Category Archives: Life

Our Busy Summer Continues

Seeing as August is somehow half over already (eek!), I think it’s time for another re-cap.  Only 2 weeks to go until school starts.  I can’t believe it.  Here’s what we’ve been up to since I left off on August 1st.

  • The first week of August was CRAZY busy for me.  I somehow didn’t realize how much I had planned all in one week.  First, I had a deadline to get the GBAMOM newsletter done, which ended up being a day late.  I had an extra dog staying with us for two days.  Thursday was our usual park playdate.  Then I helped give a couponing presentation at the GBAMOM meeting on Thursday night, which went pretty well.  Spent much of the week’s “free” time shopping and prepping for Sunday’s GBAMOM Summer Family Picnic, which included a trip to the park on Friday w/ the kids, taking pictures of things around the park for a digital photo scavenger hunt.  Lots going on, but in the end it was all worth it.
  • Saturday, August 7 – Packers Family Night.  Our first ever.  We skipped the early activities and chose to head over to Lambeau after dinner.  That worked out well for me as I spent much of the day Saturday preparing food and treat bags for Sunday.  Took us a while to find a place to park and it was a good trek, but at least it was free street parking.  We arrived just in time to see the Packers come out on the field for drills.  After that there was an Oneida performance (Friendship dance, I believe).  Then it was scrimmage time!  National anthem, flags, player and coach intros, etc.  Took lots of good pictures.  The kids had a lot of fun, but the boys definitely got bored pretty quick.  They don’t have the attention span yet to actually watch what’s happening on the field.  I had fun trying to explain some of it to Emily and watching her copy my cheers and comments.  It’s so funny how much our kids model our own behavior!  The kids knew that there were fireworks following the game, so there were MANY questions as to when the game would be done and when it was time for fireworks.  After the game there was a LONG give-away for fans to receive player jerseys that were worn during the scrimmage.  Someone in our section won, but not us.  Better luck next time!  Finally the fireworks began and they were GREAT!  Even better than movie night.  I was really impressed.  Packers Family Night is really a great event.  We’ll definitely go again, but I think we’ll wait a couple years until it’s a little more exciting for the boys.
  • Sunday, August 8th – GBAMOM Summer Family Picnic.  After an early morning storm scared me awake the morning of the picnic I’d worked so hard to organize, the skies cleared and it was a beautiful day!  Got everything packed up in the van and Jeep and got to Pamperin Park around 10:30 to start setting up.  Hubby had a delay following us in the Jeep (still not sure what), but Dolly and her family arrived around 11:00 and started helping me move tables and get them covered.  Hubby started grilling around 11:30 and people started filtering in.  We had a really good turnout w/ about 10 families in attendance, adding up to over 50 people, and everyone brought food.  It was a really nice group and everyone really seemed to enjoy themselves.  I had set up some games & sports equipment & bubbles for the kids to play with and had a few organized games planned.  After everyone ate lunch (grilled burgers, brats, hot dogs), we all took turns getting a family picture taken and introduced our families to the group.  Us moms see each other all the time, so it was nice to see everyone’s families, and especially all the twins, which is what brought us all together in the first place!  After that we played two games.  I planned the classic egg & spoon race, which ended up being way too easy and over in an instant.  I must have picked spoons that were too easy to balance an egg on!  I had also planned for a water balloon toss, but for some odd reason, the water balloons that I had filled before going to the park, all popped at the same time.  Very strange, so that game didn’t happen.  Then it was on to the scavenger hunt.  Each family got a list of items to search for around the park.  They had to find the item, take a picture and bring their camera back to me to show that they’d found everything.  Everyone seemed to have a lot of fun w/ this game.  The first three finishers got a prize.  After the games, the few families that lingered enjoyed some birthday cake from Veronica for her son and spent some time relaxing & chatting.  Brian found himself playing a game of soccer w/ some of the younger kids.  All in all, a great day.  Exhausting, but so worth the effort.
