Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Notes from the Garden {8/16}

I haven't posted many pictures but the garden has been really really great this year.  The husband has been keeping up with it and the early summer drought actually helped us little gardeners out.  We had to water lots but the lack of rain kept all the nasty bugs away until the last few weeks so things were left alone!  August has provided a few good soaking rains which is good but also brought out our normal culprits - cucumber beetles and stinkbugs.  I'm grateful we got a great yield on a whole lot before they began their attack.  The husband promises the boys a dime per stinkbug killed and they still don't like to do it.  Those things are large and stinky.

The kale has been out of control (which is slightly funny because none of us really like kale - even the chips).  The lettuce and spinach are kinda meh.  The crazy heat wave has made them pretty impossible but we hope to have another round in the fall.  We have been bursting at the seams with pole beans and bush beans.  I've frozen a bunch, given away bags full, and we've been eating them almost every night.  Same with the zucchini, summer squash, and cucumber.  They've been crazy bountiful.  The snap peas we never seem to have success with and only had a handful.  We got a measly lone bag of shell peas in the freezer.  Tomatoes have just started the last week or so and will hopefully yield bags and bags for freezing.  We've harvested two of the three types of potatoes. They didn't give as much as we hoped but we got a bushel and a half maybe?  They are delicious! The golden potatoes are still in the ground as are the carrots.  

What else?  Corn is growing tall and looks pretty but we shall see if they actually produce an edible ear.  We've tried it a few times with either no success or some really gross ears.  We wonder if they cross pollinate with the huge commercial farm feed corn that is right behind our yard and if that messes it up.  We didn't get any broccoli (we never seem to have success with that either) and we have one brussel sprout plant left that will maybe bear something?  There's one eggplant looking to possibly be something and oh my, David is just SO excited about it.  There's some other potential blooms but I doubt they'll have time to grow before it's too cold.  We also have some beautiful sunflowers mostly just for fun that have begun blooming!  

Oh, and we have pumpkins ready!  There's a few orange pumpkins and we've finally had success with some casper pumpkins!  I'm very excited for them but nervous to put them out for decoration. The deer have been eating some of my landscaping and even my hydrangea flowers.  I get unreasonably angry about it and would be so sad to have them ruin the pumpkins we've grown.  John Paul is very much desiring to begin hunting and if it weren't illegal, I'd be tempted to let him.  The pear trees aren't having a great year.  They seem to give every other year, it seems.  We'll be lucky if we get a bushel or two.

The deer also did a number one night on the garden itself.  The next day my husband had netting all around above the fence going up eight feet.  It's worked! 

It's not as weed-free as this perfectionist would like but when you're not willing to put in the work, I can't complain now, can I?  The straw has done a decent job keeping them down where it was laid.

 Tomatoes, harvested potato rows and the remaining golden potatoes

Kale, spinach, lettuce, broccoli, brussel sprout, carrots, bush beans

 Barren snap peas and a groaning fence of two types of pole beans 

Happy sunflower

Nervous sunflower

This boy has been an absolute joy in the garden.

 Corn to hopefully give us something edible soon?

And pumpkins!  I think there are six or seven white ones hiding in there.

Our precious eggplant

David has been long awaiting it and taking care of it.  I really really hope it survives and is good!

One of many harvests

We checked on the carrots and this one was great, though I think the majority still need more time.  The boys ate this one as is.

The zucchini and squash has given way to cakes, chips, breads, "fries", zoodles (and squoodles?), lots of shredded bags frozen, and even some attempts at selling that didn't pan out as lucrative as we hoped ;)

For the last couple of years David has decided that he wants to be a priest and farmer, grow a big garden, and feed the poor from it.  He also wants to allow any of the poor to come work on it and then they can live with him and be priests, too.  IS THAT NOT THE SWEETEST THING YOU'VE EVER HEARD?  The kid is starting his own order.  We decided that this would be a good way to go with that.  We didn't sell too many but it was a good reminder where our first fruits should go.  He went with me to take a few huge bags of food to the Carmelite nuns one morning and it was just so cute how excited he was to give it away to them (and use the super fun turnstile, of course!).


It's been a good year overall in the garden.  Each year we learn more and more and know what's worth growing and what's not.  We learn little tricks and have successes and failures.  It's work but it's work worth doing.  We're reminded in our own little suburbanite way that everything we have is a gift from Him.  

"The eyes of all look to Thee and Thous givest them their food in due season.  
Thou satisfiest the desire of every living thing."
Psalm 145:15-16

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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Hail, Holy Queen of Our Home {our little Coronation tradition}

Yesterday we had our little traditional home celebrations to observe the feast of the Coronation of Mary.  Every year we have our crowning and some sort of treat to mark the special day.  The middle boys decided to each make a crown and pick one of the statues in our house as theirs.  It's super simple and they do it all on their own - little construction paper crowns with some sequins and other jewels glued around.  After dinner the crowns are placed while we sing Hail, Holy Queen.  It's little and quaint but I hope it's a memory that sticks with them that Mary, like each one of us hopefully someday, received her crown in heaven and was proclaimed queen through her position as the mother of the King.  What an honor she was given, an honor that deserves to be recognized and celebrated!  

Earlier in the day I made a batch of rice krispy treats and cut them into crown shapes for each one of them.  They had free rein of some (incredibly old) leftover frosting from the fridge and some random (Christmas?) candy from the cupboard.  While they decorated their crowns we talked about each one of us following Mary's example and the jewels we can store up on earth for our heavenly crowns.  Like most of my liturgical ideas, this one was cobbled together last minute but worked out just fine for its intention.  I love that the Coronation leaves room for a whole lot of imagination.  A crown-shaped cake, cookies, Marian themed anything.  paper crown making, Corona (what? It's liturgical.)...  There's lots of little ways to enter in and learn and celebrate in the home.  

