Saturday, July 28, 2012

Olympic Celebrations and Study

We've been celebrating the Olympics this week in our home!

Our first project was talking about the origin and meaning of the rings and painting our own.

(Michael's abstract version)

We made our own torches and (independent of me) the boys held torch relays in the yard.

Later that day, John Paul and I made a chart where we will track the medals won by ten different countries.  He drew those flags!  I had the big map out so we could locate each country and he could copy the flag onto our chart.  Chart idea found here.  You can find out medal results here.

The next day we made some salt dough medals and after baking, we painted them in the appropriate colors.

There may also be some 'laurel' wreaths put together later this week and we'll be reading from some of our history books that talk about Ancient Greece and the origins of the Olympic games. 

And today we had our own belated opening ceremony party.  Because I inadvertently scheduled a meeting last night, we got all 1994 and taped the ceremony on our very much used VHS tape pulled out for such special occasions.  Oh yes.  I'm pretty sure this same tape has also been used for old Commish and X-files episodes.  It worked out better anyway since letting them stay up wouldn't have made anyone happy today.  Turns out after watching some of it when I got home that the middle part was just too weird and lame to show the boys anyway.  I wish they would cut out a whole lot of the pseudo-art weird stuff and let the torch lighting and parade of nations take the prominent role, but that's just me :)

Our lunch party even had some Olympic flair:  

Like our 'torches'?  We're pretty fancy here ;)

We watched the first and last parts of the opening ceremony.  I cried, of course.  During the parade of nations we tried to find the newly introduced country on our map as quickly as we could.  

We don't have cable so it'll be a challenge to find the different events.  And we'll be learning the events as well.  Do you know there's trampoline??  Like as a real event?  For real.  But even just watching a few of the popular events on the normal network station will be enough to capture some memories, inspire greatness, and cheer on our awesome country.

As the boys like to say:  Go America!

Putting together our Olympic rings fruit tray

In awe of the torches

Friday, July 27, 2012

{pretty, happy, funny, real} - the ultra late edition

Well, I certainly am late today, aren't I?

Last night's harvest


Last Sunday we made our annual trip to Olcott Carousel Park.  It is such a great place for little ones and I think we may even have a year or so left before it begins to lose it's thrill for our clan (love me some innocent kiddos!).  Can you beat 25 cent rides?  Nope.  Lots of happy here...

Sometimes coming from a short family has its benefits.

The Luke-babe gets his first carousel ride.  He enjoyed trying to suck on the metal pole.

John Paul finally got to play skeeball this year.  You have to be all big and eight years old, you know.

And he was quite proud to purchase his own tickets :)


Yes, little boys will try to make their own parachutes and put them to the test...


I came into the living room this morning to see this:

No, child.  You may not be allowed to do that just yet.  
For some reason my babes don't really crawl (except for a hilariously sweet army crawl/drag) and he still can't completely sit up on his own.  But pulling to standing and creeping along the furniture at seven and half months?  Of course!  

Linking up with the ladies at Like Mother, Like Daughter...

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Homemade Fudgsicles

Who knew it could be THIS easy?

Homemade Fudgsicles 

4 bananas
1 cup milk
2 tbsp. cocoa powder or carob powder
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Blend it all up and pour into popsicle molds . (Or be super ingenious if you don't have molds and use cups and wood popsicle sticks.  Or just freeze it in a bowl and lick it out like a puppy.  I won't judge.)  Freeze and love.  Made about eight with our molds.  Cut it in half if you only need a few.  (Don't do that.  You'll be sad that there are only four.)

I adapted this recipe from the recipe here.   I used our raw milk and for half of them I used the carob powder because even the tiniest smidgen of chocolate the Luke-baby can sense in my milk (I KNOW.  Seriously, just throw a hairshirt on me and call it a day, right?)  

I love that you can freeze anything, add -sicle to the end and it's an automatic treat.  The original recipe suggested adding peanut butter!  What about raspberries??  Or chopped almonds??  Or peppermint extract???  Oh my.  Endless options.