  • Thursday, August 12 – Park playdate w/ Amy & Bitsy.  We had our usual Thursday in the park.  It was REALLY hot that day so the three of us moms actually spent most of the time in the pool too.  It was actually kind of nice in the wading pool, just sitting in the water by the edge.  Us moms chatted, the kids played.  We cut it a little short that day as it was just too hot and kids were getting crabby (moms too).  Only one summer Thursday left for the pool!
  • Friday, August 13 – Tall Ships Festival.  Brian took the day off, as well as the following Monday and Tuesday, so we had planned to do something fun on Friday.  After much debate we finally decided we’d go to the Tall Ships Festival at Leicht Park.  We waited until afternoon to go, as it was a bit rainy.  We timed it pretty well though.  When we got there around 2:30, the rain was just ending but it was still really windy.  The first ships we came to were not allowing anyone on because of the rocking.  The bigger ships that followed were still allowing tours, so we got in line.  It was really neat to see the big beautiful ships up close and walk around on board.  We got to see the Bounty, which was a movie prop built for a Marlon Brando movie (Mutiny on the Bounty), and has since been used in many other films including Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.  Gotta watch the movie again and see if I can pick her out!  🙂  All of the ships are used for sail training and had information about how you could join the crew on a sail and learn the ropes.  Brian and I fantasized about how neat that would be.  We got to go on a good number of the ships, but missed a few since we arrived so late, but thankfully the lines were not terribly long.  We heard they were much longer that morning and the rest of the weekend.  We stopped by the entertainment tent to watch Miller & Mike for a bit.  They are clowns who do some good juggling tricks, among other things.  Brian and I had seen them before in a more adult version of their show.  The kids got a kick out of watching them and I had fun watching the kids’ faces.  We toured one more ship before leaving, and that was the Unicorn.  Emily picked that one, of course.  Definitely a neat event.  Maybe next time the tall ships visit Green Bay, hubby and I can go on one of the sail away cruises!  I would love that!
  • Saturday, August 14th – Rob, Angie, Erik & Allie came over for the day.  Rob & Angie had Bullfrogs tickets to use that night, so we watched the kids when they went.  We just hung out all afternoon, then had a quick dinner before they left for the game.  I showed Angie how to make a cardboard can rotator since she missed Shelly’s party last month and traced up a template for her.  After they left, I decided to finish up another one for myself, so now I have two on my pantry shelf!  All the kids had fun playing together and stayed up WAY too late as usual.  🙂
  • Sunday, August 15th – Grandma L’s 90th Birthday Party.  Got to spend the day w/ Brian’s family celebrating Grandma’s 90 years.  The weather was perfect.  We all enjoyed sitting outside, talking to everyone, and eating all the yummy food!  There were some really neat pictures of Grandma through the years.  It was neat to get a glimpse of her past.  She really seemed to enjoy her party and was grateful that we all could be there.  We are of course glad to have her with us, still doing great at 90.  Sue and her sisters are already planning for her 95th!  I told Grandma we’ll be celebrating the big 100!
  • Monday-Tuesday, August 16-17 – DRIVEWAY.  Ugh.  A very big, very time consuming, very muscle aching project.  Spent Monday filling cracks w/ crack filler (that just sounds wrong).  Spent today putting the sealant on.  It looks about a million times better.  Still needs a second coat, but that will have to wait for another weekend.  We needed WAY more buckets of sealant than our square footage required since it’s so long overdue and the pavement is so rough.  Hopefully that second coat won’t need nearly so much.  One thing we can check off our to-do list.
  • Side note:  Went to BioLife Plasma Services today to become a plasma donor.  Expected to be there for 3 hrs. for physical and donation.  Got through the whole paperwork/physical process and when the nurse checked my veins, she decided they were too small for me to donate.  The needle they use is pretty big so that the red blood cells don’t get crushed and she was concerned that my small vein would blow out if they put in a needle that is about the same size as the vein.  So, I got sent home after that.  She said I could try lifting weights and hydrating better to get those veins to plump up but it might not work.  Guess I need to get back to my workouts if I’m going to have any chance of donating.  What a bummer and a waste of a nice morning.

