Monday, August 31, 2009

I love my neighbors...

I know, these pictures are perfect...but before we get to that...I just have to say, I LOVE MY NEIGHBORS!!! I have thought about the possibility of moving, but I just can't do it. I have Brandon and Holly next door...and it just doesn't get any better than them. They are thoughtful and kind. They are fun to hang out with. Brandon has cool tools and knows how to use them. He can get my weed eater working again when I can't even figure out how to turn the thing on. They have a great garden in their backyard and we exchange seeds, veggies and recipe ideas. Holly lets me use her big pot for canning. And most importantly, they've gone from being nice people next door to my friends. They love Katelyn and she loves playing in their dirt...with their dogs...with them. Needless to say, the kid is spoiled when she goes next door.
Holly is a fabulous photographer and she has captured some of Katelyn's finest moments...

I mean really...could the kid be any cuter???

Holly and Brandon always have my permission for Katelyn to get filthy. They watch her on most Wednesday nights when I'm at the church and I know that when I return Katelyn will be a mess. And nothing makes me happier because I know that my child has been loved on and played with. She gets to roll in the dirt, play with the puppies, eat tomatoes out of the garden, take walks, blow bubbles, eat yummy foods. And below is the girl I come home to....

Life is full of challenges...but it is full of so much joy...everyday. You just can't take it for granted.
My grandma's motto was "Count your blessings."
We are so blessed!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Joy and sadness

It's been quite a week. much has happened in the last week that it feels like it's surely been more than a week. At church we started an after school program for our kids and youth. I'll save that for another post...but it was an excellent week in that regard. And then on Thursday I found out that my grandma had passed away. She found out last year that she had a rare and aggressive form of breast cancer. She fought hard..I mean really hard. And last summer there was no one that thought she would still be around. But she made it a whole extra year and we all were so blessed to have an extra year worth of time and memories to hold on to. And yet it seems that no matter how long you have to prepare for someone's death it's not long enough...and it's still sad...and there's still great loss. So on Friday morning my brother, Katelyn and I headed up to Michigan to join the rest of our family as we mourn and celebrate together.
Tomorrow is the visitation and Monday is the funeral. Katelyn did so well in the car on the way up here and she's been a little ray of sunshine for everyone...because a two year old knows nothing of death and is full of life.
So this morning, this full of life child was ready to my mom and I took her down to the zoo. I think she was more excited about running and climbing than she was about the animals...but nevertheless, we had fun.
Here's our little drummer girl...oh how she loves to pound on things.
We were both looking at the camera, but my camera's shutter speed is just not quick enough for a two year old. It's a wonder that I ever get a good picture of her!


Grammy and Kateybug...

This was hillarious...the leopard had climbed up the side of this wall and was checking out what was going on below....

Here he is from the other side...just hanging out.

Really, most of my pictures were blurry like this because Katelyn ran and ran and ran and ran....

Friday, August 14, 2009

A sweet morning...

Katelyn and I got to hang out this morning. We went to God's Pantry to pick up all of the food for our after school program next week and we took it all over to the church and put it up. Then we went to the gym. Every time we get close to the YMCA Katelyn says, "Mommy exercise." She did great in the nursery this morning. She didn't even look up when I left...she was coloring. We ran a couple other quick errands and then we went home to eat lunch. Katelyn had 1/2 a PB&J (natural peanut butter and the blackberry jam I made last night), pickles (she calls them "peekles" and tortilla chips with the salsa I made the other day. She went to town on the was mild and she loves to dip things. After lunch we sat outside at her little table and played with play dough. (Katelyn really loves to play with play dough.) I picked the tomatoes that were ready in the garden. We came inside and read a couple of books. Katelyn went right down for her nap. It was a sweet morning with my girl. I love hanging out with her.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Help, I'm being overtaken by vegetables!!

In the fridge, on the counter, in the pantry, in the freezer....vegetables....EVERYWHERE!
So I had to have a plan of attack. I was being overtaken. I can't eat them fast enough. I don't want to throw all of this great stuff out. Time for a marathon...
Here's how it works at my house...Katelyn stands at the sliding glass door and says, "Mama, outside." So she's a big girl I let her outside to play for a bit (of course I can see everything from the kitchen window.) Without fail, the kid makes a beeline for the garden and this is what I see...EVERY TIME...
Looking, looking for the little red grape tomatoes (I taught her that she can't pick the green ones.)...and would you please take a look at these tomato plants...they're HUGE!
Finds one...pops it in her mouth...finds one pops it in her mouth....

Looking high...looking low. Finds one...pops it in her mouth.

