Fourth Week of Summer Break

Country life has slowed down some of our summer adventures as garden is maturing and we’ve been canning a lot.  Today we are finishing up the last of the green beans.  This will give us about 40 quarts in our pantry.  Canning is a new challenge with my 3 “helpers” but they’ll grow up appreciating this “art” and the skill and importance of self sustainability.

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I want my children to grow up knowing food doesn’t come “from the back room of the grocery store” (as a PBS clip tells them).  Food comes from farms of all sizes and its important to know how to feed your family yourself.  

In addition to green beans we are having a bumper crop of blackberries.   Jelly, berries in syrup, and a cobbler have been made with many more berries to come.

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We did make it to the library this week, we didnt spend all our time on the farm.  They learned about rockets and made and launched their own.

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The big boys got long overdue summer hair cuts. 

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Mom did some sewing and the boys got to try out the capes I made for a customer.

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We had plenty of outside play.  We had a family reunion.   We enjoyed some fireworks.

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This next week proves to be full.  Working on garden stuff.  Celebrating the 4th.  Now off to finish my beans before my helpers get into them.

Super Hero Capes

Sewing projects for crafty mamas of boys can be challenging.  No frilly dresses, no cute headbands, no darling skirts.  But…all is not lost.   These cute and easy capes are a favorite.   I made my boys one a couple years ago,  its worn almost daily.   I was commissioned to make a couple for dress-up toys for a local preschool.   Here is how I did it.

I used the shape I made before,  but just use a big piece of paper to do a mockup if you need too.  Basically a big tear drop size on the fold to make it semetric.  Then cut a half circle out of the top.  Clip your fold at the top.  You can make any lenghth, depending on the child, but I like it to be short enough for good running ability.

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Cut two of these.  Use the first one as your pattern for second.  Then pin right sides together and sew. 

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Leave a few inches open on bottom straight part for turning.

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Then clip your curves.  This just means little clips to make it lay smoother.   Trim corners at neck line, just get rid of bulk.  

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Then reach in your hole and turn, careful to poke out corners and curves.  Then press.

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When you get to your hole, just fold in seam allowance and press and pin.  We’ll sew it up when top stitching.

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Now, back to machine to top stitch it. Just sew close to edge all the way around.

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You can stop here and safety pin top together when you wear it, that’s what I do with my kids. (Mainly because I put ties and hated how they looked and cut them off) But these I did velcro. Cut a small set and sew around close to the edge.

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Now…go save the world!

Third Week of Summer Break

Our third week of summer break was adventure filled some fun some not so much…

Monday we went to the library and had fun making edible landfills and learning how landfills are layered, created, and maintained.   Ours were made out of pudding,  candies,  and other yummies.

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Monday night Daddy had a late meeting so we picked out TV dinners and ate them on the couch while watching Monsters vs Aliens and slept on the couch.  Its the simple things…kids thought it was an amazingly fun night, Mama found it wonderfully low stress.

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Tuesday started out good.  Boys played together great.  Took a big box to the porch and turned it into a race car, a rocket ship, or a race ship.  Lots of imagination going on.

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Boys then went to swing set,  where apparently an unwanted visitor made his home.  James got his first wasp sting.

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Which resulted in us making a trip to the ER. 

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Swelling was gone by end of week and didn’t seem to suffer much discomfort.   We now have epi pens in our home.

Wednesday we recovered from our excitement and went bowling with our church that night.  Isaac had only been once before and it was James’ first.   They had a blast.

Thursday was another library day.  And otherwise pretty dull.   Housework and baby chasing.   Thomas learned to climb.  We picked green beans.   We hung up a hummingbird feeder.

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Friday was housework and canning day.  We prepped and canned green beans, a lot of work with all my helpers.  We canned dilly beans and squash pickles.  Then plain old boring beans.

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Saturday was the meeting of our Dutch Oven cooking group.  Our theme was Italian.   It was great.  We had side dishes so made cheesy bread and broccoli.   (I’ll start blogging my dutch oven recipes soon!).

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Now its Sunday.  I think we’ll all go splash in kiddie pool later.  But first up, need to pick and can more green beans.  Ready for more adventures next week.

Life is busy and hectic but why not?  What point is it if you aren’t living it? 

Second Week of Summer Break

Our second week of summer break was more chaotic but we still had lots of fun and learning activities and intentional play/family time. 

