Thursday, June 28, 2012

Happy Birthday Ri!!

20 years ago today, my first-born (to me), my little Ri, made her way rather quietly into the world.  I wasn't screaming (more along the lines of grunting), and she wasn't either.  That was a little worrisome to everyone else in the room, but it had been a very long, difficult delivery, so I didn't even have enough wits about me to realize there was a problem.  I was rather surprised when they wouldn't let me hold her, ("Just give her a quick kiss Mom"), but regained enough presence of mind to ask my mother to accompany her to the NICU.  I was very pleased when my mother returned not too long after that to report that all was well.
In the ensuing 20 years I have watched her grow into such a lovely young woman. Intelligent, loving, independent, and thoughtful of others.  Now I watch as she starts this new part of her life out with the man she loves, and who loves her dearly in return, and I'm so very happy for them both.

I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
as long as I'm living
my baby you'll be.

Happy Birthday Ri!!

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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Crock-pot Multitasking

I like finding ways to use things as efficiently as possible.  With that in mind, I found a neat way to heat more than one thing with my large (7qt) crock-pot.  

When making tacos for our fellowship meal after Sunday service, we can put refried beans in a glass container, in this case a heavy duty, 2c. glass measuring cup, and set it in the pot with the taco meat so they heat at the same time without having to take a second slow cooker.  Although it doesn't look like much meat, it was 4 1/2lbs., which was more than enough for the 7 of us that were eating, and as you can tell, it could have held a bit more.
We've also used this for heating hotdogs and chili at the same time.
Any thick glass container will work as long as it leaves enough room for the other food and is tall enough to keep the main food out of the secondary food.  A wide mouth, pint size canning jar worked well for chili since several of mine don't eat chili on their hotdogs.
This is my other trick.  
Use a cookie sheet in place of the lid and you have a nice sized surface for warming bread; in this case, tortillas for the soft tacos.  I have one a little smaller that we normally use, but I was in a hurry and this one was easier to get to.  Just make sure the pan covers the top of the cooker.
We've used this successfully for biscuits, rolls, cornbread, hamburger and hotdog buns, and obviously, tortillas.  By covering the bread with a towel, you can keep more of the heat on it.
You can heat the wrapped bread right on the lid, I have done that too, but since the lids are domed, and have a handle on them, you have to wrap the bread in smaller bundles and balance them around the handle. The cookie sheet works better in my opinion.  And for the record, if you break your lid, you can use a cookie sheet in it's place until you can order a replacement.  Which, incidentally, is how I came by using one to warm bread.

I hope this little trick can come in handy for someone else out there.  It has sure worked well for us.

I've linked this post with this week's Homestead Barn Hop.  
Check them out.  I've already enjoyed several of the links, and I'm sure you will too.

I've also linked with the Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop.
Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Ri's wedding.

Well, the first courtship for our family ended even more beautifully than it started.
She is a lovely, Christian, young woman, eager to be an exemplary wife, and he is a true Christian gentleman, and equally eager to be a wonderful husband.   

Here are a few preliminary shots of Ri's wedding.
Of course, we don't have the pictures from the photographer yet.  These are just some shots taken by family members, but I really couldn't wait to share.  
The walk back down the aisle as the new Mrs. M.
This was the arrangement that was with the cake.
It didn't look a thing like this when we picked it up from the florist.  This is how we did want it to look, but when we picked it up, it was way too tall (even after I said something and the florist cut it down some), and had a bunch of other flowers and stuff in there we didn't want.  Thankfully, I had ordered extra sunflowers (just in case), so I took out what we didn't want, cut all the rest of it down and re-arranged it.
I don't have a close up of the cake yet (that's assuming the photographer got one), but the dark band at the bottom was green modeling chocolate that I rolled out and pressed on a patterned fondant mat to look as though it had vines pressed into it.  Then I added dark green, matte powder and green, pearl powder (both edible of course) to give it some depth.  Overall, I thought it turned out okay.
The icing was smoothed buttercream.  We don't like fondant.
This is kind of an odd angle.  It makes the photos look as though they were far away, but they weren't.
BTW - Ri doesn't mind showing her face on the blog.  I just don't do it for my other children (and didn't initially for her) because I feel as though they should be able to make the decision for themselves whether or not their face is on the internet once they are grown.
They each had nine photos ranging from baby to adult in these frames.
The Mr. & Mrs. sign, next to the Willow Tree he gave her, was on the cake the ladies from the church served at their pounding.
Lovely, don't you think?
Don't worry, the dark line across the bottom of the dress is just a reflection on the glass.
And here they are leaving the reception.
Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. M.!
She is so beautiful.