Lots of activities going on this week and weekend, but I’ll save that for another day.  Hope you are all having lots of fun this summer!

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More Summer Fun!

Our busy summer continues and we keep cramming in the fun activities!  I actually forgot to mention one in my last post!  Here’s a re-cap of the last few weeks:

  • Thurs. July 15 (missed this one!) – Went to Concert in the Garden at Green Bay Botanical Garden.  We missed the park that day, so I decided to pack a picnic and take the kids over to hear some live music and walk around.  Hubby decided at the last minute to meet up with us after work and we arrived w/in minutes of each other.  The area by the musicians was pretty packed, as we had arrived just after the start of the concert, but we did find a nice grassy spot for our picnic where we could hear the music really well.  They had speakers set up as well, to help carry the sound.  It was really enjoyable.  We listened to the Green Bay Symphony Jazz Ensemble and they were quite good.  I recognized the bass player; he’s played w/ Manitowoc Symphony too and was fabulous in our jazz concert in April.  Once we’d finished our picnic, and realized the kids were getting antsy (especially when Sam decided to show off his underwear to the people around us!) we decided to go for a walk around the garden.  We gradually made our way to the Children’s Garden, where the kids had lots of fun running through the maze and FINALLY braved the slide.  For some reason, they’ve all been too scared to go down the tube slide there in the past, but they all decided it would be fun this time and they were right.  It was a complete last minute decision, but turned out to be a good one to go that night.  The weather was perfect and we had a great time.
  • Tuesday, July 20 – After I got done working at the Y, we headed straight to the NEW Zoo to meet up w/ Angie and the kids.  She had two extra kids that day since she’s babysitting this summer.  We had a picnic lunch and then headed into the zoo.  Angie enforced a buddy system and it worked pretty well to keep all 7 kids together.  Every time they’d start going off in different directions, we’d yell, “Find your partner!” and the kids would all flock back together.  A few highlights from this zoo visit:
  1. The lion cubs are just as big as their parents now!  Last year they were still small and really playful.  This year they still played a little.  It’s hard to tell which lioness’ are the cubs and which is the mom.  One of the cubs is a male and has the start of a mane.  It’s neat to see them grow up!  We did get to hear daddy lion roar loudly as dinner time approached.
  2. The kids all had a blast feeding the goats this year.  Emily is still a little timid about it and didn’t participate much.  The boys did a lot of giggling and dropping the food.  They would get a little nervous when the goats started nibbling and half of the food in their hand would fall to the ground when they’d back away too quickly.  So funny to watch.
  3. The new Mayan food court is open so this was our first time checking that out.  Last summer we just saw the foundations of the building.  We all popped in for slushies to help the kids cool off.
  • Thursday, July 22 – RAIN!  And I mean ALL DAY rain.  Not good for our park day, but Amy graciously invited us to hang out at her new house.  It was our first visit since their big move.  The house is beautiful and I have to admit I had a little house envy that day.  Even the kids asked if we could move to a new house!  🙂  Bitsy and Sydney joined in the fun this time too.  The mama’s were able to hang out and chat in the living room most of the afternoon while the kids all played in the basement play area.  They have so much fun together.  There was a lot of screaming and door slamming, but apparently it was all in good fun.  Boys were chasing girls, etc.  PBS was on the TV downstairs and at one point Lily and Josh were sharing a chair and looking so cute and cozy.  Makes one wonder if the same thing will happen when they’re in high school together.  😉
  • Friday, July 23 – Day Off/Fun Day didn’t happen.  Got a flat tire driving to the Sara Lee Outlet after Amy’s house on Thursday, so we spent Friday getting the tire fixed, running errands, and cleaning house.
  • Saturday, July 24 – Went to a family birthday party in Appleton.  It was a nice afternoon/evening hanging out with Brian’s family.  Once again, enjoyed the fact that the kids can go play w/ little supervision while we spend time chatting w/ the adults.  They had a sand box at David & Diane’s house, so that kept the kids pretty well entertained all day.  Lots of good food and a huge birthday cake filled w/ many names!  Everyone complimented us on how well the kids behaved, especially at meal time.  I’m proud of my little munchkins.  They really do behave themselves quite well around other people.  At home… that’s another story.  😉
  • Sunday, July 25 – Decided to go to Bay Beach Amusement Park and use up some leftover tickets from last summer.  Didn’t spend a whole lot of time there.  It was REALLY hot and we were tired from staying up late.  The kids enjoyed a few kiddie rides and the helicopters w/ mom & dad.  We skipped the train this time since the line was so long and building was very stuffy.  We spent a good deal of time at the playground, which we’ve never done there before.  Emily was a hoot, playing restaurant, making me repeatedly order and eat her make-believe cooking.  She was serving pizza, chicken, noodles, and some very interesting desserts, like ice cream supree which apparently consists of vanilla ice cream, cherries, and bananas.  After our short visit we decided we’ll probably go back on a weekday when it’s not so crowded.
