Thursday, July 29, 2010

What a fun night

My baby sister is graduating high school this year (cry) and wanted me to take her senior pics for her. We had a lot of fun and took over 150 pics! Here is a sampling!
It was great to have some sister time without the kids and to catch up. Been a long time since there was no one but her and I around!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Dill Pickles

It seems we are always looking for the perfect recipes when we are canning. Last year I made a bunch of pickles and while our bread and butters are spot on, our dills were not exactly what we were looking for. A family friend shared some with us of hers that she made and they are great. They remind me of the Clausen Dills you can buy in the grocery store cold.

Here is the recipe
Use freshly picked cucumbers and wash them using a stiff brush. Cut off both ends then cut them in half or quarters. Small cucumbers can be left whole.

For each jar of pickles you will need:

1/2 tsp alum
2 to 3 medium cloves of garlic
2 to 3 heads fresh dill
1/2 to 1 red small hot chil pepper (dried one)

Put one clove garlic and one head of dill in bottom of the jar. Then put cut pickles into the jar. Then top the pickles with dill, garlic and alum on top of the cucumbers.

Bring to a boil and pour over cucumbers:

3 quarts water
1 quart apple cider vinegar
1 cup "pickling" salt

This will make enough brine for 6 quarts.

Cap each jar as soon as you pour boiling brine over cucumbers.


Brine will keep in the refrigerator if you have some left but must be used within the next 2 weeks.

I am not on the hunt for a recipe for Vlasic or Gedney style pickles to please the other little miss, and a good sweet pickle recipe for the man of the house! If ya have one to share I would love it!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A garden update

The garden is doing great as are the weeds, but I am doing my best to stay ahead of the weeds and enjoy the garden.
The constant rain, super hot temps and crazy humidity has been great for growing everything but our peppers, I am hoping to get some off them but they are not going to have a great harvest that is for sure.
Our tomatoes are absolutely massive. These pictures are about 2 weeks old now and they are now taller than all of the kids. Now if we can get some to turn read I will be one super happy mama!

The onions are growing great, the bulbs are forming and I am beyond excited to harvest and enjoy them!

Our broccoli is forming heads that will be ready soon, I think that we will have the first one in the next day or so.

We harvested our first banana pepper which was great on a salad. If they come around I would love to pickle a jar or two of them for on sandwiches as well but not sure that will come about this year.

Our green beans are doing wonderfully. I just picked them today and we are having them with dinner tonight. Yummo.

We will have cabbage soon as well and our cucumbers are getting huge. We have enough that we will be making pickles from them tomorrow. Araya has been enjoying eating them with every meal but has started to fall behind.

And we are most excited for the watermelon. We grew sugar babies this year and it is so fun to watch them grow. Now its just being patient until it is finally time to enjoy them!!!

How time slips away

Things have been so busy here on the farm this summer. It has made it hard to stay caught up on the blog and that makes me sad.
But where to start....
The state is doing construction on the interstate a half mile from our house and our quiet gravel road has turned in a noisy thorough fair. The only bright side is that the kids have enjoyed seeing the trucks and their grandpa has been driving by which they love. He honks every time and the kids just giggle. And since its 45 minutes from his house he has stayed with us a couple times which they dearly love.

The 4th of July was fun as well. We didn't get to go see any fireworks this year because it won't stop raining here in Iowa. However, we did go to grandma and grandpas. The kids had a great time playing with their cousin and Aunts and Uncle.

The girls have been through swimming lessons. Araya will now be in Level 2 next year. She is a little fish, loves to get toys from the bottom and spend as much time under water as she possibly can. She can do so much but she loves to show off that she can back float and dive to the bottom the best.
Nevaeh went through the preschool level and did great. She will be in Level 1 next year. This year was great for her and she enjoyed it greatly. Learning so much like treading water, floating and basic pool and water safety.
Carter thought it was pretty boring to water his sisters in the water and not be able to join but next year he will get his chance as well.

Other than that is has been super busy with keeping up with the farm, canning and spending every day we possibly can outside.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Sisterly Love

Miss Ashley what to say! While we have not always had the greatest friendship that you can hope for between sisters I have always looked out for your best interest. From on the bus when kids would pick on you, to the stupid boyfriend that just had no brains. Now it may be argued that I wasn't looking out for your best interest when I had you carry the laundry to the basement and you fell and cut your head, or when WE played Double Dare as kids and I broke water balloons over your head.
I hope that I have taught you things in your life that you will carry with you for many years to come.
It is nice to have you as a sister, and to be able to talk to someone when being a mom isn't going exactly how I had planned.
Thank you for being a great sister, a wonderful aunt and an awesome person!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

No you shut up Katrina

I can not believe that is has been 17 shorts years since you were born. It seems like just yesterday you were born. It really can not have been 15 years ago that you would meet me at the door telling me to "hut Up Kuika" to which I would respond " No you shut up Katrina" followed quickly by "Mom Kuika told me to Hut Up" with lots of giggles.
Or that its been 10 years since you would come to Minnesota and spend a week in the summer visiting me, we would have so much fun going and taking pictures, visiting places that Shane and I thought were so cool and having so much fun. Or that its been nearly 6 years ago that you were with me when I had my first baby. Or that you have been driving a car for a year now. And the part that is hardest for me to swallow is that in less than a year you will be graduating High School and moving on to the next adventure in your life. It really makes me almost cry.
Thank you for being my sister! Thank you for being my friend! And thank you for being a great Aunt for my wonderful Children.
Heres to MANY MANY more years of fun and adventure!

Never enough hours in the day

The farm has been keeping us all so busy.
We have had a lot of rain in Iowa this year, so we have been taking full advantage of every day that we are able to be outside. The garden is always in need of weeding, the yard mowing and trimming. The animals need their attention as well. Plus we have had swimming lessons, time to play in the sand and figure out what other projects need to be tackled.
We are starting to harvest in our garden a little at a time. We have gotten our first cucumbers from our plants and my adorable Araya has eaten them all. None for mommy yet there.
We have lots of tomatoes growing and doing great. The peppers are not doing as well. I have baby peppers but the leaves are falling off the plants and we are not understanding why. It is happening at my folks place as well, so we are not sure if it is the awful weather we have had this summer or what. We are hoping to get enough to enjoy and make salsa but we shall see. May have to buy those this year.

Aside from that, just not much time to sit and relax and that is sad too.

More to come soon, with some fun photos to enjoy as well.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Fresh Produce

Our favorite thing about this time of year is the selection of fresh fruits and veggies keeps growing. We are picking cucumbers, green beans and a few tomatoes from our garden. The local road side stand has some stuff that they have brought in from other states and there is local sweet corn now as well.
Nothing is like a meal where we can eat all fresh produce and feel full at the end of the meal.