Monday, June 30

Farmer's Market

Farmer's Market week 10

We got to the farmer's market this weekend about the same time we usually do. Suddenly it's a little too late. Our favorite farmer was looking a bit picked over on some things and had sold out of other things. Luckily we were still able to come home with some great fresh produce.

Chaz loves the little red potatoes and looks for them every week. Corn made an appearance this week as well as blackberries! There are still plenty of tomatoes and this week there were green tomatoes, too. I didn't buy any but I sort of wish I had. More and more peppers have been showing up and this week it was green bell peppers. There were huge watermelons and I was very tempted to buy one. However, They were almost as big as Topher and Chris and Edmund weren't with me to help carry it. Next weekend.

Sunday, June 29

Summer Reading

Summer Reading

We didn't make it to the library for this week's program. Topher was in camp and the program was a little young for the older two boys. We ended up at the library yesterday afternoon. It was so nice and quiet - just a library should be. Don't get me wrong, I really love kids getting excited about going to the library and I think it's great to see so many little ones there each week, However, I really am surprised that so many parents don't teach their children that libraries are quiet places. It's amazing how much screaming goes on at the library!

The boys turned in their 3rd reading log this week. The prize was a free book! Topher got so excited when the librarian told him that he didn't have to bring it back!

The house is quiet. Everyone has their nose in a book and I need to go join them.

Saturday, June 28

Cub Scout Day Camp

Cub Scout Day Camp Archery

Last night was family night at Scout Camp. The archery range and the bb gun ranges were set up as well as a small climbing wall. We never made it to the climbing wall. The boys had such a good time at archery and bb guns, they kept getting back in line.

Cub Scout Day Camp

Topher has never shot bb guns or archery before this week. Archery was a bit difficult for him. He didn't have enough strength to get the arrow through the target - they kept bouncing off. Still, not bad for a first timer. BB guns, however, he really took to! Last night was just his third time and he did so well! He wanted to try to qualify for the Junior USA Shooting Team Patch. He need a score of 35 or better with just 5 shots. He shot a 46! We were so excited for him. He was so proud of himself! He shot 2 bulls eyes and a "Robin Hood" - he it the same spot twice! They told me that he was the only one in his age group to qualify all week. I think he has found his talent! Perhaps the Olympics are in his future!

Cub Scout Day Camp BB Guns

Of course Edmund and Chaz also got to shoot. They have both done bb guns and archery before and just like Topher, they really love it. Chaz had a little trouble with his aim but we'll work on it with him. Edmund missed qualifying for his shooting patch his first two times but third time is a charm! With a score of 49, he came home with is patch.

Junior Shooting Team!

There was to be a picnic and campfire but it was so very hot. We had brought a picnic with us but we brought it back home again. The blanket was laid out on the living room floor and we had our picnic inside - with air conditioning and a movie.

Friday, June 27

Vacation Bible School

Vacation Bible School '08

Last week was Vacation Bible School week. The boys have such a great time going. They car pool with our neighbor and come home full of excitement and stories. The church is really warm and friendly, full of young people and families and it seems to be pretty active. It's exactly what I am looking for in a church - except it is 30+ minutes away. With fuel prices rising, I have a hard time driving that far. But they are still kind enough to take my children in and make them feel welcome even though we don't attend the church.

At the end of the week, the church hosted a carnival for the kids and their families. There were games and prizes, a food tent complete with hot dogs, nachos, snow cones, cotton candy and funnel cakes, and so much more. It was so much fun! The best part was that the kids were able to run and play with out me worrying about the crazies that are at public fairs (and they didn't keep asking for "just one more dollar")

Vacation Bible School Carnival

1. face painting
2. snow cone
3. baseball toss

See more of the Six One Way project.

Thursday, June 26

Grandma Wetzler's Arugula Salad

Grandma Wetzler's Arugula Salad

I don't know who Grandma Wetzler is but we love her salad! Last night we had it with Honey Mustard Grilled Chicken and tomatoes from the farmer's market.

Grandma Wetzler's Arugula Salad

4 slices of bacon
1/4 c sugar
1/2 c balsamic vinegar
1 large bunch of arugula
12 small red potatoes (golf ball sized)
2 hard cooked eggs, chopped

Cook the potatoes in salted water until easily pierced with a fork and then cut in half. Set aside.

In a small skillet, cook the bacon until crisp. Remove bacon and crumble. To the bacon fat in the pan, add the sugar and balsamic vinegar. Bring to a boil and then remove from the heat.

