With Edmund being sick and then an extreme heat wave (temps. over 105!), this is how we have been spending our days - lot's of reading and a few board games.
I love it when I find Chaz and Topher snuggled up together reading to one another. No matter the weather, they always curl up under lots of blankets to read. They are so peaceful, no fighting no arguing. Chaz reads while Topher listens so attentively. Such special moments.
Edmund is feeling much better and is eating again which really helps his mood. When it's too hot to go out, they've been playing board games - sometimes playing by the rules and sometimes making up rules of their own. It might not be too exciting but they are nice little moments none the less.
Thursday, July 31
Tuesday, July 29
In addition to a new hobby, Edmund brought something else home from camp. It started as a sore throat which turned in to congestion and then a cough. At first it seemed like allergies or possibly a Summer cold (apparently it was cold at night and hot hot hot during the day at camp)
However, when the cough just wouldn't stop and he was constantly coughing "stuff" up, we knew it was time to visit the doctor. He insisted he was getting better but over the weekend he developed a very odd rash over his body.
Yesterday morning we were off to the doctor. It turns out he has Strep and an upper respiratory infection and it was this infection moving though his system that caused the (harmless) rash.
Luckily I had been giving him the right OTC medication which made me feel so much better and now he is also on antibiotics. 24 hours later and I can already see an improvement.
We laid low last week and it looks like we will be laying low again this week.
Monday, July 28
This week I went to the farmer's market alone. I really like making a family outing of it but it's also nice to go alone sometimes. I got to linger a little longer and chat a little more. We've definitely become regulars - a couple of people asked where the rest of the family was.
My basket was full of:
Sweet Banana Peppers
Friday, July 25
Edmund came home from camp with what could very well be a new hobby for him. Since he is a "first year" scout, his merit badge classes at camp were chosen for him (he gets to pick his own next year). He was signed up for leatherwork, basketry, art and swimming. He was a little unsure about the basket making but in the end, he really enjoyed it.
He made a small stool, a square based basket and brought home the kit for a round based basket. This week he made his little basket and explained the process to me. He did a great job and he's already asking if we can look for more kits. I asked him he'd like to make me a laundry basket but he's still thinking smaller baskets are better - for now.
Monday, July 21
We got to the farmer's market a little late this week. We really need to make sure we get there pretty early but sometimes it's hard to get going. Certain things just go so fast, though.
This week we bought:
- yellow squash
- sweet banana peppers,
- Japanese eggplant
- fresh pinto beans
- fresh purple hull peas
- coconut lime soap (Topher picked this)
I'm really excited about the pinto beans. I love pinto beans and I've never had fresh before. They look so different than the dried beans - so much prettier! Topher is excited about the eggplant. He and I are the only ones that like it so I'll have to make something special with it. If you've got any recipe suggestions (for anything we bought), I'd love to hear them!
Sunday, July 20
"Look! I lost a tooth!"
This is what woke me up this morning. Topher came running to me clutching a little tooth in his fist and his mouth wide open.
"I pulled it out myself! And it's not even bleeding!"
He's so proud of himself. Feeling so big right now. He's been waiting for this moment for quite some time. It's one step closer to being a "big kid".
He's growing up.
Saturday, July 19
Edmund survived summer camp! He had a great time and is full of stories to tell us. For now though, he is going to lay low. In addition to a ton of laundry, he also brought home (what I am hoping is) a summer cold. His throat is sore and he is pretty congested.
He's glad to be home and we're happy to have him back.
Friday, July 18
Thursday, July 17
Wednesday, July 16
Tuesday, July 15
"Yum!" by Chaz, age 9
Farmer's Market July 12, 2008
"Eggplant's Butt" by Chaz, age 9
Farmer's Market July 12, 2008
"Summer Watermelons" by Chaz, age 9
Farmer's Market July 12, 2008
"Watermelon Music" by Chaz, age 9
Farmer's Market July 12, 2008
"Edmund is strong" by Chaz, age 9
Farmer's Market July 12, 2008
Chaz is getting quite good with the camera. He loves to get in real close for his shots and he's starting to learn how close is too close. He will often occupy himself with the camera while I pick out produce at the market.
The watermelon series is my favorite.
