Saturday, July 17, 2010

Mystery Vegetable

We got a mystery vegetable in our box from the CSA today.  Just for fun, to see if people could guess.  They did it last year too and said they had some pretty interesting guesses.  As soon as I cut into it I knew almost certainly what it was, though not the name of the variety.  Then I cheated and googled it.  Do you know what it is?

Friday, July 16, 2010

What's that flying around my butterfly bushes?

Ever seen one (or more) of these creatures?

I hadn't until a few years ago.  We've had the butterfly bushes for 7 years (a gift for our first anniversary), but didn't start seeing these creatures until the bushes were a few years old.  When I first saw them, I thought they looked like flying lobsters.  I think it was my mom who informed me that they are Hummingbird Moths.  And I believe these would be the "clear wing" variety.  As you might guess from their nickname, most people think they're baby hummingbirds at first.  I don't have much of a zoom lens (55mm) so it was hard to get good detail on them, since they'd fly to another flower when I tried to get close enough for a macro shot. But I think you get the idea. I love to watch them flit around from flower to flower.  Not sure where they came from or how they found our bushes, but I'm glad they did.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Sunshine Award

I was so surprised and touched to see that I had received The Sunshine Award from Maureen at Wisconsin Mommy. Maureen is my cousin and we are only a few months apart in age.  We spent many holidays together, and I often wonder what it felt like for my family of seven to invade the home of her family of three!  Fast forward a "few" years to present day - Maureen moved out to Wisconsin when she married her husband, so we haven't seen each other in TOO MANY years.  But thanks to technology, we've been able to keep in touch and see what's going on in each other's lives.  Hopefully we'll have occasion to get together soon - I know that our boys would get along great!  Maureen is Mom to adorable "Little J", former teacher, current part-time stay at home mom/part-time instructional coach, with a lot of great tips on parenting and ways to save some money. Head on over and she might have a give-away that's right up your alley!

The Sunshine Award comes with a few rules:

1. Put the award on your blog and/or within your post.
2. Pass the award on to twelve (12) bloggers.
3. Link to the nominees within your post.
4. Let them know they received this award by commenting on their blog.
5. Share the love and the link to the person from whom you received the award.

So here goes the passing of the sunshine...

  1. Jessica from The Entertaining House and The Entertaining Kitchen.  Jessica is a mom of three, a fabulous writer, great cook, fashionista, and photographer.  She has loads of great stories about her childhood, and some DELICIOUS recipes.  All told with her witty sense of humor.
  2. Marie from Everyday Matters.  Marie is also a mom of three and runs a day care in her home.  She has many creative ideas of things to do with kids.  And the love for her children is glaringly obvious in her posts! And like me she joined a CSA for the first time this year, and gets excited every week to see what she gets.
  3. JoAnna from No Expectations.  Mom of 4 under 5, military wife, Doula, someone who will travel the ends of the earth for a friend in need.  She doesn't make it all sound easy, but she gets it done and done well.  Someone I wish I could get know in real life.  
  4. Jenn from Crossing the Prairie.  Mom of three - two adopted from Ethiopia - and military wife.  She has a love of family and love of cooking that inspires me.  She's a fellow gardener, though I'm pretty sure her garden trumps mine!  And she makes her own cheese - need I say more?
  5. Tamra from Today's Modern Mother.  Tamra recently gave birth to her seventh child!  She's a homeschooling, cloth diapering, breastfeeding Mama. She's also a talented photographer. 
  6. Girlsmom (don't think she has her name on her blog) from Growing With the Girls  Mom to two adorable little girls, massage therapist, and brave northern soul who lives where it was still snowing in June! 

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Boys of Summer

The boys are spending a lot of time in our stream this summer.  Actually, I think it might be a brook.  I finally looked up the definitions on, and brook seems to be a smaller flow of water.  Frankly I'm surprised it took so long for it to be discovered - though not so surprised that LW was the first to check it out.  I'm thankful that I bought them both sandals that are made to get wet, and that I've broken LW's addiction to socks (at least while he's wearing sandals).   Some days, they each soak/dirty a couple of outfits in the stream.  But that's OK - it keeps them occupied, and I get to do a little work in the garden while still able to keep an eye on them.  We're guessing that LW will be the first to bring us some creature that he captured in the stream, such as a frog.