Place the potatoes in a large salad bowl and toss with a small drizzle of the dressing. Add Arugula and toss with remaining dressing. Top with bacon and egg.

Wednesday, June 25

From Our Garden

First Harvest

Our little container garden has been struggling along. I think it might be getting too much afternoon sun. I save my water from the kitchen and water the pots often but they just don't seem too happy.

They have, however, managed to produce these little vegetables. A small sweet red chile pepper, a yellow cherry tomato and a grape tomato. I offered to dice them and cook them with some eggs but the boys prefer their eggs plain. Edmund is really the only one interested in tomatoes and peppers, anyway. He wants me to make salsa for one so I think that is what we will do.

Hopefully with a little more TLC and some worm castings, we'll get a little more from our garden.

Tuesday, June 24

Bandana Pack

Bandana Pack

This is Topher's week to go to Camp. He's too young for sleep away camp so he is going to Cub Scout Day Camp. To say he is excited is an understatement! He's going with his friends, the theme is pirates! and he gets to do things like archery, bb guns, swimming and crafts. A little boy's dream!

He has a few things that he needs to bring with him each day and needs an easy way to carry it. I wanted something a little more "camp" and a little less "school" than a backpack so I made him a little string pack.

It's amazingly simple - 2 bandanas and 4 yards of sweatshirt cording. That's it!

Bandana Pack

::Fold one edge on each bandana over about an inch and stitch. This will make the top casing.

::Right sides together and the casing edges at the top, put the bandanas together and stitch up the sides. Stop just before you get to the casing edge. You want this to stay open.

::Cut the cording in half. Thread one length through the casing and back out again on the same side you started. Do the same on the opposite side. The loose ends should be on the inside (where the right sides are)

::Line the ends of the corner up with the bottom corners of the bandanas. Stitch across the bottom to close it up, capturing the ends of the cord.

::Turn right side out. Pull the side cords to cinch up the top.

Bandana Pack

Let me know if you make one!

Monday, June 23

Farmer's Market

Farmer's Market week 9

This week: Leeks! yellow squash, Mexican zucchini, red potatoes, jalapenos, cantaloupe, tomatoes (2 kinds) and worm castings.

Yep, worm castings. I'm hoping that my container gardens will benefit. They are looking a little sad out there and really need a nutritional boost.

That partly eaten hot banana pepper is Edmund's. The farmer gave it to him to try when Edmund told him he liked spicy peppers. Edmund took a bite and said it wasn't too spicy. The farmer smiled and told him to take a real good bite with some of the seeds. Edmund took another and still said it was fine then he took one more. The beads of sweat started forming on his brow! The farmer laughed and assured him that the jalapenos are mild compared to that one. That hot pepper (or what's left of it) will probably find it's way in to a batch of salsa.

Friday, June 20

Fun with a Friend

Summer Fun + a Friend

for the six one way project.

The boys spent quite a bit of time this week with our neighbor. Sarah loves playing with the boys and often wishes she could be their sister. Sometimes she wants to be in our family and sometimes she wants the boys to be part of hers.

1. The kids helped me make strawberry rhubarb jam this week. They are waiting to hear the "ping" to make sure all the jars sealed properly.

2. They weeded the flower beds at Sarah's house.

3. They are waiting for the show to start at the library.

Yes, they're wearing the same orange shirts all week. The kids went to Vacation Bible school together all week and came home and changed from this year's shirt in to last years.

Thursday, June 19

At the Library

Story Time Theater - Pecos Bill

This week's library program was an interactive story time theater performance of Pecos Bill. We took our neighbor, Sarah, with us and all four kids had a great time. They were really laughing through out the entire show!

At the Library

After the show, we went in to the library for books. Of course we had to pick some books about Pecos Bill and other American folk tales. The boys also turned in their reading logs. This week they got to put their names on the wall. There were also Whataburger certificates and a small toy. The toy just kills me! The pre-K to 5th graders were given plastic hand clappers while the older kids were given small bookmark craft kits. 50+ little kids running through the library playing with clappers! I'm not sure who's idea that was but perhaps it needs a little rethinking. Oh well.

We found lots of new to us books to read and got Sarah signed up for the reading program. It was another fun afternoon at the library.

Wednesday, June 18

Back Home!

11:28 pm - Home!

11:28 PM!