Don't they look disg...er, I mean, delicious??

Mary, Queen of heaven and earth and our home, pray for us, your children.  Please help us love your Son and someday be with you worshipping Him forever.

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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Feelin' the Seabreeze, Squelching the Angst, and Vindicating Fun Mom Status

This past Monday we had the chance to celebrate the Assumption and summer in an extra special way!  Thanks to the folks at Seabreeze, we had an absolutely lovely day and the boys got to experience their first legit amusement park.  For years, we've gone to Olcott and while that is PERFECT for little kids, my oldest two have now outgrown most of the rides.  I was looking at the beginning of summer for something to level up a bit for their sakes.  ::Irrational mom fear alert::  I had visions of them going off to college or something  never having gone to a real amusement park and having conversations with their friends and feeling angst-ridden and rebelling against everything I've ever taught them and resenting everything about their childhood.  Irrational maybe.  But just to be on the safe side, I figured we should get to one and make sure to document it for their future angst appeasement.  Plus, when I was younger I really loved them.  

So I prepared, confronted my adult-onset crowd phobia, we went, and had a blast.  I've lived in this area for most of my life and had never heard of this place until a friend (also from around here but who now lives elsewhere and was visiting) told me about their trip with their young kids.  It's right near Rochester and only took us about an hour to get there (I mean, um, an hour and a half, officer). 

 We left right after morning Mass getting there with just enough time before the gates opened to sit by the lake and have some solemnity donuts.  In case you need the recipe, these are regular donuts that are bought at the donut shop (because you have a coupon) and they are eaten on a solemnity.  

They were all so pysched to go and had been talking about it for weeks.  Luke had already claimed it as his favorite place despite never having actually gone yet.

Color me very impressed that the older two headed straight for the big roller coaster and that was their first ride.  Apparently this is the oldest continuously operating roller coaster in the country.  (Which was super comforting because HAVE YOU SEEN THE NEWS LATELY?  Thankfully, there was nothing that made me feel like things weren't really professionally run and taken care of!)  

Little hands waving!

It was so fun watching them.  The husband and I took turns being with the Ben.

On almost every ride, they would look absolutely terrified and then would come running off shouting just how awesome!!!! it was.

The size of the park is just perfect.  And we absolutely loved the variety of rides for different ages.  It made going with an age spread like we have totally easy and doable.  There were rides just for little kids, just for older, and a whole bunch that we could all do.

How cute is this??

The park is SO CLEAN.  My memories of other amusement parks feel very...sticky.  I didn't see one bit of trash on the ground or a spill or anything.  And everything was very family friendly.

We had no idea this was happening but we walked by the stage area and there was a trampoline show going on which perfectly coincided with all the Olympics excitement that's been happening at our house lately.  They were really great.

At the beginning of the day the boys were all, "Mama, you definitely won't want to do these rides."  And I was all, "Ohhhhh.  Okaaay.  CHALLENGE ACCEPTED."

I'm dancing to the super hip music and my children aren't embarrassed at all.

Michael was the only one brave enough to go on the Spring with me.  He rocked this place and we were so impressed with how willing he was to try all the rides!

One of the best parts about this place is that you get full access to the waterpark with your ticket.  None of this separate tickets or extra charge nonsense.  After a picnic lunch (we decided to bring our own but there are plenty of delicious smelling food stands there!) we headed over to get wet.  I don't have too many pictures because water and cameras don't mix well but it was super fun.

A few high speed slides, tube slides, lazy river, several splash pads, a wave pool, a few tiny toddler size slides...it really had something for everyone which was awesome. 

This made me a bit nervous and they actually had to jump in and rescue a boy while we were there!  I was really impressed with how quickly they responded and it was clear the life guards were well trained.

(I love how John Paul is looking over to make sure he won the race ;)  

We all had a fantastic time and left exhausted, happy and already talking about when we can go back again.  I would highly recommend it to anyone in the area looking for a perfectly sized family friendly park with lots to do.  The boys have spent the last few days creating a Lego amusement park in their bedroom so it's even provided inspiration for more play!  

Thank you so much to Seabreeze for the chance to try out your place and soothe my future angst-tempted children!  We can't wait for the chance to go back!

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Sunday, August 14, 2016

A Very Real Way You Can Help Our Country

(I was waffling over whether I would post this or not.  Then the above quote was the first thing I read in my book this morning.  So there's that.)

There are so many people of good will really worried for our country right now.  For years, there have been people predicting these things and praying and trying to move people's hearts and the laws of the land toward what is good.  It's not like we as a nation have been anything near a holy nation for, well...a long time.  But it seems things are coming to a head.  People on all sides of the aisle are dangerously unhappy.  The corruption is blatant, the candidates vile, legislation immoral, and followers are being manipulated into dangerous frenzy.  I won't go on here except to say that so many good people want to DO something but we feel powerless.  We're not.  I'd humbly ask that you please take fifteen or twenty minutes to listen to this and consider truly doing something that can change everything. 

He has a follow up worth listening to here:

And a little bit here:

There is also a 54 day Novena for our Nation being organized.  You can find more information here.  

Do one.  Do both.  Do something.  We have power, guys.  We have a God Who can do anything and who has promised to listen to our prayers and fasting.  We're not praying for a specific candidate to win.  We're not praying for the demise of the other side.  We're praying for His mercy on us and for His will.  It may not feel like much but at the end when I'm called to an accounting for my role here, I'd at least like to say that I didn't just throw up my hands.  I'd like to say that I fought.  And whether we can see the effects immediately or not, this is the best weapon we have.  Please give it a listen and consider sharing.

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