  • Wednesday, July 28 – Got to hang out (by myself!) at Shelly’s house.  She had a party to teach a group of gals how to make can rotators from cardboard boxes.  With all the groceries piling up in my house, I wanted to learn how to make these and make better use of my shelf space in the basement.  I don’t really like stacking wobbly cans on a wobbly shelf, so this will be a great solution.  Also helps w/ the FIFO rule!  We had fun making our project and chatting.  Jill, Dolly, Vivian, Theresa, and Misty were there, so it was a nice group of GBAMOM’s getting some extra time together.  Thanks Shelly!!
  • Thursday, July 29 – Perfect weather for the park w/ Amy and her crew.  Kids had fun in the water as always and Bitsy and Sydney came along too!  The boys are starting to get more brave about getting their faces wet and going underwater, especially Sam.  Emily is having fun bonding w/ Amy’s girls and I think they’re enjoying her too.  Really loving the wading pool since I don’t have to worry too much about the kids.  They’re all loving the water and doing well enough w/ their swimming skills that they feel very safe.  I can relax a bit and enjoy the rays while soaking my feet in the cool water.
  • Friday, July 30 – The kids and I drove down to Appleton to Dan & Sandra’s house (friends from college).  Sandra made us a wonderful lunch and we took the kids outside to play in the sand.  Us moms talked couponing while the kids played w/ water in the sand, making rivers and pools and having a generally fun and messy time.   The kids got along great w/ Sandra’s girls.  The boys didn’t want to leave when it was time.  Sam was actually giving me a really hard time not getting in the car.  I think we’ll have to get both families together for a cookout sometime soon and do some catching up!  Can’t believe how much time has gone by since we last saw each other.  A chance encounter at the drive-in earlier this year produced a reconnection!  Love when things like that happen.
  • Saturday, July 31 – Last minute plans w/ Chad & Gretchen!  Decided to meet for dinner and check out the first annual Packers Movie Night at Lambeau Field.  What a great night!  We met at Old Chicago for pizza.  Hadn’t been there before and it was good!  Went to Lambeau and it was a long wait for the kids who spent most of the time going bonkers w/ each other.  Seven kids under 7 can get a little wild.  🙂  When the gates finally opened we found some good seats and waited for the big show w/ several bathroom trips and some snack runs for popcorn & drinks.  The show started at 7:30 w/ a Packers highlight film of last season.  Got to remember some of the great plays that happened last year.  Then it was previews and finally, Diary of a Wimpy Kid.  I went there not expecting much from the movie, more wanted to go for the overall experience, but it was actually pretty good.  Very cute movie about middle school and all it’s awkwardness.  The kids got a bit tired and uncomfortable spending so much time on the bleachers.  Chad & Gretchen headed out w/ their kids a little early as all were getting tired.  We stuck it out for the fireworks at the end.  The kids perked up and got really excited when the movie ended since they knew what was coming.  The fireworks started out a bit wimpy and we weren’t sure what to expect, but they sure turned it up a notch later.  It was pretty impressive actually.  The finale was really cool; all of the fireworks going off simultaneously were green & gold.  Very neat.  The kids loved it.  I had a huge smile on my face the whole time, snuggling Sammy on my lap.  I don’t really know why, but I love fireworks.  So glad we got to see some w/ the kids this summer!
  • Sunday, August 1 – Seriously, is it August already???  Jessica and Lincoln are in town from Florida (yay!) so we made plans to get together in Door County today.  Her parents have a place in Sturgeon Bay so the kids and I headed up there this afternoon.  After eating a quick lunch we headed up to Whitefish Dunes State Park.  We’d never been before but I’d heard good things about it.  It was crowded, but we did find a nice spot to enjoy the beach.  The waves were huge and they have signs all over warning about rip tides.  A small area is marked w/ buoys for swimming, but it was too crowded to go into that area.  The kids played in the sand and in the waves.  The water was a bit cool, but you could get used to it pretty quick.  They boys were fearless and kept walking out farther than I was comfortable with in the waves and I had to keep calling them back.  After a while the kids figured out how to ride the waves w/ their rings & noodles and had lots of fun bouncing up and down and getting splashed when the waves would crash over them.  We REALLY have to go back there w/ Daddy and go on a weekday when it’s not so busy so we can all play in the swimming area.  Lincoln was super cute.  Had to be a great sensory experience for him.  He loved playing w/ the shovels & buckets in the sand.  Great day at the beach and so nice to spend a little time w/ Jess while she’s in her home state!

