Category Archives: Outdoors

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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Filed under Cooking, Life, Outdoors

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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Filed under Life, Outdoors

It’s been a busy summer…

Wow, it’s been a while since my last post.  Like most of my projects, I got off to a good start and then stalled for a while.  Things have been pretty busy around here though, so I guess that is my excuse.  Here’s a brief recap of what we’ve been up to…

June 21-29 was our vacation.  Brian took off that week and we had a whole list of things we wanted to do.  We kicked off our vacation with a weekend in Wabeno visiting Brian’s parents.  Overall it was an okay weekend.  We had a nice visit and enjoyed Saturday’s cookout and campfire, but there were a few hiccups along the way.  I never sleep well the first night, but luckily I made up for it by sharing the boys’ nap on Saturday.  Saturday night Brian got a call from work that there were major network problems that had to be resolved by Monday, so that meant he had to work when we got home on Sunday.  And, all three kids got sick as the day progressed on Sunday.  When we got home Sunday night it was apparent that Monday would be a total loss, and it was.  The boys had fevers, Emily was coughing, and we pretty much spent the day trying to keep everyone comfortable.  Monday was also our anniversary, but no celebrating for us.  Tuesday the kids were doing a little better, so we ran some errands and got some shopping done.  Wednesday, we were finally able to start tackling that list we’d made.  We spent the afternoon digging up the grass where we put the kids’ new playhouse, so we could put rubber mulch chips down to make a nice play area.  After that, we headed down to Appleton to meet up with Brian’s brother and his family at the mall.  We had dinner, did some shopping, and then brought our niece Allie home with us.  (Brian surprised me with ruby earrings and necklace that he picked up at the mall for our anniversary!).  Thursday we took the 4 kids to Bay Beach Amusement Park and Wildlife Sanctuary.  Bringing Allie along was a great idea.  The girls had a lot of fun going on all the kiddie rides together.  Brian and I were able to take all the kids on the helicopter ride and the train.  The kids also had a great time in the wading pool, which was the boys’ first intro to swimming.  When we got done at the amusement park, we headed over to the sanctuary to see a few of the animals there.  We didn’t stay long since everyone was pretty tired, but we did get to see a lot of cool animals, including a pregnant cougar lounging in a hammock.  Then it was back to Appleton to drop off Allie.  Friday was just a relaxing day at home.  We originally planned to go to the Maritime Museum in Manitowoc, but Thursday wore us out.  Saturday we headed downtown to the farmers market and then walked down Broadway to check out a couple shops.  Then out to Titletown Brewing Company for lunch.  Over the course of the weekend, Brian made a couple birdhouses, which Emily and I then painted.  It was a nice week, even though we didn’t get to everything that was on our list. 

Last week was a busy one as well.  Tuesday, we had our first official playdate.  I took the kids up to Memorial Park in Pulaski to meet up with a gal I’d met at GBAMOM and her three kids.  It was a gorgeous day.  The kids all played nicely at the park and then we had a picnic lunch.  It was nice to hang out with another mom of twins and it turns out we have a lot in common, so I’m hoping we’ll do it again soon!  Friday we met up with another family at Fire over the Fox.  Chad works with Brian and he and his wife have four kids (ages 4, 3, 22mo., and 9mo.!!).  We walked around a bit, managed to have dinner at a restaurant with 7 kids, and walked a bit more.  We came to realize that the kids were not going to last another 2 hours waiting to see the fireworks, so we all headed back to our house to hang out.  Emily had lots of fun playing with her new friends and we parents got to chat a bit and relax.  Saturday we had Brian’s brother and his family up to our house for the day.  We all went strawberry picking after lunch.  I picked 10lbs. of berries, which on Monday I made into 4 jars of jam, strawberry bread, strawberry peach cobbler, and a few in the freezer to make ice cream later!  We grilled shish-ka-bobs for dinner and just hung out.  Sunday we went down to New Berlin to visit my family.  My parents watched the kids while Brian and I went out for a nice lunch.  When we returned, my brother and sister had arrived, so we all sat out in the backyard.  Mom had a huge pile of waterguns and a bucket of water, so many watergun fights ensued.  It was a lot of fun.  More grilled goodies for dinner.  It was a very busy, very fun (and yummy!) weekend.

So, that’s what’s been keeping me away from the blog.  I’ll try to write more often…  I hope.  🙂

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Filed under Emmy, Life, Outdoors, The Twins

“Super Bug Spray”

Monday, Brian stayed home from work, so we decided to get some yardwork done.  Brian went and picked up a load of topsoil to fill in a bed in the front yard that desperately needed to be redone.  When the boys’ naptime rolled around, it was time to get going.  So, Brian, Em and I went out to the front yard to begin hauling and spreading the dirt.  Emily has recently developed an irrational fear of bugs.  As soon as the first fly buzzed past her, she started freaking out.  She was screaming, stomping, shaking, and begging to go inside.  We really needed to take advantage of naptime, so we did everything we could to try to convince her that the bugs would not hurt her and she needed to stay outside with us.  After unsuccessfully calming down our daughter, we sent her inside where she stood staring out the window, tears streaming because she didn’t want to be alone.  I once again tried to convince her to come outside to no avail.  Suddenly, my brilliant husband came up with the best idea.  He asked Em if she’d like some “Super Bug Spray” to keep the bugs off of her and scare them away.  Immediately, the tears were gone and she was excited to use this wonderful new invention.  So came forth our spray bottle filled with water, often used to tame the kids’ bedhead.  It didn’t matter that she’d seen this very spray bottle on many occasions and knew it was filled with water.  All that mattered was that daddy said this magical bottle would protect her and she believed it.  That little girl spent the rest of the afternoon spraying herself, her surroundings and any bugs that dared get too close.  It was hilarious.  She was chasing ants across the driveway, spraying them and yelling at them to go away.  We convinced her that the spray was working to scare them.  She soaked the trailer, the wheelbarrow, the driveway, her clothing, all because it would keep them bug-free.  It’s amazing the silly things a child will believe just to feel a little safer.  I think it’s going to be a while before Emily will venture outside without her magical spray bottle, but if it means I can get her outside this summer, the little white lie is so worth it.  I’m even thinking of getting a different sprayer that I can label “Super Bug Spray” for her.  I think she’d really like that…

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Filed under Emmy, Outdoors

Owl!

Holy cats, there was an owl in my backyard!  I went to open my patio door and there was a huge brown owl perched on the deer feeder.  We have about 3 acres of woods behind our house, so we’ve seen our share of deer and wild turkeys, but seeing that owl was really neat.  Luckily Emily got to see it, but it flew away before I could get my camera.  I’ve heard the occasional hoot in the woods at night, but never thought I’d see one so close to the house.  Very cool.

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Filed under Outdoors