This goes on for a few minutes until I holler..."Katelyn, honey, that's enough tomatoes. You're going to get a belly ache. Come over here please and play." Run run run across the lawn. "Mama look. Matoes." "Katelyn, were you eating tomatoes from the garden?" Katelyn responds sheepishly, "Noooo."...with a big smile on her face. It cracks me up everyday. And I've never seen a toddler with this kind of passion for tomatoes.

But even with Katelyn's ability to mow through some tomatoes on a daily basis...I still had tons from the farm and from the backyard...So I made spaghetti sauce and salsa the other day. I'll keep doing this for the rest of the summer. I'm hoping that I won't have to buy a jar of tomato sauce over the next six-nine months. Homemade is SO much better!!!

I got all of this done just in time to go out to the farm again and get this weeks haul. Good grief. But I did make a fabulous stir fry tonight with green onion, garlic, fresh parsley, red pepper, eggplant, golden zucchini, bok choy, left over chicken, curry, cumin, rice wine vinegar, and a splash of lemon juice...over brown rice with some feta on top... Super TASTY! I also made some pesto and froze it in ice cube trays. When they're frozen you just pop them all in a freezer bag and they're ready to go...I LOVE PESTO!

And because I had a pile of blackberries that needed to be used...I canned some blackberry jam tonight. Talk about yummy! We got fresh flowers today and among many other vegetables that I had already put away, we got some beautiful golden zucchini and yellow squash.

More salsa, spaghetti sauce and pesto is on the agenda for this weekend. I need to do some cabinet cleaning too. I'm stock piling for fall and winter...

Sunday, August 2, 2009


First of all...someone needs to be proud of me for posting so much in the last few days!! I had to post these pictures though. Katelyn's hair has gotten so long that I put it in BRAIDED pigtails this morning. She looks so stinkin' cute!!! Here she is watching her new Ni Hao Kai Lan dvd. It's a show on Nick Jr. It's similar to Dora but Kai Lan is Chinese. So Katelyn is learning some words in Chinese now. Excellent!
I tried to get her to look at me but she was completely captivated by her show.

Here's the profile. Doesn't she look like a picture of summer??!!

She has been really into taking her baby for a walk in the stroller lately.

It's a beautiful summer day here. Church went well this morning and now we're just resting!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Garden update

This is a great year for gardening! This is the best summer ever...not too hot and plenty of rain.
Below are my tomatoes and peppers. I've been getting lots of grape tomatoes. I got the first couple of roma tomatoes today. The yellow pear tomatoes are coming in as are the big slicer tomatoes in the back. I've gotten a couple of banana peppers and I have a red pepper that is just about ripe. There are a couple of yellow peppers that aren't far behind. It's so fun to go out in the backyard and pick something for lunch or dinner and eat it right away!
The basil is doing great. I'm going to make a batch of pesto tomorrow and get this pile all trimmed back so it can grow again.

Green onions and oregano (that I need to trim back and dry some for later. The oregano has a mind of its own.)

I mowed the grass today and picked tomatoes out of the garden....a lovely afternoon while Katelyn napped!

Yeah for the consignment stores!!!

Today my favorite local kids consignment store was clearning out all of their summer stuff. Fill a bag for $15. Are you kidding me??? You know I'm all over that!
So here's what I got Katelyn to put up for next summer (And really a few pairs of stretch pants that she'll be able to wear this fall and next spring also!)
2 bathing suits for next year (one is Old Navy)
1 pair of pajamas (Disney Store)
3 pairs of jean capris (1 pair Sketchers, 1 pair for this summer)
1 summer dress (new with tags on it)
4 pairs of cotton pants (2 pairs Gymboree, 1 pair Lands End)
3 pairs of pants (1 pair Baby Gap, 1 pair Oshkosh)
1 skirt
1 pair of skorts
2 tank tops (Carters and Children's Place)
3 t-shirts (2 Gymboree - 1 still with the tags on it!)
Do you see that this is 21 items...many of them name brand....two things with the tags still on them...all in great condition...all for $15!!!
And then I had $4 store credit that I couldn't use on the sale but I got her a really cute pair of jeans and with the credit they only cost me $1.
Pretty good haul for $16. The total consignment store price for all of this stuff was $85. Can you imagine what it would have been retail? Pretty good to save 80% off of the consignment store price! For all of you who tell me that Katelyn is always dressed cute...thank you. Please know, it's not because I spend much money. I let everyone else out there spend $25 for a pair of jeans at Gymboree and then I buy them for a few bucks. :)
The really awesome thing is...because this is all name brand stuff, when Katelyn is done with it and I sell it at a consignment sale, I'll make far more than the $16 I paid for all this stuff.
Ahhh...I love a bargain!
One day my daughter is going to revolt and refuse to wear all of this second hand stuff...but until then....