Sunday, October 27, 2013

Halloween Dance Recital

The girls had their first dance recital for the year! For this recital they got to wear their Halloween costumes and they were so excited. Usually we don't spend any money on costumes, but the three girls all wanted to be triplet ballerinas this year so we made a quick trip to Walmart for tulle, elastic and sequence. I think the skirts turned out really cute and we had the leotards and tights on hand.
 

The girls with our neighbor's daughter Katie!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Final Harvest Event

I'm always surprised by how quickly we come to the end of the CSA gardening season and slightly relieved that I won't be spending quite some much time preserving food. We received our last CSA box on Tuesday and participated in the final fall harvest pick this morning. The kids were really helpful and I love that they like to eat the veggies as we pick them! It's so exciting to go out to the farm and get a little bit of each vegetable or fruit because our small backyard garden doesn't have the room for this much variety.
 
It was a busy, cold morning and the kids and I headed out to the farm right after breakfast. We had three CSA tickets left to use and we chose to use them for 10 cabbage, 12 pick-a-pie pumpkins, 5 gallons of potatoes and 6 spaghetti squash. We also picked up lots of items that didn't require any tickets. We picked lots of kale, cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts, lettuce, spinach, watermelon, cantaloupe, bok choy, Chinese cabbage, snap peas, radishes and kohlrabi.
 
Now for the fun part of putting it all up. I know what I'll be doing this weekend. I can already smell the pumpkins cooking in the oven.
 

mmmm....raw brussel sprouts

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Dilled Carrots

mmm...dilled carrots.
This may be a new favorite in our family at least for Kolsen, Kaylee and I.
We held off a week before we opened the first jar and we've already polished it off!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Meeting Halfway

Last weekend we met my parents and brother's family halfway to let the cousins play. We had a blast staying at a hotel with an indoor pool and also made it to a park and local pumpkin patch. I'm looking forward to doing this again sometime soon.

 The beautiful river.

 I wonder where she got these?


 Our hotel was next to an indoor archery range and for $10/person you could shoot arrows for as long as you could handle it! Kassidy wasn't big enough to pull the bow back, but everyone else had a blast shooting for over an hour.

 All the cousins at the pumpkin patch.





Throwing rocks in the lake.
 
The whole clan.

Final Cross Country Race 2013

Kolsen enjoyed running with the Fergus cross country team this year and next year Kolsen and Karolyn will be able to do it together! I'm already looking forward to next year.
 
 Kaylee and Karolyn waiting for the start of the race. They had a beautiful, fall day with no wind!

 The Fergus 4-6th grade team listening to their coach. Kolsen is in the middle.

 All lined up and ready to start! There were quite a few schools with teams.

 Kolsen racing by! He finished about 15th place overall with a time of 7:04 on a very hilly course.

Team picture.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Starting on the Deck

While on furlough for his job with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Shawn decided to start working on our much needed deck. We've talked about it since we moved in 4 1/2 years ago and finally decided what we wanted. Shawn went to Home Depot and purchased cement and some posts, then went to the rental store for an auger and cement mixer. The next day, the government decided to start back up. OF COURSE! We are slowly making progress.
 
 Shawn got the eight holes dug with help from Kolsen and me.

 They had to be 5 feet deep to be below the frost line.
 
All of the kids were out helping at one time or another during the day.
The amount of muddy shoes we ended up with at our house was crazy.
 
 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

It's Still Hunting Season

Every once in a while Shawn will take more than one of the kids hunting with him. He usually waits until the weather is not so bad and takes lots of snacks to prevent boredom for the youngest hunter. :)  Karolyn loves to use her bb gun to shoot at her dad's decoys and Kolsen managed to shoot a blue wing teal.
 




Tuesday, October 8, 2013

CSA Box

Another Box week with two more to come.
 
 
Our shady backyard doesn't work very good for gardening. We have a small plot in the only sunny area of the yard, and we try to plant as much as we can. Our garden ends up being more of a snack garden for the kids to eat from while they are out playing. Most of the produce that I can and freeze, we get because of our membership in a local CSA (community supported agriculture). We've been members for the past four years. Each week, for 20 weeks we get a box full of produce to eat. I love the variety we get and it has also forced us to try some vegetables that we wouldn't normally plant in our small garden or buy at the store.
 
This week we got a pick-a-pie pumpkin, corn, spaghetti squash, summer squash, watermelon, lettuce, cauliflower, cucumber, beets and a few radishes. We've been pretty successful this summer at eating up our box each week, but I have had to throw away a few things that spent too much time at the bottom of our veggie drawer.  This summer harvest season has flown by and I can't believe we only have two more boxes to come. The best thing about the boxes coming to an end is that it signals fall harvest day where we will be able to load up on potatoes, squash, melons and any vegetable left on the farm.


Monday, October 7, 2013

Tomatoes: 2013 Addition

 The last of our garden produce. I'm a little sad to see the end of the gardening season approaching after our cold/wet spring.
 
 
We finally got an email on Friday from Bluebird Gardens that they had more tomatoes available for picking! I was so disappointed earlier in the summer when they only had tomatoes available for a day or two when I couldn't get them. We use lots of tomato based meals over the winter months so Kolsen and Kaylee headed out to the farm on Friday morning to pick four, five gallon buckets full of tomatoes. They also had all sorts of peppers that we didn't need a CSA ticket for, so we grabbed some of those while we were there. 