Monday we kicked it off with summer library program.  Taking all 3 boys to library by myself made me nervous but Im trying not to let the chaos of three little guys prevent us from missing out on things.  The presentation was KinderSongs and kids loved it.  All three clapped and danced and were great.

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Tuesday they learned about election process and spent quality time with grandma when mommy and daddy worked the runoff election.   Wednesday was no more exciting as mommy had to teach a Dutch Oven cooking class get new tires on the car.  However,  big boys got snow cones and introduced to a ‘so awesome’ store known as Dollar Tree while we waited.  

Thursday visiting cousin accompanied us to library, since I was confident with 3 kids I decided to do 4 by myself.  Kids were mostly good, though they did try to vie for the attention of the one girl.   Since theme is science kids blew bubbles.   Tons of fun.

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Friday we did some garden work.  Looks like we’ll be canning beans very soon.

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Isaac also chose this day to cut his own hair.  I wasn’t mad, its just a kid thing and it was bound to happen one day.  At least it’s summer and time for a good short cut.  He was truly remorseful over it.

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Saturday cousins played some more and we got some shopping done.  Finally made Hobby Lobby so some sewing is in my future.
Sunday we celebrated the best Daddy.   We made him a yummt breakfast,  grilled burgers for lunch, snuggled on the couch and watched a movie, then made a yummy supper of Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas and a yummy new pie recipe.  

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After our nighttime bath we worked hard and a starting week organized and picked up.  This week will be another good week.  Now off to wake up boys to get this party started!

First Week of Summer Break

Wednesday started our very first summer break.  Im intent on creating memories,  building better habits in us all, and staying busy and enjoying every moment before we head into First Grade and (homeschool) preschool.
We started out with a nifty schedule because I like things in writing and nifty charts.

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We did good with it, we followed it relatively loosely, but it gave us a good guideline. 
We had a lot of outside time.  We jumped in puddles, climbed trees, dug holes, swung on the swings,  and just general boy-ness.

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We had some “educational” fun.  We picked blueberries and came home and made yummy blueberry muffins.  We did a couple quick “school” lessons to stay fresh.  We met a new friend,  who Google told us was a future Luna Moth, we set him free and hope to see him again.

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By Friday the kids were moving slower, they are going to have to adjust to their abundance of playtime, so they enjoyed lots of Legos and trains.  Overall all three boys played nicely together.

Next week looks to be just as exciting.   We will start the summer reading program at the library,  mom and dad will work run off election which means grandma/grandpa time, and lots of other adventures….

Goodbye Kindergarten

We “survived” our first year of school.  Kindergarten for our first child is in the books.  First grade sounds so grown up.   😦
So we flipped a few smilies (that doesn’t go on permanent record right lol).  But last 2 terms he made Honor Roll, which Im pleased with,  however I know he knows SO much more than he puts on paper, but it will come.

He had an amazing teacher and staff, so its a bit bittersweet moving on, but its a good thing.

Now on to summer…we have lots of plans and were going to make the most of it starting now….if you need me Ill be pushing kids on their swings.

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Recipe Review-Crockpot Beef and Broccoli

This is one of my family’s favorite crock pot meals.  I got the recipe off Pinterest,  but here’s our slightly modified version.
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The original recipe calls for “chuck roast sliced 1/4″ thick”.  I use venison “jerky” cuts…we have plenty on hand, already sliced,  easy peasy.  1 pkg, around a pound.

In measuring cup, I mix beef bullion with 1 cup water (recipe calls for broth or consommé, I always just use bullion so I dont waste half can of broth or whatever).  I then add 1/2 soy sauce and “handfull” brown sugar (recipe says 1/3 cup).  Then a couple spoons minced garlic (I keep a jar on hand bc Im lazy,  lol), and about a tablespoon oil.  (Recipe says sesame oil, I’ve never used or purchased sesame oil…maybe one day Ill try it).  Stir and pour all that over meat.  Cook on low all day or high half day (technical huh?).

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About 30 mins before “dinner time” remove some of the sauce and mix with 2 tablespoons corn starch and dump back in and stir.  Then dump a bag of frozen broccoli (or fresh) on too, cover,  turn on high and broccoli will cook as sauce thickens.   While this goes,  cook some rice.

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Now heres where mine messed up tonight, Ive done it many times but tonight my broccoli stayed cold and sauce wouldn’t thicken,  so I dumped in sauce pan and cooked it off real quick.

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Serve over rice.   So yummy.

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