Tomatoes - Part II

Tomatoes from the garden.... Check!

Really Crispy Bacon..... Check!!

Nice Crunchy Lettuce.... Check!!

Bread spread with plenty of Mayo.... check! (I don't toast it. It hurts the roof of my mouth)

I have had a BLT for lunch every day this week!! Hurray for BLT season!!

Tomatoes - Part I

Wednesday I harvested 9 pounds of tomatoes from the garden!! They're a mix of heirloom cherry varieties, roma, and Big Beef. They look a bit orange but most were really ripe. I had to leave a few of the Big Beef on the window sill. They look red outside and then when I get them inside, I realize they could have used a few more days on the vine. Oh well :)
Here's what I'm doing with my romas. I learned this trick from my mom. She said to freeze the tomatoes as I go that I intend to use for sauce. When I thaw them, the skins will slip right off! So, as I harvest roma tomatoes, I'm laying them out on a cookie sheet so they won't stick together (not sure why I bother since it's probably okay if they stick...) then when they're frozen, I put them into a freezer bag. So far I have 2 gallon sized bags of them. It'll be a fun project to thaw all of the tomatoes and make a huge pot of sauce to can. (and by "fun", I mean really messy and time consuming but I'm already looking forward to it! :)

I-catcher Console-monitor



Low temperature gas fireplace model

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Closet Doors Laminate Floor


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COP: 4.24
extra power: 5 kilowatts
Remote control, anti-vibration feet, regulatory probe on external adjustable slope.


* excluding options, without starting, and only available from stock.

Sweet Purple Pinwheels

This was one of the fabrics that came back from Perth. It was so sweet with small pictures of rattles, pram, rocking horse, etc. Thot a pinwheel pattern with lite purple would be nice. 

For its sashing, decided on a lite yellow to bring out its small pictures.

Went back to the lite purple for its 2nd border . . .

. . . and finished it off with yet another shade of purple with small white flowers. Has a nice effect, don't you think?

Measurement : 41" W x 54" L
Made up of 100% cotton
Price : RM130
Status : Available

Update on the Calendula Infused Oil

This is what has happened to my Calendula Infused oil (original post)

It started getting cloudy a few days ago and then I noticed the mold growing on the top this morning. :( I'm so bummed. I'm not sure why it didn't work. I guess I'll be buying my Calendula oil online this year.

over 42C.... 112F??

No wonder the saying "hotter than hell" is popular!!! was hot.

Mittens In July??

I haven't knitted in a couple weeks. It's hard to want to hold something warm when it's so hot outside. I decided to make a small project so it wouldn't cover so much of my lap as I knit. I've started a pair of adult mittens from leftover wool I had in my stash (I have more then just that ball, don't worry). I found the pattern in the Nov/Dec 2008 issue of Countryside. I remember seeing the instructions and hoping that my knitting skills would improve enough to accomplish mittens one day. Now, 3 pairs of children's mittens later, I'm ready to tackle adult mittens. :) If this heat keeps up, maybe everyone will have mittens in their stockings this year! :)

Bunny Rabbit everywhere

Goodness, it's upside down! Anyways, had this gorgeous apple green fabric with rabbits everywhere. Didn't really know what to do with it. Came up with 'a box in a box' pattern.

Decided that an assortment of reds would nicely bring out the red bunny in the sea of green.

Nicely folded up . . . I quite like the reds and greens.

Quite pleased with the criss-cross red backing fabric and lime green binding :-)

I like it! Not bad I guess.

Measurement : 42" W x 49" L
Made up of 100% American cotton
Price : SOLD!
Status Available

Baby Bear

I had a whole meter of this fabric years ago. Used it up little by little. This is all i have left. Cut up a small window just to show the cute baby bear with blanket . . .

. . . a bit of green here and a bit of blue there . . .

. . . a nice striped blue for its backing, a dotted blue-green to finish it off and a strong green for its binding.

The end result . . . hmmm, . . . ok-lah.
Measurement : 41" W x 48" L
Made up of 100% cotton
Price : RM130
Status : SOLD!

The Cure For Your Chocolate Craving

I recently visited this blog thanks to a recommendation from my Aunt . I saw the recipe for the Flourless Fudge Cookies and HAD to bake them! :) The word "flourless" is what got me.