Chaz was due back tonight but instead came in the door late last night. It rained almost the entire time and then they predicted a pretty severe storm so it was decided that it would be best to come home a little early. Despite that, he had a great time and is already looking forward to next year.

edited to add:
He is very proud of his bravery! His tent mate moved out because there were spiders. Chaz slept alone in the tent - with the spiders and wasn't afraid. To much.

Tuesday, June 17

Off at Camp


We spent Sunday driving north to take Chaz to Cub Scout camp. He was so excited (first sleep way camp!) and a bit nervous, too (first sleep away camp).

Since it was Father's Day, we decided to make the drive more than just a long car ride. We were driving up with a few other parents so we couldn't make any unscheduled stops along the way but we did have plans to stop for lunch. Instead of grabbing some fast food, I decided to pack a picnic. It was the perfect opportunity to use our new picnic blanket. (more photos of that to come)

We had a lovely day and by the time we headed home, Chaz was so much more excited than nervous. It will be a little strange with out him here this week but I know that he'll be having an amazing time at camp!

Monday, June 16

Farmer's Market

Farmer's Market week 8

This week at the farmer's market we noticed:

- the summer squashes are increasing in size, number, and varieties
- the peppers are making an appearance
- the strawberries are almost done
- the green beans are much less plentiful
- the peaches smell amazing
- more people are showing up to shop
- a couple of regular vendors are missing
- southern peas were only available for 2 weeks
- the tomatoes seem just a little bit more special (no health risks with these!)

Friday, June 13

Happy Birthday, Chris!

Happy Birthday Chris!
missing tooth courtesy of a foul ball at baseball practice

Today is Chris' birthday! I didn't make him write out a list of interesting things about himself. We did have a nice little family celebration, though.

We went out for burgers and wings (birthday boy's choice) and came home to blackberry peach cobbler. Chris isn't a cake eater but he loves pies, crisps and cobblers so cobbler it was. I love peach cobbler but I never make it because all the recipes that I have make a bicuity type topping that never really cooks properly. The tops is dry and bland and the underneath is raw and gummy. Then I found this recipe! It is now officially my favorite cobbler recipe. Stephani really knows her way around the kitchen! Last night we made her tomato pie which was also wonderful.

Chris likes to keep his birthday simple. The boys made him some paintings and we gave him new grill tools (we caught the last set on fire!) He had a good birthday and that is all that matters, really.

Thursday, June 12

Summer at the Library

It's Thursday and that means library day! Our town library has a lot of great (free) programs for the kids during the summer. Today there was a demonstration by a yo-yo world champion. Chaz loves yo-yos so he was especially excited to see this performance. They were all mesmerized!

Spintastics at the Library
click for bigger

She had yo-yos, tops and diablos - which were new to me - and really did some amazing things with them. After the show, we headed in to the main part of the library and searched for books about yo-yos.

The boys also turned in their first summer reading logs. The prize for week one was a certificate, a pencil and a certificate for a free ticket to the Texas Rangers. We also picked up our week two log and we are ready to go!

At the Library

Wednesday, June 11

Getting the Right Fit

Sewing and Researching

I've been buzzing along at my sewing machine. (I really need to figure out a better place for it!) I wanted some new summer clothes and the best way to get just what I want is to make it myself. So far I've got 4 skirts and 2 tops. The skirts are perfect but the top patterns need a little tweaking. Thanks to the library, I now have a better idea of how to do that. As soon as I can get some good photos, I'll share my new wardrobe in the making.

Tuesday, June 10

Cookie of the Week


Yes, I am still making cookies! Well, I missed last week and I haven't even thought about this week yet, but let's not talk about that. I have a few recipes to share from the past month.

Cookie of the Week

These are so good! A little rich and buttery but that is not neccesarily a bad thing! We had these for breakfast as well as dessert.

English Matrimonials

1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups oats
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 3/4 sticks butter, cut into pieces
1 12 ounce jar of your favorite preserves ( I use peach)

Mix all ingredients except Apricot Preserves. Press one half of the mixture into a buttered 8 inch square pan. Spread the preserves over the crust. Sprinkle second half of mixture over the top and pat lightly. Bake at 350 for 30 - 40 minutes or until light brown. Let cool completely, then cut into squares.

Cookie of the Week

This is one of my favorite cookies. It always makes me think of my grandmother and I'm not exactly sure why. I don't really remember her making these but I always think of her when I make them.

This is a two-fer recipe. You make a batch of butter cookie dough and divide in half. Half goes to these cookies and half gets wrapped in the freezer for another cookie recipe that I'll share later or another batch of these.