So, yeah… I think we’ve been keeping ourselves pretty busy.  I don’t know why, but I occasionally feel like we’re not doing enough.  Crazy, I know.  That’s part of the reason I want to get our summer activities in the blog.  So I can look back on what a great summer we really did have.  During the week w/ all the hustle & bustle of work and errands, I find myself wishing we could be at the park or a beach somewhere.  I’m definitely looking forward to my 3 week break coming up later this month.  Two weeks to go!  We have some really fun things planned for next weekend and Friday is up in the air, so I need to think of someplace new to check out.  Can’t wait to get through this week’s hustle & bustle and get back to the fun!!

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Summer Fun

It’s been a busy summer so far and we’ve done several fun things the last couple of weeks.  Here’s a brief re-cap:

  • Brian took Friday, July 2nd off from work and we spent the afternoon at Mather Heights Park.  The kids and I hang out there most Thursdays, but they REALLY wanted Daddy to get a chance to hang out there too.  So we packed up all our swimming gear after lunch and had some fun in the wading pool.  Daddy had fun giving the kids rides, pulling them around w/ pool noodles (thanks, Amy!) while they floated in their swim rings.
  • July 3rd we took our first day trip up into Door County w/ my brother-in-law’s family.  It’s his birthday tradition, and this year we tagged along.  The weather was great!  We picnicked and enjoyed the beach at Bailey’s Harbor, where we also go to watch lots of wind-surfing/para-sailing action.  After that we drove up to Sister Bay, then back down to Fish Creek where we stopped at Not Licked Yet for an ice cream.  I remember going there as a kid when camping at Peninsula State Park, so I was happy to find it and enjoy it w/ my own kids!  Then we headed over to Orchard Country, where we picked Montmorency (tart) cherries and tasted some great wines.  I am NOT a wine drinker, so I was thrilled to find some fruity wines that even I could enjoy.  I bought three different bottles, and am most excited about the sparkling wine that I’ll save for New Year’s.  Then it was one last stop for Chinese in Sturgeon Bay before calling it a day and heading home.  We all had a great day together, and all suffered a little sunburn too!  🙂  Brian and I stayed up late that night pitting our cherries and making cherry sauce (for cheesecake), cherry cobbler, and chocolate chip cherry banana bread.  So yummy!!  And I still have two bags of them frozen for future goodies.
  • July 4th was pretty low-key.  Brian and I were both sleep-deprived and I wasn’t feeling well.  I slept in REALLY late.  We spent the day at home, relaxing, then went out at night to watch some distant fireworks from our driveway and set off the last of the fireworks that we bought last summer.  The kids really got a kick out of it.  We had giant 3ft. long sparklers.  Emily was afraid to hold hers, so I had to take over about halfway.  The boys loved them.  Sam was scared of the noise of the big fireworks in the distance, but once he saw how neat they are, the fear gave way to enjoyment.  We had two fountains, the same as last year’s.  One made big sparks that look like fish jumping, the other had a variety of colors and did everything from spraying fountains, to making sparkles & crackles.  Very neat.
  • Friday, July 9th was spent packing for the weekend, so we didn’t get to do anything fun until late in the evening.  We headed up to Wabeno after Brian got home from work to spend some time at the cabin w/ family and go to Steam-Up Days.  That night we popped over to Uncle Dave’s cabin where everyone was enjoying a fire, to say hello and let everyone know we finally made it up there.  Then we stayed up late playing cards and waiting for all the kids to fall asleep watching a movie.  They were up until 11:00-11:30.