The first time I had flourless chocolate cake was in 2002. Jon and I were in Baltimore and we decided to go to Little Italy for dinner. We were dressed very casually. We found a little restaurant named "Aldo's" . We had no idea we had picked a fine dining restaurant. It was really early and no other diners were there yet. Not sure what the waiters thought of this couple in their early 20's walking in dressed for a restaurant like Applebees. We realized as soon as we opened the menu that we were way out of our league. We thought about leaving but we figured we'd kiss our budget goodbye and stay. I remember asking for a glass of water and the waiter asked "Sparkling or non". I almost giggled outloud at that one. When I said, "Non". He brought me a goblet and a bottle of Perrier. Jon and my eyes got wider when the waiter would come with a comb-like instrument to sweep away the crumbs on our table. Though I can't remember what we had for dinner... I remember dessert VERY clearly. I asked the waiter what dessert he would recommend. He said the best was their Flourless Chocolate Cake. A small, round cake in the center of the plate with a bit of whipped cream and a strawberry was set in front of me. It was so delicious! The center was a bit molton... not overly gooey but just right. The cake around it was dense and just sweet enough. Jon and I loved our evening at Aldo's. I think half the fun was realizing we had no idea what we were doing. It was quite an adventure. We returned to Aldo's (appropriately dressed this time) for our 1st anniversary when I was 15 weeks pregnant. It was great but I think it's more fun to go in jeans :)

So, back to the cookies... Here's the recipe

These cookies are the answer to every chocolate craving! They are a cross between a candy and a cookie. There are very few ingredients and they are heavy on chocolate flavor! I put a handful of chocolate chips in the batter but I think they were overkill. The batter came out pretty thick so they weren't quite as flat as the picture. The great news is that they freeze really well. I put most of them in the freezer and took 2 out yesterday and let them thaw on the counter for a little while. They tasted just as great as they had just after I made them. I think I'll be keeping a bag in the freezer from now on for Chocolate emergencies :)

Calendula Infused Oil -See update-7-29-09

This year I added Calendula to my garden. I had read a lot about it's use in skin care products. It's supposed to be soothing, healing, and generally great for problem skin. Between Evan's eczema and my acne, I figured it was worth a try.
Many of the skin products I want to make call for Calendula infused oil. Here's how I made it...
Take a clean quart sized canning jar and add a bottle of safflower oil. I was very happy to be able to find a 24oz. bottle of it at Walmart. Apparently safflower oil is very good for the skin... who knew! :)
As you harvest the calendula flowers, pull off the petals and add them to the oil. Close the lid and set it in a sunny window for about a month... pour the oil through cheesecloth and the oil will keep for a year.
I only have a handful of flowers blooming every couple of days so I'm adding petals to the oil as I harvest.
After I fill this jar with petals, any extra flowers I harvest will be dried.

The best part of making this oil is having this pretty, petal filled jar sitting in my kitchen. Some petals float near the top... some settle at the bottom. I have my fingers crossed that it works :)

Fun and Busy times for our Family

I told you how last week we were missing Mara and Ken. Well on Friday of last week the other kids and I drove up to Flaming Pine Youth Camp to join in activities for a day, spend the night and bring Mara home. It had been a very wet and chilly week at camp but Mara had thoroughly enjoyed it. Friday night they had awards and Mara and many of the other campers got the Master Camper award. Mara was pretty pleased about that.

Christy (holding Kade) and Anna were up there too and I had fun visiting and spending time with them.

The Campground is beautiful and I enjoyed taking some pictures. On Saturday morning Christy and I and our kids went out on the lake in one of the row boats there at camp.

After a picnic lunch we headed home on rather back woods roads in Northern MN and we enjoyed looking at all the scenery.

We made it home at around 3 pm and Ken made it home from the Twin Cities just about 20 minutes after us.

Ken and Jonathan got right to work on the tree fort (with some help from some of the rest of us too). It is so nice to all be home together again!
I missed Mara quite a lot while she was gone at camp and realized some of the reasons why when she came back. Saturday evening I went down by my bed to find a pretty little arrangement of wild flowers on my night stand compliments of Mara. She loves beauty and loves to find ways to share it with others.
This week we have been busy picking berries (and then of course- the big task of cleaning and caring for them all!).