 My helpers work for free and are usually willing to slice and dice, but they aren't very neat.

 mmm...salsa for breakfast???




A double batch of our delicious salsa takes 20 cups of tomatoes, 10 cups of onion, 10 cups of green pepper, and 2 cups of banana/hot peppers. We did 3 double batches which meant a lot of chopping.





 My new, huge canning pot! It can hold 14 pint jars at the same time. I just have to figure out how to keep everything hot before it goes in. Notice the floating veggies? I only broke two jars so far this year and was so sad that one of them was salsa. It takes quite a while to heat up water for this pot so I just finished canning them and then wiped up the jars when they cooled down.

The final mess. I'm pretty sure I had every large bowl, pot and ice cream bucket in our entire house dirty by the end of the weekend. Even though my feet were aching by the end of the day, I did manage to get the kitchen all cleaned up before bed. I'm sure I'll be thankful in the morning, but I don't want to see a tomato for a long time.
 
 
I ended up with lots of frozen and canned goods!
24 C. roasted tomatoes
36 pints of salsa
5 pints of tomato sauce
1 quart roasted tomatoes
7 quarts diced tomatoes
7 quarts of onion/green pepper spaghetti sauce
14 pints of pickled banana peppers
 
My jars are finally starting to fill up and I'm looking forward to cooking with yummy produce all winter long. I love cooking up good food for my family and I love knowing where my food comes from. The organic salsa at our local store cost $2.50/jar when I can get it on sale, so making my own organic salsa just saved us $90. I had also checked out a different source for local, organic tomatoes and they wanted $1.30/lb for tomatoes. I can only imagine how expensive 20 gallons of tomatoes would have been if I had bought them. I love my CSA farm!

I'll have to get some pictures of all my jars sometime. Shawn was hauling the jars downstairs for me when they cooled down because I had stuff all over our kitchen. What I wouldn't give for a big farm kitchen on canning days. I need more than the 10 feet of counter that I have in my current kitchen.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Duck Season 2013


 
Duck season is upon us once again. Shawn has been busy spending all his free mornings hunting.  He claims he has to get meat for his family. I'm just glad he enjoys this hobby. He spent opening weekend in Wisconsin hunting with an old co-worker and boss. I know he keeps accurate records of all his hunts and takes pictures, but he uses one of our old cameras and I've been too lazy to upload all the pictures to the blog. So just know it's hunting season and Shawn is having lots of fun.

Shawn went hunting this morning and when he got back Kaylee went out to talk with him.
Shawn: Kaylee, I got some ducks!
Kaylee: How many?
Shawn: I got 5.
Kaylee: That's NOT your limit.
Shawn: (shock and laughing)

Yep, my girls know a man's duck limit is 6 a day.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

All Dressed Up

 My girls all dressed up and ready for church.
 
 
As the mother of three girls I spend a fair amount of time each morning taking care of hair.
 
Karolyn is able to do hers all by herself most days and doesn't usually want anything done with her hair. I'm not sure where she got her thick, wavy hair, but it must be from one of her Nanas. I love her hair and wish she would let me do it more.
 
Kaylee has the same exact stick straight, hair that I have. If you even look at her she will get nasty tangles in her hair, not to mention what happens if she goes outside on a windy day without a braid. I use a lot of tangle spray on this girl! She loves to have her hair done and the more hair clips and bows the better. She's wanting to get it cut after it reaches her bottom, but I'm hoping she doesn't want it too short. So far she's only had two hair cuts and each time we've cut around six inches off so I know her hair will grow fairly fast if she chooses a short cut.
 
Kassidy's hair was jet black when she was born and we were excited that one of the kids finally had Shawn's hair color. It slowly turned lighter, but I think it is still closer to Shawn's dark hair than the light brown color the rest of us have. We were totally surprised when her hair started to show curls as it grew! She has the cutest little Shirley Temple curls you can see if she doesn't have her hair in a ponytail, which isn't very often. She loves to have her hair done just like her sister Kaylee. I finally gave in and cut a few inches off her hair this past week to straighten it up. The ends were pretty thin and the lengths had a lot of variation. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. It seems like her hair grows pretty slowly which reminds me of Karolyn who was pretty much bald for the first couple years. Of course she wants long hair just like her sisters.


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Co-pilot Kassidy

Shawn's parent flew in for a few days on their way home from Michigan. We love it when our family comes up to visit. It was crazy to watch them on FlightAware (a website to where you can watch airplane flights) and realize that they flew in a straight line from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan straight west to get to us. We live up north!
 
The kids got to show off all their extracurricular activities, school and we even celebrated Nana's birthday. It's hard to squeeze in all our activities into the short amount of time we had to play.
 
We don't get back to Kansas to visit our families as often as we'd like to so you can imagine Kassidy's excitement when the stars aligned and she got to have her first airplane flight home in Papa's plane. She's planning on spending the next week visiting with both sets of grandparents and some of her cousins too. We miss her already and are counting down the days until next Friday when we will pick her up when we meet up with my parents and brother's family for a fun four day weekend in Yankton, SD.
 






Co-pilot ready for takeoff!