I'm in the light green dress on the right. The wind was blowing my direction, so the bubbles kept coming back at me. :)

I'll post better photos as soon as I get some.
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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

What a difference a week makes,

in the garden.

Romas, from this...
to this.
Please excuse the fact that this angle makes my hand look weirdly misshapen.
Peppers, from this...
to this.
The corn,
is now much taller.
And the potato bed,
has filled out quite a bit.

Boy, am I ever looking forward to harvesting time.
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Friday, June 15, 2012

Almost Time

It's almost time to watch my first born baby, and second oldest child walk down the aisle.  It's almost time to cuddle my youngest because she's going to miss her *favorite* sister terribly.  It's almost time to start introducing my daughter with a new last name.  It's almost time to watch her fulfill all that I've seen in her.

I'm not sad, but I am thoughtful tonight as we prepare ourselves for the rehearsal tomorrow, and then her wedding on Saturday.

I love her so much, and I'm so very happy for her.
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Monday, June 11, 2012

Garlic, gardening, and the results of growing kitchen scraps.

We were finally able to harvest our garlic.
The French Mild is on the left, and the Khabar is on the right.
The growing tips from Filaree Farms, where I got the seed, said to harvest when only the top four leaves were green, but I knew we had and unusually mild winter and the bulbs were already quite large.  I was afraid if I left them in the ground any longer the bulbs may begin to split and then they wouldn't keep well.
I was glad I made that call because a couple of the bulbs had started to split.  We'll just eat those first.
See?  Most of it was quite a bit bigger than store bought garlic - remember, I have large hands.
Here again the French Mild is on the left and the Khabar on the right. It looks like the French Mild is larger, but it's not.  The heads on it are just kind of flattened, so it's oblong as opposed to round.
We did start pulling some of the onions too.
Interestingly enough, some of the largest were ones we had planted (on an whim) in the openings of the concrete block.
We discovered this little volunteer tomato while we were getting the onions.  
Not sure he'll do good there.  That opening is kind of small for a tomato.
The tomatoes we planted intentionally are doing well.  This is just one bed, the other has only Romas in it for canning.  Hubby decided to give these supports a try this year.  They hinge at the top, so they'll be able to fold flat for storage if they hold up well.  We have a couple smaller ones for cucumbers.
Baby tomatoes,
and baby peppers.
Green beans.
And I gave in and agreed to give corn a try this year.
The only time I've grown it before, it was nearly all eaten by squirrels.  I hope this fares much better.
We also planted potatoes this year.  Half this bed is red and half is white, but I can't remember which is which.  I think I have it written on the garden map I drew out, but I'm just too lazy to go find it right now.  We started with the potatoes in very shallow soil, and we've been filling the bed with dirt as the potatoes grew.  It's completely filled now.  I've never used this method before, so we'll see how it works.
And this is my lemon balm.  That thing just keeps getting bigger and bigger every year.  
I really need to split it up.  That side of the deck is perfect for things in the mint family, but my other mints are in pots that are buried in the ground.  I need to pull them up and put them in bigger pots, but I don't think that's happening this week.
Around the front of the deck I've planted some flowers and zucchini.
We recently pulled out the peas and I'll put more zucchs and flowers over there (hopefully) this week.
The herbs are planted along the back wall of the house.
We also have okra, cucumbers, carrots, radishes, watermelon, cantaloupe, and pumpkin planted.  There are strawberries too, but they've pretty much quit.  I was so tickled to have so much more gardening area this year.
We were only able to plant this much because we found a really good deal on the raised bed kits.  We couldn't have purchased the cedar for what we were able to get these beds for at their sale price, and yes, they are made of cedar.  As you can see, we got four 4x4's and two 4x8's.  The 4x8's have one side that's the regular depth, and one side that's 12" deep.  We used one of the 12" sides for the potatoes.

