Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Amy, the Reluctant Canner

Last week, my Dad called to tell me that the corn he had planted for us at his house was ready to harvest. I have to tell ya, I haven't done much gardening in my life. My parents grow beautiful, lush produce, but I usually don't come in contact with it until it's sitting on the table. It's OK--go ahead and laugh!

Let's just say, this is an area I need to grow in, and this summer is providing plenty of opportunity for learning. A girl's gotta start somewhere, right? So...I'm a bit proud of the 9 quarts of green beans, 300 ears of corn, and 4 quarts of cut-off corn stocked up in my freezer and pantry. OK, OK,...John canned the beans, and Mom bagged 90% of the corn. But I DID cut-off and bag most of the second batch of corn. AND shucked the 300 ears (with the help of Dad and a friend). AND snapped the beans.


(Above--my cutie-pie shucking, bean-snapping helpers)

I think my main obstacle in this area is that I am not able to let go of my other household duties. I think the laundry must be done, the house must be clean, and the kitchen spotless before I begin such a task. And with 4 kiddos (including a 5 month old), this is pretty much impossible. The produce would probably sit and spoil before all the above actually happens! Breathe in, breathe out. Where is Mr. Miyagi when you need him?

So, dear canning, gardening ladies (Laurie @ South GA Mama and Rebecca @ Renaissance), please keep posting about your abundant gardens and your industrious canning. I desperately need the motivation and inspiration your work provides! You're my Super Gardening Supreme Canning Mama Heros!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Grace's "Cake Boss" 7th Birthday Party!

  Look at this girl! I can't believe she is 7 years old already (sniff). The clock seems to spin ever-faster with each passing year. Ok, enough with the sappiness! This smart, fun-loving, 7 year old gal happens to love browsing my Pinterest boards. So when she saw a pin of a "Cake Boss" themed birthday party, she GASPED (like only a 7 year girl can), covered her mouth with her hands, and squealed, "Please, please PLEASE can I have a party like that this year?" What's a Mom to say??

Lessons learned:
  1. Must be stronger against the whiles of 7 year old sweet girls.
  2. Must limit said 7 year old's access to Pinterest. Could be dangerous.
As you can see, she got what she asked for!

First, we served the little girls with little-girl favorites foods--chicken strips, chips, grapes, and fruit dip with grape punch (it was soo good, and cheap too--two cartons of Minute Maid Grape flavored fruit drink from Wal-Mart--at $1 each!), frozen overnight and set out to slush. Slurp!!

Next, we cleaned the food off the table for the second phase of the party--hat decorating. My talented, sweet Mama made these cute bakers' hats for the girls. We used multi-colored cupcake liners to make flowers with which we decorated their hats.

Then, the girls were itching to get down to business and decorate their cakes. I had pre-frosted a one-layer round cake for each girl to decorate and supplied bright, fun colored bags of icing ready to pipe. They also had sprinkles and pretty candy shapes to add to their creation.

(My niece, Erin, decorating her cake)

Gracie's friend Bree concentrating hard to get it just right!

They took it very seriously (note the concentration on her face).

My Mom made the aprons, as well, and a good friend of ours appliqued them for us. These were the girls' party favors.

The party was hit, and the girls had a blast! It was so much fun watching them enjoy themselves. Now...what will she ask for next year?!?


Here we are, mid-June already! It's nice to forgo the normal daily rigors of school for a little while, and concentrate on other things, maybe less important, but much more enjoyable. Such as new baby nieces (one born last week, Eva Annelise Cooper), summer camps, slip 'n' slides, garden harvests and ice cream :).


This will also be the Summer of The Great House Hunt for our family (kinda sounds like a Nancy Drew novel, doesn't it?). The hunt is on, and we have already spent a couple of warm evenings walking through non-air-conditioned houses and their grounds. Exciting, yes? Hope to have a new house to show off by the first of the school year.

We celebrated our first summer birthday this weekend, when Gracie-girl turns 7! Emma will turn 5 in August. I will officially have 3 kiddos in school all at once this year--yikes!

 Sadly, our sweet dog Chinook had to be put down this summer, after he ate something poisonous and became really sick. The children, and especially Elijah, took it really hard, which has put somewhat of a damper on their summer. Consequently, we are now in search of a new family dog.

  Otherwise, we plan to lay low and keep cool however we can. Low-key is the way to be! How are you spending your summer?