Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Bluebird Gardens

It's hard to believe that Tuesday has already come around again. Tuesday has to be one of our favorite days of the week this summer (and we keep getting veggies through October). The kids and I are always excited to go and pick up our box of produce for the week from our CSA.

K-man was super proud of this monstorous onion!
We also enjoyed some delicious homemade bread that our Friend Sue Doerring made for us. The Doerrings had us over for supper on Saturday. Al entertained the kid with his kenex rollar coaster and gave us a tour of their apartment and garden. The kids enjoyed helping him water all his plants on the balcony. It's a good thing no one lives below their balcony or they would have been soaked. Al also makes beautiful jewelry for a hobby and gave me a beautiful necklace and matching earrings. I didn't get a picture of them on me yet, but will post one when I can remember.

Friday, July 23, 2010


This past Thursday was the last story time for the summer. Instead of a regular story hour they had a special program with "The Bug Guy." Later on I found out this guy is the cousin of our children's pastor at old church in Wisconsin. What a small world.

The room was full of at least 50 people (mostly kids 7 and under) all excited to see bugs and did we see, touch, smell and even TASTE some bugs! I told you it was Library Survivor. I sent the kids in to get spots to sit while I checked out our weekly book stash so, of course, they sat at the very front.

Can you guess which K-kids ate REAL bugs while at the library??? Keep reading to find out the answer.

The Bug Guy

Here are pictures of the kids looking at the biggest caterpillars that grow in MN. He said they could get as big as hot dogs. The kids loved touching them and K-girl even sniffed one to see if it really smelled like a leaf. She said it did and I took her at her word.


K-sis loved holding the caterpillars!

even K-baby got in on the action

K-girl and K-man (wish I would have gotten a picture of her sniffing the caterpillar, but my camera batteries weren't working right.
These huge caterpillars turn into moths which the kids got to hold and pass around. He had them in lunch box coolers to keep them cold so they wouldn't be as active.


What do you think all these kids are SOOOO eager to look at????

cockroaches from Madagascar and millipedes

None of the K-kids were brave enough to hold the cockroaches (I wouldn't do it either), but the did touch them while they were in a box.

Did I mention survivor???? Well, can you guess which K-kids ate real bugs while at the library?
K-girl holding a meal worm right before eating it. Don't worry it was cheese flavored and "crunchy too."

K-man eating a Mexican Spice flavored meal worm.

I'm sure K-baby would have ate one if I had given one to her, but I didn't. K-sis held one, but wouldn't eat it and I didn't want to do either!

After our library adventure we spent the rest of our morning making rice crispy treats at the hospice house. After we washed our hands really well with lots of soap of course! The kids love cooking at the hospice house and are already asking if we can go back today. Next time we will have to cook something more complex because we were finished with making the treats in about 20 minutes and they wanted to cook something else too.

K-baby sampling the rice crispies.

Since it was so close to lunch by the time we finished up at the hospice house, I decided to treat the kids out to McDonalds. I'm thankful that we live in such a great community where there are some many interesting activties that we can participate in as a family.
Our new friends (adopted grandparents) the Doerings showed up at McDonalds as we were finishing up and chatted with us while we finished up our ice cream. I wish I could have gotten a few pictures of K-sis and K-girl with Mr. Doering, they love him to pieces. Luckily, they only have to wait until tomorrow to see them again because we are going over to their place to enjoy lunch. We met the Doerings at our church when they were teaching K-sis's Sunday school and we are glad that K-baby will be in their class this fall. It is so much easier to leave you kiddo when you know you are leaving them with someone they really like.

What happens after you play hard all day? You fall asleep on the chair while you 3 siblings are running around and making tons of noise.