And now on to the kitchen scraps I tried out.
The celery is a bit underwhelming.  It started off great, but maybe I don't have it in the best location.  We also got a couple of reasonably cool/cold snaps after it was planted; the thing I read said not to set it out until the ground was consistently 40 degrees and I'm sure it didn't stay there after I planted it.  I don't know if that may have impacted it, but personally, I just think the root end of the cut celery isn't adequate enough.  I may give it a try again sometime though.
But I've been pleased with the green onions.  They grew quickly and well.  I decided to let them go when I saw they were shooting up flower stalks.  Maybe I'll get some free seed out of this deal too.

I've linked this post with the Homestead Barn Hop.
Run on over and check out what everyone else is up to.

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Saturday, June 9, 2012

A Pounding

The folks at our church are wonderful.  They held a pounding for Ri and Superman last week and we had such a good time.  For those of you who may not know what a pounding is, it's kind of like a shower (complete with a couple of really cute games), but instead of household gifts like blenders and towels, you bring non-perishable food.  I told her you could tell we went to a church with lots of large families because she is well supplied with rice, pasta, and beans, instead of things I've seen at other poundings, like hamburger helper and boxes of macaroni and cheese.  Some of the ladies included a favorite recipe with all the necessary non-perishable ingredients she will need to make it.  Two of the families had their offerings in laundry baskets and one had theirs in one of those cute market baskets.  In addition to all the beans, rice and pasta, she has all the basic baking supplies (including chocolate chips - for us, they are considered one of the basics), quite a nice quantity of canned food, all the basic herbs and spices, and I got her some of the blends we use most, in addition to some of her favorite herbal teas.  So her pantry is pretty well supplied.  She's relieved; she knew he doesn't cook much at all, and she was afraid they'd have nothing to eat until they went grocery shopping, and that the first trip would cost a fortune.

We have such a great church family!!
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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Things are coming together.

We have two of these frames - his and hers.  I liked this much more than a bulletin board.
  They have little clothes pins on them and will hold 9 pictures.  We've chosen pics that range from baby to fairly recent and have them glued to post card weight paper so the photos won't curl while they're pinned up.
We've also made copies of all the grandparents they grew up with, but have passed on, and have them framed and ready to go on the remembrance table.  The large photos of Ri and Superman have been printed and framed, and the one of them together, that will be used in the large autograph frame they've chosen to use in place of a guest book, are all finished as well.
One of the three apothecary jars, and what we'll be turning into a small terrarium. 
A clock shaped like an old camera that I just couldn't resist getting for Ri, and a small, rusty lantern that will go on the remembrance table.
A large lantern and several of the pots, many of which have already been planted.  
Just a couple more plants to pot, a bit of sewing, and about three more projects to complete, then we'll be left with nothing but food to think about next week.

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Saturday, June 2, 2012

Two Weeks!

In just two weeks Ri and Superman will be getting married.
Am I stressed out?  About to lose my mind?  Freaking out over all the stuff that still needs to be done?  Agonizing over losing my baby?
Trust me, I've heard all these questions lately.  And the answer?
Well, lets take it one question at a time.
No - I'm not particularly stressed out.  Occasionally something will come up that momentarily bothers me, but I just take a second to remind myself that absolutely nothing can happen with regard to this wedding that will stop the world from spinning on it's axis.  Plus, I've been planning, organizing, purchasing, and making stuff slowly for several months just to keep things from getting any crazier than they have to here at the end, and so far, my plan has worked out just fine.
No - I'm not about to lose my mind.  I did that years ago.  It's much easier to function in a crazy world if you're a little abnormal anyway.
No - Sure there are some things left to be done, but all of the really big stuff has been done and even if some of the little stuff doesn't make it in the final cut, they'll still be able to get married, and the marriage is much more important than the wedding.
No - I'm not an emotional basket case because "I'm losing my baby."  I'm not losing her.  I know exactly where she'll be.  I see it as kind of a long term version of what happens the first time they take off driving somewhere without you.  Yes, you are worried about them, but things will go along much better if you get busy doing something and don't sit there and fret about the fact that they are on the road with a bunch of crazy people.  Besides, as I mentioned before, I'm really excited for her.

And, when it all comes down to it and you're really having trouble coping with something, inhale deeply once or twice, and take a moment to pray for peace of mind, solutions to problems, your child's safety and future, or for all of the above.
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