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Day out With Thomas

As I mentioned in my previous post, we took the boys for a ride on Thomas The Train yesterday.  We started on the road around 10am.  Our tickets were for the 3:15 trip, but it's about a 2.5 hour drive, and we wanted to take our time.  We took the scenic route through the mountains, which is always worth the extra time.  Both boys got a little sleep on the way, and we made one pit stop at a ranger station.  At one point, LW started repeating "Thomas? Where are you?" over and over.  Really cute, if you can imagine his two year old voice.  Lunch was interesting - LW ate like it was his last meal, JT had about two bites.  Maybe he was just too excited and nervous.  When we got to the station, it was obvious parking was going to be a difficult task.  But we finally discovered a poorly signed lot, that landed us right behind the station!  Thomas was there when we arrived, but soon left on a trip, which led JT to have a pretty good meltdown.  It seemed like no matter what we said, he was convinced that we had missed our turn to ride!  Eventually he did calm down, and we made our potty stops, picked up our tickets, and checked out some of the activities.  Then Thomas came back.  JT and LW were beyond excited.  Can you tell?
Once they calmed down a bit, we meandered our way over to Thomas and boarded.  LW went right up the stairs and chose the first seat he came to.  Have I mentioned how excited they were?  We had about 10 minutes until the train left, so there was a lot of "sit down" and "keep your hands and head inside" being said.  But eventually it was time.  Thomas' whistle sounded, and the old train started moving (and squeaking and creaking).  Unfortunately, the seats LW chose were not on the scenic side - we had a lovely view of several backyards, trailer parks, parking lots and dumpsters.  But the train was not overly crowded so it was easy enough to look out the window on the other side and see the beautiful mountains (and ominous dark clouds).  But I don't think the boys cared what they saw, as they seemed enthralled by all of it.
It's only about a 25 minute ride, and it goes by quickly when you're wrapped up in your children's excitement.  As we pulled back into the station, those dark clouds opened up and it started to rain.  It wasn't too bad, so we had time to dash over to the "Imagination Station" tent without getting drenched.  This tent was full of hands on activities for the kids, a train table, a lego table, arts and crafts, face painting and temporary tattoos. They boys occupied themselves for quite some time.  The train table was the HOT spot...a line of little boys and girls, all with their hand on a train, going around the table.  There were also a couple of bouncy houses, and JT had fun on one of those.  I saw something about a huge old tortoise roaming around, but we didn't see him.

Eventually it was time to go.  The activities were coming to an end, and the thunder was rumbling.  JT asked if he could say good night to Thomas, so we headed back to see him.  There was a bench for picture taking, and they both were happy to do so.  Even though they had official photographers, they also allowed you to take your own pictures (thankfully...the cheapest package was $16 for two 5x7's!).
You can see how happy our two little boys still were!  JT keeps asking when we'll go back.  We decided to start heading home before stopping for dinner.  On the ride home , when LW wasn't nodding off, he'd all of sudden start asking about Thomas, much to the chagrin of his older brother.  We had a bit of a difficult time finding an appropriate spot for dinner - there weren't many to choose from off the highway that were appropriate (i.e. we were hot and sweaty and had two tired kids so no five star restaurants for us), plus we hadn't figure out the points of interest feature on our GPS yet, so we ended up not stopping until we were about a half hour from home!  However, we now know to choose "on route" instead of "near current location" when searching for a place to eat.  And we also need to turn the volume up so we'll hear when it tells us the exit is coming up.  Live and learn!

We didn't get home until just past nine (we had issues at dinnertime despite a certain 4 year olds promises that he would eat a good supper - that he chose), so the boys didn't get to bed until about 10PM - WAYYYY past their bed time.  Silly me had hopes that this would be the time they actually slept a little later in the morning to make up for the late bedtime.  Instead, they were up bright and early as usual. So back to the grind it was for us today.  But we had a really good day, and I'm so glad I chose to spend my birthday the way we did.  I'd do it again in a heart beat!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Happy Birthday...

...TO ME!  Well, tomorrow it will be my birthday.  As for my age, I can still say I am in my 30's!!! I'm guessing the picture above was taken when I was about 3..or 2?  I don't really know.  My mom might know, but it's a little late to call.  In any case, I was young once, but not anymore.  We're taking the boys for a ride on Thomas the Train.  It was supposed to be a surprise, but I let it slip last night, and now JT is saying he's "shy" and "not sure" about it.  But he's definitely excited.  LW has no clue what I'm talking about, but I can already hear him repeating "TRAIN!!!" over and over and over when we get there.  He's a bit of a train nut.  It should be fun.  It's up in a beautiful area we haven't visited in quite some time, so the 2+ hour ride to get there should pass quickly enough. As long as we don't get too much rain. After all this dry weather we've had lately, it finally rained today and we may get some more tomorrow.  I purposely chose my birthday out of the two available weekends, because I wanted to do SOMETHING on my birthday, even if it's more about the boys than me.  Their happiness makes me happy.