So these are good.  Really good.  Even with the carob powder (though cocoa is definitely better).  You should make them.

Molds were found at Wegman's.  $2.99 for a set that made four...I got two.

Clickety on over to visit Sarah and others bringing life to internet ideas!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Saturday Garden Journal 2

Time for a garden update!  Just hold on to your hats, people.

The pole beans

A gallon or so harvested...many more to come.

Ginny inspired me with her homemade make-do trellises.  I knew we needed something and we've had these wagon wheels left here by the previous owners.  Not really my taste to use for decorating...too kitschy or something.  But trellises, maybe?  Am I trying too hard?

Our cucumbers are growing very slowly despite all the watering.

Watermelon!!  A few more growing.  We've never had success with them before.  Here's hoping.

The not really ever-bearing strawberries.  Nothing.

The zucchini have been abundant.  I think they're tuckered out now.  They, the summer squash, and the gourds seem to have gotten some sort of wilt.

Yellow squash, gourds, and tomatoes in the foreground.  Have I ever told you how much I like gourds.  I do.

First success with broccoli ever.  We shared it.

Cherry tomato jungle

Hope to be swimming in cherry tomatoes soon.  Swimming.  

Every year I plant basil.  Every year I realize no one in our family likes basil.  Every year I say I should try and make pesto.  Every year I tell myself it won't be worth it.  Do I dare make a change?  I mean, it makes so much sense right now... you think our romaine has bolted?  It looks sort of neat, though...  Hey, maybe this will reseed itself?  (Do I know much about lettuce?  No.)

We have corn!  Just a bit, but how fun would it be if this actually works?

Sad story of my sunflowers.  The deer had a party the other night.  :#  (That's my angry face.)

So far, we've had the most success ever with our garden!  We're learning.  Our grocery bill has even decreased a bit and with what we hope to be able to put away there should be savings throughout the winter as well!  Score win woot yes.  Oh, and we have pumpkins I didn't take pictures of!  Way in the back yard where I dare not venture.  But they're growing!  (Note to self  (haha, just kidding!) husband:  protect those preciouses from deer.  Otherwise I will have to make my angry face again.)

Friday, July 20, 2012

Seven Quick Takes

Zucchinis everywhere.  Fritters, cakes, bread, parmesan, in the burgers, sautéed, frozen....

A skunk (SKUNK) took one of our pullets the other night.  So so sad.  It's the first predator casualty we've had since having chickens.  I feel awful.  We've outsmarted the hawks that are always eyeing them up.  And the foxes and coyotes in the area have never tried (that we know of) since our pen and coop are pretty secure.  But a skunk took advantage of some of the digging that the pullets had done right near the fence.  Brian saw him last night trying to get back in.  Any unique solutions to thwarting skunks?  (Besides a bb gun?  Not that that is out of the question...) 

You know what's cool?  That Kickstarter site!  It's an amazingly innovative idea for new projects to get the capital they need to begin.  If you like the premise of the project, you become a backer and give some money BUT it's not just a donation.  You actually get something for it, depending on what the project is!  So your money not only is helping this new project but giving you something back as well.  It's being done for music, art, and lots of farming.  AND they don't take the money out of your account until the project creators have the minimum amount to actually do the project.  It's such a great idea.  A friend told me about this one, the East Hill Honey Project, so not only can I give money to help a great family begin to provide healthy raw honey to their area, I actually GET some of the honey when it's ready.  Win-win.  Go check it out.

Cake made for my cousin's baby shower.  All natural and no synthetic dyes.  I should do a post on that soon...

Forecast today 74 with a good chance of rain.  Thank you, Lord!  We're supposed to going creeking but rain is a very very good thing.

Found this lovely little creature the other day.  It's a May Beetle (says John Paul).  A very very large May Beetle.

Oh, closer?  Sure!
I've had fleeting thoughts of moving to Texas some day.  Thanks to Jennifer, nevermore, nevermore.

Clickety click to see the other Quick Takes:

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