July 31, 2015

Friday - Homestead Update

This week has been a mix of sun and crazy rains.  Each time I go to the garden I really don't think there is going to be much due to the rain but how surprised I have been.  We have processed all of the main heads of broccoli and are now enjoying the side shoots for dinners.  The cauliflower has become large enough to start to eat and the romanesco is not far behind.  The green beans are pulling their weight in producing and I have started canning this week (with a little help of course).  And lets talk about zucchini...after getting almost none last year I promised to never mind a large production year and that I will stick too.  We are getting a lot and loving it all.
Tomaotes, peas, carrots, cucumbers too - ahh we are full and thankful for this garden season.

July 30, 2015

Stop

Life is busy, full, fast
 How thankful I am for these little people for reminding me of the simple joys in life like runny down a grassy hill
and stopping to smell the roses.

July 29, 2015

In His Words

Since Naomi was born I have referred to her frequently as baby.  I know it is something she will dislike some day but for now it is what it is and I love it.  
Well, Ethan took it to a whole new level yesterday.  At one random point he walked up to Naomi, threw his arms around her and said, "Hi ya there babe."  And since then he has seemed happy to have shortened Naomi's nickname from baby to babe.  Oh what a ham, he has no idea how cute he really can be.


July 28, 2015

Ball Hitters

I love baseball and grew up in a baseball family.  Josh, he has a love of hockey over baseball.  
 So with my parents in town and Josh out of town it was the perfect time to introduce the kids to the Alaskan Goldpanners.  
The kids did great and loved watching all those "ball hitters" as Ethan called the players and especially the bat boys.  I do believe I have found baseball watching companions for the next few years to come.

July 26, 2015

What Was Better

After our camping trip Josh and I talked about what was good and what wasn't.   One thing that stood out to me was that I hadn't planned enough activities to keep the kids busy during the times that Josh and I were busy.  So this past camping trip I set out to make that better.
 And even though Josh groaned about me packing another box of stuff it worked.  Stamps while we set up the tent.
 Painting with water while we made dinner
 Special hot chocolate while I washed dishes
 And of course learning the art of roasting marshmellows
 A balloon and a plastic cup makes pom pom launchers
And moving the activities to the strawberry patch field changed things when the campground became boring.  Learning to keep camping fun.  Yes, that is better.

July 24, 2015

Friday - Homestead Update

Today's report on the garden is all about being big.
 Big leaves - I have to be super careful where I step
 Big beets
 Ok, not super big cauliflower but it is still growing strong.
 We are getting a good turn out for our green beans - finally.
 And one can only hope the carrot growth beneath the ground will be as big as the part we see.
 We have had a big harvest week for broccoli with 9 gallon bags worth being chopped, blanched and frozen.  This doesn't count the large amount that the kids consume.  Boy those kids love broccoli.
 But as for snacking the peas are the biggest treat.  Begging for them through the garden fence, having them with almost every meal, and still seeing them grow.
The greenhouse is bigger and fuller as well.  I was explaining to a friend how I have learned only to grow things that we love.  Thus our greenhouse is full of four different varieties of grape tomatoes.  They work so much better with our growing season here then big ones and the bottom line is we love those bits of sweetness.

The one thing that is sad to report is that the bees are big in numbers but not super big in honey production.  Humm.  Lets hope that the next three to four weeks before the end of summer is a time of high production for them!

July 23, 2015

This Is Me

This week my parents are visiting.  The kids are so excited to show off all that they are.
Skype and phone calls are nice, this is better.

July 22, 2015

In The Clouds

Time in the sun,
 and the wind
 laughing and running.
All the while being whoever we want to be.
Family, a wonderful thing.

July 21, 2015

Fresh and Ready

Oh that feeling, when you come home from camping to an empty fridge.  While unpacking all the gear you realized it is dinner time and have no idea of what to serve. 
Then you go out to the garden and come back with a basket full of items for dinner and your hope is restored in being able to feed your family more then pasta.  Garden produce time has arrived.  How blessed we are.

July 20, 2015

Family Camping

Oh what a time we had.  I would say that we are fitting in nicely to this family camping thing.
This "time to get away" stuff where flowers, rocks, dirt, sleeping bags, camp fires, and so much more fills our time.
 These experiences with rain, bugs, boo boos, noisy campers, early risers, and miss communications test us, try us and in the end don't seem that bad.
 Those feels of being dirty, tired, achy (when did sleeping on the ground get so hard), and frumpy aren't that big a deal when you see your girl picking wild strawberries in the field and your son is happy for hours with just a kazoo.  
The realization when you come home with coolers, wet tents, loads of laundry and only want a shower yet you are talking about just when you can go again.
Yeah, those dirty face feelings.  Family camping feels like that.

July 17, 2015

The Garden Work Was Left At Home

Today instead of a garden update we are off enjoying our summer just a little bit.
At home there are peas to pick, broccoli to blanch (if the kids let me, man they love eating it fresh), tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, and beets to eat.  Baby green beans, cauliflower and romanesco to watch grow and plenty of weeds to pull.  But you know, it will all be there when we return.  Our little party of five and our big wonderful tent are out making some new memories for now.