I thought for sure I'd get another post in this week, but here it is a week since my last post.  We've  had a fun summer week, despite the heat.  We went to the splash park again this past Tuesday - the hottest day so far at 98 degrees.  Luckily it always seem to be windy there, so it wasn't too unbearable.  Except that I had to keep chasing after LW as he either took food from strangers, or decided it was his turn to use their toys.  Most of the parents are pretty nice, and said it wasn't a problem, they had plenty.  But that's not exactly the point.  And it's not like I didn't come prepared with food of our own.  I guess it always looks and tastes better when it's somebody else's, even if it's just a cracker.  We also had a play date over at a friend's house.  They have one of those small blow up pools with a filter, so they spent a lot of time in there.  Unfortunately I forgot the swim diapers.  Ever seen a water-logged disposable diaper before?  It's quite a sight, especially when a child is attempting to walk around in it!  I also discovered this week that I like Swiss Chard - sauteed in olive oil, garlic and lemon.  My next "new" food, courtesy of the CSA, will be Okra.  I've gotten a few ideas on how to cook it from some friends. My only memories of eating Okra are from the Cajun stew my mom would make.  We pronounced it "Ka-John", and it was really gumbo.  Silly New Englanders!

So what's next on my list?  Seeing as my next birthday will be a "big one", I'm setting some goals for myself.  I'm not quite daring enough to put them out there for everyone to see.  Hopefully that won't be my downfall, but if history proves correct, the "pressure" of other people knowing will actually make me LESS likely to accomplish them.  I spend my time stressing over what others will think, as opposed to actually doing something.  So for now, I'm keeping them to myself, and I'll see where I am in a year.  And maybe then I'll be ready to share them with my readers.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

CSA Saturdays - Summertime!

No, I have NOT forgotten I recently started this blog!  What I need to do is start writing my ideas down, because usually by the time I have a moment to write a post, I can't think of anything.  Which is just crazy when you consider the fact that I have two little boys that are constantly making me rip my hair out by the roots laugh! I'll try to be better - honest!

We're really starting to get some variety in our box of veggies from the CSA now.  Last week we got a handful of peas and green beans, in addition to our lettuce, kale, and rhubarb.  Neither lasted long - we ate the peas raw and in the pod - so crisp and sweet!  The beans were just enough for one meal for us. This week though I got really excited (YES I get excited about vegetables these days!) when Danny from the farm went through the box with me - A few heads of lettuce, kale, beats, swiss chard, zucchini, yellow squash, basil, and parsley! I was a little relieved to see that there wasn't any rhubarb in there.  I like rhubarb, but hubby doesn't. The boys eat it when it's disguised in something like the rhubarb bread I recently made.  That was delicious, but it is full of brown sugar to offset the tartness of the rhubarb.  Swiss chard is another new one for me, like the kale was.  But seeing as Crispy Kale (minus the chili flakes) is now on my list of favorite munchies, I'm sure I'll be just as pleased with Swiss Chard. The basil is nice to see - I am growing some, but I nearly let it fry in the dry, hot sun this week, plus some sort of bug seems to be quite enamored with it since many of the leaves look like green lace.  Of course there are about a million things we can do with the squash.    There will surely be some good eats in our house this week!

We're trying to keep busy and enjoy the summer.  The boys and some friends had a blast this week at the splash pad in a park in a nearby town.  I finally got them this water table and they LOVE it!  Though LW seems to think it is a mini swimming pool, and has taken to standing, sitting and yes laying down on it.  While shouting "swimming".  Sigh..that boy!!  We've gone on some walks to explore the river that flows by the end of our street.  And JT was thrilled when Daddy took him to the beach and they saw where that river empties into the Atlantic Ocean.  Next weekend we're going to go take a ride on Thomas the Train.  LW is loves trains, so he'll be over the moon I'm sure.  I got my hair chopped off today - I need to have JC take a picture so I can update my profile.  We went to dinner tonight, and the boys got to meet and touch Larry the Lobster.  Luckily JC and I don't care for lobster, so we did not have to deal with any trauma had it been served moments later.  Someone at a neighboring table did get some, so we had to answer a few questions about why he was eating Larry's friend.  When we're not out and about, the boys like to play outside in the yard, and explore the little stream (or is it a brook?  I don't know the difference!) that flows along our property.  So I've been doing lots of laundry!  LW went through three outfits today (thanks in part to "swimming" in the water table).  We're not having the rain we had last summer, so there's plenty of outside time to be had.  There's also lots of garden watering to be done!

JT has requested that we all walk down to the river tomorrow, so he can show my some paths he discovered with Daddy.  Should be a nice way to spend Independence Day.  Except that it's supposed to get into the 90's, and I'm not a fan of heat.  But we'll still enjoy it I'm sure.  Happy Birthday America!!