour over cukes/onions.  Let cool.  Cover and chill for at least four days to allow flavors to meld (my husband usually can't wait longer than day!).  Pickles may stored in refrigerator for up to two months. 

I've definitely stored some longer, but as always, use your best judgement.  If they smell or look or taste off, time to toss 'em. 

I know this next recipe sounds like a crazy amount of veggies, but you let it sit in a salt solution to extract much of the water out of it, and in the end it made just 7 pints of relish.  More than enough to last until next summer and even some to give away!  

Sweet Relish

Combine in a large pan/dutch oven:

8 cups ground cucumbers
1 cup ground red pepper
2 cups ground green pepper
6 cups finely diced celery
1/2 cup un-iodized table salt (I used sea salt)

Cover with tap water and let stand at least four hours.  After sitting for four hours, drain as much of the liquid out as possible.

In a seperate saucepan combine:

3 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups white vinegar
2 tbsp celery seed
2 tbsp mustard seed

Bring to a boil to dissolve sugar and then add to strained veggies and bring the mixture to a boil.  Boil for ten minutes.  Pour into hot jars, leaving 1/2 inch of head space.  Screw on lids and rings and place in water bath.  Water bath can for 10 minutes.  And remember, that's 10 minutes once it's reached a rolling boil.

Here is a great set of canning instructions if you've never canned before.  

My parents let us borrow their outdoor burner to process the water bath on.  We have a glass top stove top and I've heard that you are not supposed to use those for canning?  Anyhow, this is such a nice alternative because it can be done outside and avoids heating up the house on warm summer days! 


Monday, August 4

Summer Update

We have been enjoying our summer to the fullest these last few weeks.  It's been consistently in the mid to high 80's with more than several 90 degree days thrown in.  So that has translated to a lot of trips to Grandma and Grandpa's to take advantage of their open house hospitality and pool.

What a blessing that has been for this no air conditioning family.

 I've said this before, but we really do live in a climate where air conditioning is not really a necessity at all--the average temp in our little neck of the woods between June and September is right around 75 degrees--which is actually quite liveable and comfortable without the luxury of AC.  But after several weeks of high 80's and low 90's, I kinda' wished we would have shelled out the $5,000 for air conditioning several years back.

I said kinda'.

But then almost as soon as I start to get sick of the hot weather, the weather starts to change and we start heading full speed into fall, and while I love all things fall, I sometimes need to remind myself to enjoy the moment and everything it has to offer.

Sweatiness and all.

While everyone was in the pool the other day (I don't really go in terribly much--it has to be Africa hot for me to indulge) I got out my macro lens that I had nearly forgotten about.  Honestly, I hadn't really forgotten about it, it's just not as practical for every day use when taking pictures of on-the-go littles.  At least I haven't found it to be, but perhaps I haven't played around with it enough?  I had the macro lens on my camera taking the photos of the Peanut the other day and I was too lazy distracted to put my every day lens on, so I went with it.

My dad puts in a garden every year {mostly for yours truly} and so I got some pictures of it's progress.  While he has at least a dozen tomato plants going strong, we are no where near to harvest like some of the other bloggers I read about.  It seems like they've been harvesting and putting up tomatoes for weeks while our are just getting started.  Here, our harvest for tomatoes is usually early to late September and then it's a roll of the dice to see how many you can let ripen on the vine before the first frost comes.  Clearly, one of the disadvantages to our nice, comfortable summertime average of 75 degrees!

Our boy has been learning the fine art of water fights as well.  Most days he is still figuring out how to fill up the water gun, but then when he does, he is so darned pleased with himself.  It's serious business for sure. 

The little Peanut has been having so much fun in the pool--and she is rocking the tan as well.   (Sidenote--I stink at taking iPhone pictures-- see below.  While very convenient at times, the smart phone so does NOT replace my DSLR.  Just sayin'.)  We affectionately call her our little Indian.  Not the most politically correct term, I am fully aware.  But in all honesty, my side of the family is quite jealous of her genes from my husband and his swarthy-esk skin.  While he is actually quite fair skinned most of time, when he gets out in the sun?  Full on tan lines in a matter of hours.

Like I said, jealous.  'Cause this pasty white girl doesn't tan very easily.  I have to get my sun in very small increments otherwise I'll be a lobster.  But the nice thing is I can rest assured that both my littles will have very nice school pictures indeed, with both sun kissed skin and hair.

And it doesn't get much better--as those pictures will be evidence of a hot, long, lazy summer. 



Related Posts with Thumbnails