July 16, 2015

For The Home

We have, ok I have, been having a little fun at garage sales this summer.  The kids love to find this our that in small toys but I have been finding bigger things for the home that I have spent time looking for before, such as the couch.  Another thing a mirror.  I have been looking for a large one for a few years.
 The problem was when we got it it was horribly painted.  Probably the reason we got it for next to nothing. 
 But Josh and a can of spray paint changed that.
Into something that looks great on our wall.  Love it.

July 15, 2015

Little Alaskan Kids

All kids grow and learn from their surroundings.  But as someone who didn't grow up in Alaska I find it fun and funny some of what my little Alaskans are learning.
Like sitting on a bear, even if it is just a statue, is perfectly normal thing to do.

To tell Abigail that at Grandma's house in Texas it gets dark at night.  To see her eyes get big and to hear her say, "It is winter ever night at her house?" Since up here light is summer/dark is winter.

Laying on our back looking at the clouds and sky and the first thing my kids see in the sky are "summer northern lights."  Knowing some people live their entire lives to see them I would say they are northern lights spoiled.

To have them ask to ride the moose that walk through our yard.

Hearing Abigail get all excited the other day when she tells me, "Mama, I saw the silliest car - it had no roof.  Who would drive a car without a roof."  



July 14, 2015

Look At Me

A few times a year or so I will put in an order for pictures, print out a few we love and update my picture frames.  In this age of digital pictures I do love that I can take so many but I like to get them off of my computer and up for us all to enjoy too.  The other day the big orange package from Shutterfly came and it was a process to organize the pictures I had ordered into the 15 or so frames I had planned them to be in.  As the kids played on the deck I let the handrail be my work space.
 The kids loved it.  Seeing the old pictures I keep stored behind the new ones in the frames, the chance to see a picture of themselves blown up big, and the memories from when those pictures were taken.
 But no one was as happy as this baby.  She loved seeing her picture.  And a mama who can work on a project successfully is happy to see a picture cause such joy.  I might have had to wash the glass very well after all those baby kisses were given.  She just couldn't stop kissing that adorable baby.
So our living room wall is updated, as are the frames in our bedroom.  It is always good, especially on the harder days, to be reminded of the happy memories we have made.

July 13, 2015

Peonies

A friend of ours has started a peonies farm.  This summer she invited us out for a visit.
Until this year I never knew how big of a world market there is for peonies.
Or how cool these flowers are.
Did you know that if you cut your peonies at just the right time and cool them down within three hours they will last for up to six months without water? 
And since Alaska grows big flowers during our long hours of daylight it is a good place for a farm.  Come to find out there are a ton of them here in Fairbanks and North Pole.
How fun to have an adventurous friend who tries new things, can teach us so much AND sends us home with our hands full of beautiful flowers.

July 10, 2015

Friday - Homestead Update

Mid July - a time of green, growth and the start of fun.  This picture was taken of the garden last night at 10pm, you have to love the land of the midnight sun.
 We are still loving peas, zucchini, cucumbers and tomatoes.  The beets are getting bigger and bigger and I am starting to think I can start pulling some soon.  The broccoli all have heads and it will be the week we start eating and setting some aside for winter for sure.  The kids are starting to learn what summer is with zucchini in a different form every night for dinner and zucchini cakes and breads coming out of the oven all the time.  The green beans all have flowers and oh how I can't wait to start eating those too.  The pumpkin plants, the ones I was so worried about back in early June, have decided they do love life and are getting big and full.  The one thing I did this week was pull all my lettuce out of the planter box on the deck and reseeded with a new pack of seeds.  My current batch had bolted, was bitter and the aphids were taking over.  I am hoping by early/mid August we will have a new batch of lettuce to carry us through to fall.  That and my neighbor gave me some tobacco juice to spray on the aphids, he says it works great - I will just have to give it a try.
 Also going well are the bees.  People have been asking for awhile for pictures and with my mother-in-law with me I was able to get a few this past week.  I don't normally EVER bee keep in shorts it just happened to be what was going that day and it was ok.  But don't worry, my legs will always be covered when I open that hive again.
 This is my neighbor I am learning from.  He is great and I am so thankful for his wisdom, mentorship and friendship that these bees have brought.
The big thing with bees is that it isn't too windy or wet and that there are flowers around.  This summer has been good on all three aspects.  And just so you know, honey made from Alaskan fireweed flowers - amazing.  So excited to be on this journey for sure.

July 9, 2015

Bee Bop

I have said it before but it still remains true, the hardest part of arts and cracks for the kids is coming up with the ideas.  So I was super excited the other day when I came up with an idea as I got ready to recycle a few boxes.
Ethan loves robots - the kids could make robots themselves.  We started with a cereal box, oatmeal box, egg cartons, paper towel rolls and paint.
Once that was dry we went on the to putting it together part.  Abigail is the one that requested we crack out the buttons since she needed something to push so her robot could say, "beep I love you Abigail."  I love how each robot was unique to the kids.  Great ideas don't come all that often but when they do we all have fun.







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