Basic Butter Cookie Dough
1 lb butter softened
1 1/3 cup sugar
3/4 tsp salt
3 large egg yolks *
2 tsp vanilla
4 2/3 c flour

Beat the butter, sugar and salt until light and fluffy. Add in the egg yolks one at a time. Add the vanilla. Gradually beat in the flour until combined well.

* save the egg whites and freeze for later use.

Jelly Bowl Cookies

1/2 batch of Basic Cookie Dough
3/4 c jam (I like Strawberry)

roll the dough in small balls and place on a prepared cookie sheet. Using your thumb, press an indentation in to the dough to for a little bowl. Fill will a small about of jam. Bake at 350 for 12 min.

Cookie of the Week

There is not much really to say about these cookies. They are kind of light and crumbly (in a good way) with a great taste of honey. It's a simple cookie that stores well.

Honey Tapioca Cookies

1/2 c butter, softened
1/3 c honey
2 Tbls brown sugar
1 large egg
3/4 c tapioca flour
1 1/4 c rice flour
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking powder

Cream the butter, honey and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg. Add remaining ingredients and mix for about 2 minutes. Roll in to tablespoon sized balls, slightly flatten and place on a prepared baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.

Cookie of the Week

What can I say about chocolate chip cookies?! Everyone loves them and these are no exception. The kids (mine and the neighbors) have no idea that they are made with whole wheat flour so you can sneak a little more whole grains in to their diet (let's just not talk about the sugar, though!) The whole wheat flour gives them an almost nutty quality. You can't go wrong with chocolate chip cookies!

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 c brown sugar
1 c white sugar
2 c butter, softened
4 eggs
2 Tbls vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
4 3/4 c whole wheat flour
4 c semisweet chocolate chips

Cream together the brown sugar, white sugar, and butter until fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Stir in the vanilla, salt, and baking soda until well blended, then mix in the flour. Stir in the chocolate chips last. Drop spoonfuls of cookie dough onto prepared baking sheets so they are about 2 inches apart. Bake at 350 for 10 to 12 minutes, until the cookies are just starting to brown at the edges.

Monday, June 9

To Market, To Market

Farmers Market

We didn't buy a fat pig but I think we might have done a little jig or two. What's a Saturday morning without a little dancing?!

Our farmer's market is in full swing. I love going each week. Greeting the familiar faces. Discovering what has come in to season this week. The weathered farmer sneaking a strawberry or two to the boys. Coming home with a very full market bag and new ideas.

From the Farmer's Market

Each meal is the same - "This X came from the farmer's market!" Chaz and most especially Topher get so excited by this. Edmund is coming around. For awhile it was "What difference does that make?" but I think he starting to get it. The boys are so much more willing to eat things when it comes from the farmer. Topher even ate a tomato! That's big around here.

Farmer's Market

Farmer's Market 2008

week 1: tomatoes, spring onions, baby turnips with greens, red leaf lettuce, butter head lettuce, spinach, eggs

week 2: tomatoes, spring onions, green beans, mushrooms, chard, red leaf lettuce, butter head lettuce

Farmer's Market week 3
week 3: broccoli, wild garlic, baby turnips with greens, red potatoes, eight ball zucchini, strawberries, eggs

Farmer's Market week 4
week 4: summer squash, onions, red potatoes, tomatoes - large and small, green beans, green plums, roasted garlic pasta

Farmer's Market week 5
week 5: green beans, strawberries, peaches, kirby cucumbers, patty pan squash, lemon grass soap, vegan chocolate chocolate chip cookies, whole wheat oatmeal raisin cookies

Farmer's Market week 6
week 6: kirby cucumbers, green beans, pink-eyed purple hulled beans, zucchini, peaches

Farmer's Market week 7
week 7: tomatoes, kirby cucumbers, pink-eyed purple hulled beans, summer squash, red potatoes, jalapenos

Sunday, June 8

An Evening Walk

Evening Walk

Just a little walk after dinner. Sometimes it a little trip to the park. Sometimes it's just around the block. Last night it was to a field not far from here. A field full of tall grass and wild flowers. A field perfect for running through and getting lost in. I have a felling that the time will soon come when this field will be under construction but for now, we'll enjoy it as it is.

Wild Flowers

And perhaps bring a little home with us.

Saturday, June 7

Summer Reading

Library Day

Sumer means more trips to the library! The boys are really thrilled that this year there are no required summer reading lists nor are there any mandatory summer homework packets - from the school, at least. There is always some learning but "Mom work" is much more fun than "school work".

