Friday, May 8, 2015

Rhubarb Jam

A new adventure for me......making my own rhubarb jam.  


Did it turn out???  Not exactly.  Oh don't get me wrong it taste amazing and I could eat it by the spoon full, but sadly it didn't set or thicken enough to be worthy of toast.  SOOOO....instead we popped open a jar tonight and dished up ourselves some vanilla ice cream and emptied one pint of rhubarb "jam" onto our ice cream.  Delish!!!  I'm thinking it won't take us long to gobble the remaining 7 pints I have. I'm thinking even pouring this scrumptious stuff on top of pancakes!!!  Guess I'll wait for my rhubarb to grow some more and give it ONE more try.  Perhaps someone who reads this blog can give me a tip or has a recipe they know is tried and true:)!!!

Garden 2015

 One of the things I truly enjoy is gardening.  This year I was so excited to have nick help me make my garden 3 times the size it was last year!!!  I crammed so much produce into it last year and I knew if I wanted to do more canning this fall that the garden had to increase in size.  In picture below the original garden is the left side of the garden where the black tiles are sticking up.  We use railroad ties to outline our garden and keep it as a raised garden.  So the lines dividing my garden into three sections are the railroad ties. The front right corner is the only thing that got planted after this picture was taken and that corner contains my watermelon and cantaloupe. This year we also made a new fence around the garden to keep wild animals at bay.  Those crazy deer, squirrel, rabbits, wild turkeys and such that roam our yard!!!

In my garden this year I have planted
4 big boy tomatoes
6 roma tomatoes
2 green pepper plants
2 mini sweet colored pepper plants
1 banana pepper plant
1 habenaro pepper plant
1 salsa garden pepper plant
1 orange pepper plant
1 eggplant
2 rows of  detroit beets
2 rows of bush green beans
1 row of green onions
3 plants of english cucumbers
2 rows of lettuce
2 rows of sugar snap peas
2 zuchinni plants
1 yellow squash plant
5 bush pickler plants
3 hills of cantaloupe
2 hills of watermelon
rhubarb plant
and in the back right corner I have 3 plots of herbs (cilantro, parsley and basil)
and on the left edge of the picture you see a dark soil spot...this is dill.

The white dot in the center of the garden is the water source.  Nick dug a trench and put pvc pipe underground from our house out to the garden so that there is no water hose strung across the yard.  This allows for a wonderful sprinkler to sit amidst the garden and water it with ease. (hence the turquoise sprinkler sitting in mid air).

I use cut grass as my soil cover to keep weeds at bay and soil moist.  It works awesome and then its great for compost come fall.  Looks like I'll be busy this fall when all that produce is ready.

Actually......I started a bit of canning today already.....


Monday, April 27, 2015

Happy 3rd Birthday!!

April 23rd was Ellie's birthday.  We had a large party for her back on April 11th and had 32 guests.  Since I don't have enough room indoors I set up the party out in our garage.  It worked well and Im thinking of having Elijah's out there to in May.  It was a crazy busy weekend and so I decided Haystacks would be an easy meal.  Thanks to who all helped bring toppings and fresh fruit salad.
Ellie adores Sofia the First and thus gave me a great party theme.  It never fails that she requests that movie every time we enter into the vehicle.  

 Eating her yummy haystack and fruit.  I also made a purple cow punch as the choice of beverage.
 We put Ellie and all her gifts on the steps in the garage so everyone could see her quite well.  She was cracking me up.....thrilled to open gifts then totally "show off" as she opened each gift.  Such a girl in SO MANY WAYS!!  Below she was flipping her hair around as she proceeded to put her new sunglasses onto her shirt and her purple headband into her hair.
 After gifts its always time for cake and ice cream.  She was pleased to pose with her princess cake.