  • Thankfully the kids all slept in until about 9:00 on Saturday.  By about 10:00, the girls were all ready to head out.  Emily, Angie, Allie and I headed into town to shop the craft fair where we bumped into Sue and Aunt Barb.  Sue bought the girls each a beaded bracelet, just like last year.  Then Emily and I got cute matching anklets.  I haven’t worn an anklet in years, but find myself wearing the new one quite often!  It’s too cute.  🙂  We shopped a few stores in town, then headed back to cabin to have lunch w/ all the boys.  After some yummy sandwiches it was time for the beach!  We went over to Trump Lake, enjoyed the sun and surprisingly warm water.  We brought the dogs with us this time, thinking they’d enjoy a swim.  Haley was only slightly interested.  Onyx had never been swimming before and was a bit nervous.  Brian & Rob took the dogs for a walk to dry off and then back to the cabin so we could spend more time enjoying the beach.  That night we had a big cookout at Dave & Sue’s, followed by chit-chat around the fire, and of course we had to make a few s’mores.  We stayed up too late again, playing another card game and letting the kids fall asleep w/ a movie.
  • Sunday we all went to the Logger’s Breakfast at the Am. Legion post and spent time at the playground waiting for the parade to start.  The parade was great this year, I think a little bigger than last year.  They threw TONS of candy and the kids all had a blast grabbing it for their bags.  Angie brought paper bags that the kids all decorated for themselves to put their candy in.  Then we went back up the hill to Dave & Sue’s for a short visit, some 4-wheeler rides and clean-up, before heading back to the cabin to pack up and go home.  It was a fun weekend, and over too soon, but we definitely needed to get some sleep after that!
  • This past Thursday we missed out on our park day, but I really needed to catch up on things around the house.  That left us able to plan some more fun for Friday!
  • Friday afternoon we went to the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary.  We started out by the bird area, but decided to check out the new path and rock landscaping that is almost finished.  We went through the new tunnel and followed that path across the pond to the Nature Center.  We explored inside then headed out to the wildlife refuge.  The kids loved watching the otters swim and play and got a close up look at one of the wolves.  The first time we’d ever seen one come up to the fence!  We walked back over to the birds, where we had to buy our bag of corn to feed the ducks and geese.  The boys are still scared of the geese and Josh did cry a few times, needing to be led away from a goose in his path.  Another fun afternoon and the kids all said they had a great time and can’t wait to go back there with Daddy.
  • Friday night we decided to use our TimberRattler tickets from a rained out game in April.  Emily got a free ticket and discount tickets for the rest of us through the reading program at school.  We decided to go on Friday because it was Family Night and there were lots of special events going on.  It was Fang’s (the mascot) birthday, so various mascots from other local sports teams and businesses were walking around the stadium, taking pictures and giving autographs to the kids.  Each child got an autograph sheet w/ pictures of all the mascots on them.  They had so much fun seeking out the mascots and trying to get signatures.  Sam & Josh got noticed by the gals who were with Ace, the Green Bay Gamblers hockey mascot, and asked to take a picture of them w/ Ace, because they were “so cute!”.  The kids didn’t much get into the baseball game, but I did have fun explaining a little bit to Emily about how the game works.  After the game, there was a fireworks show set to the music of The Beatles.  They did a great job and the kids LOVED their first up-close big fireworks.  I was so glad we got to see some after not going out on the 4th.  Then it was time for the kids to run the bases.  We filed into a VERY long line, which was very misdirected, but eventually got out onto the field.  Josh missed a step and fell down, scraping his knee pretty bad, so “ran” the bases being carried in Daddy’s arms.  The kids all had huge smiles on their faces.  They thought it was pretty cool to be out on the field where they just watched the game being played.
  • The rest of the weekend was a fairly lazy one.  We stayed home, got some housework and yardwork done, and also spent some time playing computer games and watching movies.  Brian took down a few trees today.  We cleaned that up and also cleaned out the wood scraps and rocks from under our tree house, so Brian can build a sandbox under there for the kids.  Not sure when we’ll get  to that project, but at least the area is cleared for it now.