What a great day! I'm so glad that God has blessed us with 4 wonderful, unique children. I'm also grateful for a husband who loves and supports me in every way. I can already tell this next year of homeschooling is going to be a real adventure.
This blog is my way of sharing my kids with my husband (who works hard everyday) and our families who love our kids dearly, but live so far away. Thanks for your love!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Fences, horses and more garden produce

After a busy weekend the kids and I enjoyed some time relaxing at my friend Trudy's parent's house while Shawn and Steve (Trudy's husband) when fly fishing. They are horse sitting while her parents are in Papa New Guinea on a month long missions trip. Trudy is a fellow homeschooler and her boys are 7, 4 and 20 months, so we get together as often as we can to let the kids play.

The kids had a blast jumping on the trampoline, playing with bubbles, running through the sprinkler, eating dinner in an outdoor playhouse, and riding a pony!! Trudy and I got a few minutes to chat while supervising our crew of 7 kids. Boy did they all sleep good that night.

The kids running through the sprinkler.

The little kids taking a turn at jumping.

K-girl (aka cowgirl) in heaven riding the pony!

She told me, "mommy, I'm going to pay Mrs. Densmore all my money so I can take this paint pony home with me!" Lets just say it was love at first sight and she didn't want to go home (or get off the horse).


K-sis and K-baby riding double

Shawn was busy putting up our new chain link fencing to keep Abby in our yard. I'm sure it will be useful in corraling K-baby too if the kids remember to keep the gates shut. Shawn and all his helpers managed to get half of the fence totally done last weekend. Me, I went shopping in Fargo all day Sunday. This meant Shawn had 4 kids (+2 neighbor kids) and the dog to help him. I'm sure he would have gotten it completed without so much help, but was kind enough to let me have a mommy's day out.

We put 'em to work early around here.

You can always find these two working together on some project.

This weeks produce

Last weeks produce that I didn't get a chance to's all gone already.

Some yummy organic blueberries (5 pounds) and cherries that we got at Meadow Farm Foods.
The cherries were gone the first day and we have been enjoying blueberry pancakes and muffins this week. I think tonight is going to be pancakes again before I freeze most of the berries for us to enjoy this winter.

Monday, July 12, 2010

What a Day!

We had a crazy Monday!

Shawn was gone for a long day of training at work, leaving at 5:45 a.m. and returning home around 6:30 p.m. He has training for 3 more days this week, so it could get real interesting.

The kids and I started and ended our day at ball games and some how managed to squeeze in a lot of other activities too!

First off on our schedule was K-man's t-ball game where he had some good hits and even helped get an out at first base. He has a great time playing ball.

K-man on 3rd base.
After K-man's t-ball game I loaded up all the k-kids and took them for a mile hike out at the Prairie Wetlands Learning Center. We enjoyed a wonderful picnic lunch in the shade by one of their beautiful ponds. The kids love going here! Too bad I forgot my camera in the van, but here is how the kids looked when we finished our hike.
All the k-kids
All the girls took naps (even me) and then we played out back in the sandbox and on the swingset.
I have been trying to use up all our veggies in the fridge so of course every meal includes multiple veggie options. Tonight I made a chicken veggie soup and salads with what I had on hand and they tasted great.

We had yummy chicken veggie soup with veggies from our garden, Yvette and Bruce's garden and our CSA share.

I love summer salad and we got some awesome tomatoes from the down town country produce tent. I must have taken this picture before I added the tomatoes.

Then, after dinner our neighbors invited us over for watermelon on their deck! Did I ever say I love summer??
J, K-sis and K-man eating watermelon.
We ended our day watching Shawn play a double header softball game with one of the church's teams (they have 4 different ones). It wouldn't be any big deal but the games were at 8:30 and 9:30 P.M. Since Shawn was gone all day we decided to go to both games. The kids had a great time playing in the dirt, eating popcorn and cheering for daddy. I'm glad we went because Shawn had a great game. He not only hit two triples, but also got a HOME RUN!!! Their team won both games and we all got dirty.

Of course I didn't get the home run on video, but I did get one of the triples. :)

Hopefully tomorrow won't be quite so action packed, but who can say what will happen tomorrow.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Pass the Peas Please!