Monday, July 14
This week we bought:
watermelon (he charged me $2 less than the stated price)
lady cream peas
green beans (he didn't charge me for these)
peanut butter cookies
Every week we shop from the same farmer. His produce is always very good and so are his prices. He's very friendly and remembers us from week to week. Sometimes he'll offer a few berries to the boys and he often slips extra beans or a squash in to my basket. Loyalty has it's rewards.
Sunday, July 13
Oh those boys of mine - they are growing up!
Edmund got on a bus with 80+ other boys today and headed off to Boy Scout Camp. It's his first time and he couldn't have been more excited. And me? I'm excited for him. I know he'll have a wonderful time. But I can't help but feel a little nervous too. He's so far away. In another state. One that seems to get more tornados than we do. Then there is the wondering. What is doing? What is he eating? Will he remember his sunscreen? Will he drink plenty of water? Will he use his toothbrush? It's hard being a mom.
But he'll be back at the end of the week with stories to tell and laundry to wash. His brothers will enjoy their time away from him but will be thrilled to have him home again. We all will.
Friday, July 11
I've started two new projects this month. The first is 365 Days - a year long photography project. It's such a big commitment but I think it will be ok. (I hope!) I've done the Self Portrait Challenge in the past but I couldn't always get in to the themes. There are so many wonderful and creative self portraits in the 365 pool that have really inspired me to jump right in. I'm hoping it will help with my photography a little as well as help me be a little more comfortable in front of the camera. I plan to just capture every day moments which I'm sure will eventually pose a bit of a challenge since so many days look just like the one before!
My second project is more artistic in nature. I've been meaning to take out my watercolors and paint but I don't seem to make the time for it as often as I would like. I found echoes and loved the idea of it and they created a group so the rest of us can join the fun. I jumped right in! I think doing a little painting and daily journalling will help get the creative juices flowing again.
It was hot and the sun was bright so we did the only logical thing - we cooled off at the pool!
Today we noticed:
~ The boys are becoming quite the little fish.
~ Topher is now able to touch the bottom of the lazy river and is almost tall enough for the slide.
~ The blue tube slide is much better than the green open slide, according to the boys. You go so much faster!
~ Bringing a cooler of cold drinks is preferable but if you are desperate and have some cash, there is a snack bar fully stocked with things I try to avoid (but kids love!)
~ Middle school girls wear tiny bathing suits and spend a lot of time giggling in the locker room.
~ Many moms don't watch their small children relying too heavily on the lifeguards.
~ The pool deck gets very hot!
~ Life is so much better after a few hours in the pool!
Wednesday, July 9
Our local theater has $1 movies for kids on Wednesday mornings during the summer. Today the boys and I went to see Alvin and the Chipmunks. (not nearly as annoying as I thought). The theater fills pretty quickly for these movies so we go early to get good seats.
This morning while we were hanging out, Edmund wanted to try taking a few pictures. It was dark enough that neither one of us realized what Chaz was up to until we got home and downloaded the photos from my camera.
It's not the best quality photo - it's really hard taking pictures in a dark theater with out the flash! But I just love this one. Chaz is such a character!
Tuesday, July 8
We have garbage pick up once a week. This week, for our family of 5, we had only one 13 gallon bag in our bin! If it weren't so hot, I might have skipped this week's pickup. There has been less and less in our bin each week. Even the little recycling bin was barely half full this week.
I find it very curious that so many of my neighbors have such full bins each week. One neighbor is often putting some of her garbage over flow into other bins because hers is too full! There are others who have 2 or even 3 garbage bins. These are all families of less than 5.
We have made big efforts to reduce our consumption and also our waste. We are reusing what we can and recycling what we can't reuse. We compost our kitchen scraps, buy in bulk to eliminate packaging, and try to use very few disposable items.
On garbage day, I am reminded that these simple things can make a difference.
Monday, July 7
I got to the farmer's market nice and early this weekend. As a matter of fact, I left and came back before the rest of the family woke up. I really enjoy it when we all go to the market, but it was kind of nice to go alone, too.