The rest of our summer has much more fun in store.  I think we have something going on every weekend, now through Labor day.  I’ll try to update when I can.  Hope everyone is having fun this summer!!!

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Strawberry Picking

We made our 3rd annual trek to Blaser’s Acres to pick strawberries on June 19th this year.  Last year we got there at the end of the season and the selection was not good.  This year we timed it just right.  There were big, beautiful berries everywhere!  We picked a grand total of 26.5 pounds this year!  My goal was to make enough strawberry jam to last one year and I’m pretty sure I succeeded.  I filled 19 pint jars and 8 half pints.  Last year’s jam didn’t go very far and we were so sad when it was gone.  Now we have enough that we may even have to give some as gifts!

The kids helping us find "good ones"

26.5 lb. haul

Hubby hulling all the washed berries while studying

Jam! Lighter jars are made w/ pectin, dark is w/o.

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Busy Summer

I thought summer was supposed to be lazy?  So far, that is definitely not the case here.  I’ve started a new schedule at work for 9 weeks of the summer, working Monday through Thursday mornings, roughly from 9am to noon.  After that, it’s errands and trying to keep the house in order.  I’m taking some mandatory time for fun though, otherwise we’d spend way too much time at home, like last summer.  Thursday afternoons will find me and the kids hanging at the park w/ my friend Amy and her kids.  They all get along great, which makes it a somewhat easy and relaxing playdate.  Friday is my official day off and I’m hoping to spend most of these Fridays doing something fun with the kids.  So far, two weeks in, the Fridays off have been nice.  It does feel like a “long weekend”, which is what I was hoping for.  I’m going to TRY to chronicle the activities we do this summer to help me remember the fun times we had.

Our first Friday was spent at Pamperin Park, which we love.  We met another mom of twins there for a short while and it was nice to meet someone new.  We had a picnic lunch and then let the kids play.  She had to leave early so her kids could nap, so my kids and I stayed a while longer.  We had a little photo shoot so we could make a nice Father’s Day gift for Daddy (which turned out great!).  We walked along Duck Creek and saw two Herons hanging out in the water, catching fish for lunch.  It was a really enjoyable afternoon.  After the park we went home to cool off with some ice cream and a movie.

Unfortunately our second Friday was not a fun day.  We spent the day at home while our new furnace and air conditioner were installed.  Our AC unit decided it was done for good, and I was starting to suffer.  My asthma is really sensitive to humidity and with the warm, humid weather we’ve been having, I was resorting to using my inhaler a lot more than I’d like to.  Since our furnace was also really old and surely needed replacing as well, we decided to do the smart thing and replace everything at once.  In the long run, it will save us a little money and now we know we have a system that shouldn’t fail in the dead of winter!  It’s also a much more efficient hybrid system, which is supposed to considerably lower our energy costs.  I will be anxious to see what our energy bills look like this winter!

This week I have a moms of multiples club meeting, and I am running the program for the first time.  I decided to host a craft night and found a fun project for us all to make together.  I’ve been busy preparing for this also.  Lots of paper to cut!  I also spent some time labeling all the tools I’ll be bringing with me.  My scrapping supplies don’t often leave the house, so I tend to label things right before I need to take them somewhere.  🙂  I started making mine to show the ladies on Thursday night and will save at least one page to make while they watch.  We’re making mini-albums out of empty toilet paper rolls.  I know it sounds weird, but it is definitely one of the cutest “trash to treasure” projects I have ever seen.  I’ll try to post pictures when mine is finished.

Looking forward to the upcoming holiday weekend.  Our plans are still up in the air, but we do hope to catch some fireworks, get some landscaping done, and just enjoy the time together.  Maybe we’ll catch a drive-in movie and pick some raspberries up north.  Really not sure yet.  Hopefully we’ll get it all figured out soon.  The weekend is almost here!