I think I'm tired because as I try to think back on all the things that we did this weekend and I can't even remember all that we did. I do know that most of it seemed to involve food.
We have been staying busy this summer with our garden, especially the raspberry bushes which seem to be going crazy right now. If any of the kids are hungry, I point them out the door and tell them to pick berries!
raspberry bushes - I go out and pick them everyday...sometimes 2 times a day.
Not only do we eat the veggies in our garden, but those from our weekly box from Bluebird Gardens! The kids are always asking if it's Tuesday yet because they want to go get our box. I'm glad they are as excited as me to get our veggies.
Our box from this week

kohlrabi = yum
We are trying out some new vegetables this summer that we haven't ever had before. This week we had kohlrabi and I ended up just cutting it up and adding it to our salad. If you get a chance to eat one it looks like a radish on the inside and has a slightly milder taste to it. Shawn and I thought it was great.

As if we didn't have enough veggies on hand to deal with we went to pick peas on Saturday morning. As a part of our CSA (community supported agriculture) share we get to pick 7 events to attend on the farm this year. The pea pick is one of their biggest events and you can come and pick however many peas you want and even bring friends with you too. The kids had a great time for the first 30 minutes or so and then the girls tired out (and k-baby ran out of snack). Next time we will bring our portable DVD player or drive 2 vehicles if we know we are going to be there for a few hours. We all survived though and K-man lasted the whole time and didn't want to leave when, even I was ready to be done.

K-man, K-girl and K-sis

K-girl was our official bag filler. She didn't want to pick peas after about 30 minutes, but would take our full buckets and dump the peas into our big, reusable bags.

K-sis and daddy searching for peas. We barely moved from our orginal spot they were so thick!

Shawn filling our bag with peas to haul back to our van. That red bag ended up weighing 20 pounds!

Wow, a picture of me!

Our helpers having a snack.
I wish you could see in the pictures how muddy it was. It had just rained a few inches the night before and it was very hard to walk around in. The kids shoes all had a couple of inches of heavy mud on them and I think that is why they got tired out so quickly. We had a contest to see who was the most dirty by the end and I think k-baby won, although we were all filthy from head to toe by the time we were finished.

Besides growing lots of wonderful vegetables, Bluebird Gardens also grows pigs and chickens. So after picking until our helpers were totally worn out, we had to stop by the farm house and see the animals.

We had to look at the pigs because Papa Bruce used to have some.

and the baby chicks were pretty cute


Our bags runneth over! These four bags of peas weighed over 50 pounds!

Even Abby was eating peas today! She kept sneaking over to my bag as I was shelling and would take one and run off with it. At least she wasn't eating any toys. :)

The girls helping mommy shell peas.

K-baby LOVED fresh peas!

K-baby and K-sis, not eating peas!
They did eat LOTS of peas and I finally made the rule that if they wanted to eat peas, they had to shell them first. They kept taking them from the bucket I had done and I wasn't making any process. Such a mean mommy.

K-man was my official pea sheller! This wasn't even all of them.

Hulled peas = 28 cups frozen, plus 6 cups in the fridge

All the sugar peas washed, cooked, cooled and ready to freeze.

The final sugar pea count = 20 cups frozen. I think we will be eating some yummy stir-fried veggies this winter.

All the pods. It was quite a chore to turn the compost pile tonight!

Other, none food activities this weekend....
K-girl bought a balloon creations book at Target with the money she had saved up. Luckily for me, I'm the one who ends up making all the balloon creations in the book. That does make me a popular person in the neighborhood though. Here are the girls showing of their fairy wings.

Fairy wings back view. Notice K-girl in her long sleeve jacket and K-sis in her leotard.

This was a dance in the "Fergus Falls Backyard Circus" that the kids put together on Sunday afternoon. They worked on putting together their circus acts for a couple of hours and then invited all of the parents to come watch their show. This is in our next door neighbor's yard. The kids in our neighborhood are great about playing imagination games and including all of the kids. They amaze me with all the crazy things that they come up with. You can kind of see K-sis in the background.

Video of all the kids dancing! I love our wonderful neighbors!