This week we made our way to the library with open minds and no lists. We also signed up for the Summer Reading Program. I remember going to the library with my sister every summer to sign up for the reading program. There was always some special prize for the child who read the most books during the summer and it was always my sister that won the prize. I think at some point she was asked not to sign up so other children had a chance. We were pretty voracious readers but my sister really took the cake!

Now everyone is a winner. The boys aren't competing against others or even against themselves. The requirement - read 20 minutes a day for seven days. After seven days, bring in the log, get a small prize and a new log. Easy peasy for my boys, at least. I've got my own voracious readers. I think Chaz could give my sister a run for her money!

Library Day

This week the boys came home with almost 20 books between the three of them. That should probably last them the week. (I hope!)

Thursday, June 5

Class of 2008!

Elementary School Graduate!

Edmund graduated from elementary school today! I can't believe it. It's all happening too fast. This was the last year that all 3 boys would be in the same school. Edmund is off to (the big, scary) middle school in the fall. ::sigh::

The school had a small "graduation" ceremony this morning for the students. The class sang a couple of songs and there was a slide show highlighting the year. There were various awards and then the students were given the report cards and dismissed. I think being able to leave school at 9:30 while the rest of the grades were there until 1:30 was one of the big highlights of the morning!

Edmund was honored with an Accelerated Reader award. We are so very proud of him. He went through a period of time when we really had to struggle with him to get him to read. He could read - he just didn't want to. We are most proud of the hard work he did this year. The beginning of the year was a bit of a struggle for him and he really turned himself around. His grades really reflected that too.

I'm proud of all my boys. They were in a bit if a tough spot in the fall - adjusting to a new school in a new state and all that but they really did shine! We'll be doing a bit a of celebrating this weekend.

Class of 2008
5th Grade Graduating Class of 2008!

Wednesday, June 4

New Bag!

I took part in a little spring-time bag swap recently. We were to make a Pleated Beauty Bag from Bend-the-Rules Sewing for someone and then someone else would make one for us. I've wanted to make one of these bags for awhile so this seemed like a fun way to do it.

Pleated Beauty BagPleated Beauty Bag detail

This is the bag I made. I really liked it - very springy without being to...too. (If I do say so myself) I almost wanted to keep it for myself and I may have to make another with the same fabric sometime in the future.

Pleated Beauty Bag Pleated Beauty Bag detail

This is the bag I received. It's so me! I've used it constantly since it came in the mail. I love the shape and size of this bag. It's really a great carry all with out being completely "utility tote" looking. This one is exactly perfect!

Monday, June 2

Art and the City

Dallas Museum of Art - 1

After weeks of planning and re-planning, we went off yesterday for a day of art and culture at the Dallas Museum of Art. I really wanted to see the bluebonnet paintings byJulian Onderdonk before they move on.

The paintings were beautiful. I could have lingered much longer. The boys, however, were anxious to see more. They really enjoyed the museum. They were impressed and inspired by much of what they saw. They found the sculptures and carvings a bit more interesting than the paintings but many paintings captured their attention as well. Several times I had to remind them not to touch. The texture of the oil paintings was just too tempting.

Dallas Museum of Art - 8

Dallas Museum of Art - 5

Dallas Museum of Art - 4

There were so many things I would have liked to have been able to take pictures of at the museum. Unfortunately, photography is not allowed in most of the galleries and those that do are often too dark (no flash photography). The outdoor sculpture garden was fascinating and would have been perfect for a picnic. However, it was much too hot to spend very long out there.

Dallas Museum of Art - 2

Dallas Museum of Art - 3

We ventured out in to the city for some lunch. It seems that either the museum district of Dallas is short on restaurants or we had the misfortune of heading out in the opposite direction. We found a pub that was open on a Sunday afternoon and were able to kick back and relax for a bit. We worked up a thirst with all the walking we had to do to find the place!

Lunch in Dallas

We all really enjoyed our day at the museum. There is really so much to see - we need to make a return trip as we didn't make it through all the exhibits. It's such a family friendly museum, too. There were comfortable sitting areas in many of the galleries with books about the exhibits, the eras and the style of art to browse. There is also a hands on gallery with a space to create and lots of touch and feel exhibits. This weekend the theme in the creative studio was found objects. We were all able to make our own masterpieces out of little bits and bobs of recycled materials.

Dallas Museum of Art - Creating

This was the first of our summer trips. It really was a great way to kick off our Summer Staycation!

Dallas Museum of Art - 6

Dallas Museum of Art - 7