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This year’s deck garden

After a successful first run of container gardening on the deck last year, we decided to do it again and add a few more plants.  This year we have 4 basil plants, 4 tomatoes, 2 green peppers, and 1 parsley.  The plan is to use most of the basil for pesto, which I can make and freeze in batches as more leaves reach a nice big size for picking.  The tomatoes will make some nice salsa again.  We also made pizza sauce last year, which I liked, but hubby did not care for.  So, we’ll be trying some new recipes this year as well.  The peppers are a first, so we’ll see what kind of crop we get there.   My parsley plant is getting huge and I have yet to actually use any of it.  I really need to start throwing some fresh parsley in my cooking!  🙂  I guess I can always use it for a fancy garnish next time we have dinner guests.  I’ve been debating trying to dry some of it also.  Here’s our container garden progress so far…

Here is the garden on May 31st.  We planted our pots a little early this year.

Can’t fit the whole lineup in one picture anymore.  I’ve had to space the pots farther apart as our plants have grown.  Here’s the garden on June 28th…

Parsley & Basil

Tomatoes

Green Peppers

As you can see, I really need to use some parsley!  And I need to pick a bunch of basil & make pesto this weekend.  We already have some little green tomatoes on each plant.  The pepper plants have each had a couple flowers on them, so we should start to see some little peppers growing soon!

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Physical Fitness Update

One of the goals I set for this year was to become physically fit, more so than I’ve been previously.  I have to say, I’m doing pretty well on this one, but I could definitely do better.  Here’s the rundown of how things have been going.

  • I’ve been going to Zumba twice a week at the Y and have only missed due to illness.  I’m able to get through the 45 min. class without an inhaler (couldn’t do more than 15 min. w/o it last fall).  I’m able to push myself more and more w/ each week as far as increasing the level of difficulty for myself w/ the various moves.  My flexibility, strength and stamina have increased thanks to Zumba.  I can move in ways I didn’t know I was capable of!
  • Haven’t stayed on track very well with weightlifting.  I’m definitely still stronger and more toned than I was, but I’d like to get more definition.  Hubby and I have fallen off the bandwagon a bit here due to being so busy and tired that we just can’t seem to force ourselves down to the home gym 3x/week.  Hoping we’ll get ourselves back on track soon.
  • Can easily do a mile on the elliptical in under 12 min. now, without needing the inhaler.  Feeling like I could do more, but haven’t pushed myself yet as this is usually a warm up before doing weights and I don’t want to be up all night.  I’m thinking I should try to find some other time of day to try to do more of this.
  • Overall feeling much stronger.  I’m able to do a lot more and hubby is taking notice.  Over the weekend we did a lot of landscaping work and I was able to lift and wheelbarrow heavy objects up & down our steep hills, which I could not do last summer.  Also, I didn’t get sore after that long day of work!  I also didn’t get sore after 3 long nights of rehearsals and concert last month, which did happen the last concert weekend and all previous ones.  I usually get a sore back and shoulders, but not this time.  Guess holding that viola up for 9+ hours in 3 nights isn’t as much work as it used to be!
  • One problem. I’ve gained weight.  😦  I know that part of it is muscle that I’ve gained, but for some reason I’ve packed on a little around the middle.  I think I’m eating more as a result of burning more calories.  I’m hungry from all the extra exercise that my body is probably still adjusting to.  I need to cut back on portions and watch the junk food.  I have a Pepsi habit that I really should kick.  I usually only drink 1 can/day, but there are some days where I have 2-3 sodas.  Just a bunch of extra calories that I could easily do without.  I quit Pepsi when I was pregnant, so why can’t I do it now?  Just need to force myself one of these days!  I also need to drink more water.  I get headaches on the days I do Zumba and I think it’s because I’m not hydrating enough.

With all that in mind I have some mini goals to help me achieve the main goal:

  • Drink more water, especially on work-out days
  • Quit Pepsi (this is not going to be easy!)
  • Portion control (I know I’m overeating)
  • Get back into the weight routine
  • Try to find more time for elliptical and push past the 1 mile mark
  • Try to keep more fresh fruits and healthy snacks in the house, don’t over do the carbs
  • Get pilates in at least once/week.  So far have only done the video once and was sore for 5 days, so I know I was working muscles that need it!

I’ll try to update again in a few months and really hoping that the few extra pounds disappear in that time!!

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