Eggplant and okra made it to the market this week. There were also white cucumbers and lemon squash, both of which I have never had before. Last week's corn was so good I had to buy more. I also got some plums and nectarines as well as a few of my "standards" - zucchini, tomatoes and green beans.
Saturday, July 5
Friday, July 4
Our morning was spent at the town's 4th of July Parade. Edmund and his Boy Scout Troop led the parade which was very exciting. The parade was followed by a town picnic with a band. It was really loads of fun but so very hot (100º)! We ended up leaving early because there just wasn't any shade to be found.
The rest of the day was spent with some friends and their pool. There was a lot of swimming and splashing. Plenty of grilling and a few Mai Tai's.
Our night was filled with fireworks! The sky was clear and warm so the fireworks were just brilliant.
It was a wonderful way to spend the 4th. It was also a great way to celebrate 1 full year in Texas! One year ago today we arrived in Texas ready for a new and exciting adventure in our lives. It's been a good year and I'm looking forward to lot's more.
Thursday, July 3
I always have a couple of envelopes of taco seasoning in my pantry - at least I used to. They are a little too salty for me and the low sodium version is not always easy to find. I say I used to keep them because one day I took a look at the ingredient list to see exactly what I was seasoning my food with. I was really surprised at what I saw!
Now I keep a jar of my own in the pantry. It's so easy to mix up and I can control the salt, the heat and the flavor.
Tonight it's chicken tacos and pinto beans - flavored with our own taco seasoning!
1/2 c chili powder
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
2 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 Tbls paprika
2 Tbls cumin
2 Tbls coarse salt
3 Tbls black pepper
Mix and store in an airtight container. 2 Tbls = 1 packet
Adjust the seasonings to your own taste. Enjoy!
Wednesday, July 2
Awhile back, we planted a few container gardens. Tomatoes, peppers and eggplant. Oh and some cucumbers, too. We had high hopes for ... well anything! Our harvest thus far has been meager, to say the least. The tomatoes, especially, are looking pretty sad. The pumpkins, however are growing like gangbusters. We didn't plant them. One of last year's jack o'lanterns that never got carved was left in a corner of the side yard and this spring the seeds sprouted. We let the vines go, they seem to really like it there.
Last night I bought some new tomato plants. I'm going to put them in along the fence behind the pumpkins. I figure that the pumpkins are happy there so maybe tomatoes will be too. It's tough work. It's all clay out there. Thick sticky clay. I tossed some worm castings in to the holes and now I am hoping for the best.
As for the scraggly tomatoes in the pots? I'm not sure what I am going to do. Leave them in the pots and give them a good dose of organic fertilizer? Transplant them to the compost and see what happens? Put them behind the pumpkins with the others?
I'm still dreaming of baskets full of tomatoes from my own yard.
Tuesday, July 1
My canning pot has been busy lately! I love making jam. I love the thick bits of fruit glistening on a cracker or a piece of toast. I love the jewel like jars sparkling on the pantry shelf. I even enjoy standing over the steamy pot of molten jam burbling away on the stove. (I confess, it does make me feel a little Laura Ingalls like, too!)
Last week was strawberry week. I also found some rhubarb at the store which was a rare and special treat. I bought all they had - about 2 pounds.
The boys and a neighbor friend spent an afternoon in the kitchen with me last week and helped make some jam. They were pretty interested in the hows and whys of the process and asked some good questions. I explained how sealing the jars works and later in the week, I found them in the yard with some recycled plastic peanut butter jars making "leaf jam" (water, leaves, grass, etc). They even set the jars on the hot sidewalk to get them to seal properly! I guess they were listening to me.
We ended up with 10 half pint jars of strawberry jam, 8 half pint jars of strawberry rhubarb jam, and 3 half pint jars of rhubarb jam. As an added bonus, I also have a quart sized jar of strawberry syrup. Perfect for making home made fizzy sodas, topping pancakes or even ice cream. I boiled the tops of the strawberries (including the greens) with 2 cups of water and 2 cups of sugar for several minutes and then strained it into a jar. I got the idea here and I think it's such a clever way to use what might ordinarily end up as compost.
If you have homemade jam, you need some homemade bread to go with it. This brioche was made using the brioche pan my mom picked up for me at an estate sale using the recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. (Previously blogged here.)