On Tuesday morning some friends were going early and I decided to join them. The older kids wanted to go too so I told them that would be fine as long as they got up and ready quickly when I touched their shoulder and told them it was time to go in the morning. At 6 am I quietly told them it was time and all 3 older ones (I didn't try to wake Megan at all, she was staying with Ken.) hopped out of bed and were ready to go in about 2 minutes. We left the house at 6:15 and were able to get home in time for Ken to be to work. We came home with 4 heaping ice cream pails full.

One of the fruits of our labor was a yummy (and good for you!) fresh strawberry pie. I will try to share the recipe later when I have more time.

Tuesday evening we went Raspberry picking at my parents and were able to get around 3 gallons. It was fun to pick together as a family though at the end the kids all drifter off and it was just Ken and I picking. The kids have started to become pretty good pickers, it is just that the draw of doing other things at Grandpa and Grandma's is pretty strong.

This week the boys had their last baseball games. They had a lot of fun at them, and I even enjoyed it some but I am sure glad it is over. I am so happy to be able to stay home most days again!

Life is still busy however, we have the County Fair starting next weekend. Ken has a booth for his Agency (which I will be helping him at), we have a Republican booth which we are helping to get ready and set up (and I will be overseeing volunteers but thank-fully other people will be manning it) and the kids and I are entering a bunch of stuff it the fair.

Along with the fair, music students, flower business, Church classes and everything that needs to be done in being a homemaker I had started to feel a little overwhelmed. I have been praying about it and I feel at peace but I also decided that I had better take a little break from blogging for a bit. So unless I get a bunch of extra time on my hands or decide I can't manage without writing, I will see you again sometime in August. :-) There are tons of projects I want to tell you about but it will have to wait until then!

Meanwhile I would love to hear what is going on in your homes and I hope you are having a wonderful summer!

My First Teacher

My mom helping me sew when I was about 7.

I recently came across this picture while looking for baby pictures of my sister for her wedding. I hung it on my fridge and looked at it every time I walked by. I love this picture.

My mom was my first teacher. She taught me to sew, cook, garden, and endless other activities. She taught me the basic skills needed to take on almost any hobby I can think of. I may not have appreciated the gardening at the time but now I draw on those lessons while working in my garden.... a garden that provides me with great joy. She taught me to eagerly seek out new hobbies while holding on to much loved ones. Through hobbies, we have found a way to fill ourselves up... a way for me to hold on to Becky when she threatens to disappear in a sea of diapers and sippy cups.

My husband has told me before that he never knows what kind of hobby I'll pick up next. He gets the sweetest smile on his face whenever I talk a mile a minute about how I can't wait to start making soap, or soup stock, or matching Steeler hats. :)

I have my mom to thank for this. Thanks Mom for teaching me all the things I needed to make this life as wonderful as it is. I love you.

in Watrous, Sask. on way to Minnesota family reunion

Janis' family visiting Watrous,Sask.

Alyssa and Ashlynn

Okay Alyssa is my exs' neice. His mom asked me to make her a outfit for the 4th of July. She saw the one I made my youngest god daughter and wanted it to look just like that so I recreated it for a 1 year old and this is what I got.
Here is the skirt with the shorts up under it.
This is another dress I made for Alyssa. This is called the Bella Flora and the pattern is on etsy by Scrap with Nikki. This is a size 12 months. As you can see I ran out of the yellow I was using when it came to making the top part of the dress but they said it was fine.
This is the set I made for a good friend of mine. She got her first grand daughter in early June and her name is Ashlynne. The dress is from Crotiques called 'Girl's Sleeper Dress' I have made so many of these dresses so far that it is so easy. They loved this set.
The blanket is actually called 'Little Boy Blue 8 Point Round Ripple' say that five times fast lol. I made so many of these blankets. Each of my god kids has one of these.

The Caped Honky-Tonk Crusader

This post is in honor of my 2 year old "baby". These pictures/video were all taken within a half hour of each other. As you can see, he's a constant source of entertainment :)

Evan put a bathtowel on his head and then topped that with his cowboy hat... he then ran around the living room jabbering away.

Evan loves Ina :) He moved this laundry basket in front of the TV to get a better look at Ina cook. He's the same age as Charlotte when she fell in love with Paula Deen. Now it's Evan's turn to have a favorite cooking show :)

Evan loves to put buckets on his head (again, ever the entertainer). He put his drum on his head and then found that if he stomped his feet, the drum would bounce on his head making a drum sound. He proceeded to bounce around the living room.

Better go. He just ran from the room... never know what he's going to get into next :)