                                            Ready set blow!!!
 Because of the number of guests we had I also made rose designed cupcakes.  It was my first time at making roses actually and I loved it.  Guess I know what I plan to do for her 4th birthday:).
Ellie Mae....oh how you light up our lives.  You are a true joy to have in the family.  We love your spunk and love the fun little things you do that make us laugh.  So very thankful to be your parents and look forward to what is in store for your life ahead.  We love you!!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Easter 2015

As usual we did candy filled eggs and also dye'd a dozen hard boiled eggs this easter.  Kids enjoy it, so I try and keep the tradition alive:).  




 Of course once the eggs are filled and colored, Nick and I head outdoors to hide them.  Elijah and Caden are getting way better at finding eggs, and Ellie is nearly passing up Liam in the "finding egg" department.  Liam didn't find a single one on his own this year.  I had to tell him specifically which bush to look in.  I think he thinks they will just jump out at him.



                                             Happy Easter!!

Life in the day of a girl....

....is so very different than life of a boy:)  It has been a complete JOY having a daughter in the midst of all these boys.  I love seeing how different they are yet, because she has older brothers she isn't completely all girl.
 If mommy does her hair, then you will find Ellie sitting on our bathroom counter "doing" her hair too.  Needless to say I have never been able to leave her creations in her hair as they are "way to wild" :)
 She doesn't typically take a nap, but you will almost always find her taking a nap on the week that I drive our little school bus to the private school our kids attend.
 Sadly this isn't the best picture but in her hands she has a baby doll in which she was talking to and having the baby doll look into her vanity set mirror.  so precious watching her.
 This winter I took to running laps around my basement and up my basement stairs and around my living room then back down to the basement I would go.  Over and over for around 30 minutes.  I did this all winter 3x a week.  Ellie got to be quite the runner herself.  She would run laps around the basement and periodically run up the steps too.  Below is her gear she wore one day....notice the cell phone in her hands. She said she was "wearing glasses" and "listening to music on her phone".  All of which I do too:)
 Many times she will disappear to the basement to go play in her kitchen.  She can be pretty creative as she makes her "soup" and I don't have a picture of it, but one day I went to check her out and she had all these lego men in her pot....just stirring away.
 There is always plenty of time for dress up too.  She is very much into Sophia the First.
 One day as I was getting my running clothes on she came running to me telling me she had her "head phones" and was ready to run.  HAAAAHAA!!!
 Another week of driving.....she fell asleep in the middle of the living room floor this time.
When her brothers are home from school and it isn't just Ellie and I in the house, you will catch Ellie wrestling with her brothers, playing cars in the basement and carrying around a Nerf gun.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Spring Break 2015

This year we drove to Sarasota Florida for our spring break and we got to spend a week staying at my sister Tricia and hubby Mark's house.  Unfortunently their girls were NOT on spring break but we tried to do several things with them when they got out of school for the day and we made the most of the weekend with them too.  What a wonderful week we had with great weather, and wonderful hosts!!  Thanks so much Koehl's for letting us crash at your place.  Pictures in no particular order....
 We all went out to eat at Bonefish one evening.  Kids had their own table and got compliments on being well behaved by surrounding tables:).
 One day Rain was in the forecast so we took our kids to a dollar theater and watched Paddington.  Really super cute movie!!  Ellie fell asleep pretty much at the beginning of the movie.
 We went to the beach Saturday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and played all day from 10am-4pm.  Kids had fun and each day Elijah was determined to build or create something.



This day they decided a bench to eat lunch would be ideal.....so with Nick's help they created a large couch and it worked awesome for lunch time or just to sit and rest. 

Ellie would get pretty tired out there all day so we would bring her "blankie" and make a little shaded bed area for her to nap.  Worked well when she did nap:).

 Lots of playing was had and LOTS of ice cream eating too.  EVERY night in fact!!!  Kids standing around waiting patiently for their ice cre





 One day we had amazing waves....Kept the boys very busy.




 Thursday evening Grandpa and Grandma Gutwein treated us all to Sweet Tomato's Restaurant.  Yummy!!!
 Nick was kind enough to play "lunch and house" with Ellie.  So cute!!
What a great trip we had.  Only two days of rain and the rest where warm, sunny and amazing.  Thanks again to Mark, Tricia and girls for letting us come stay with you!!!

Happy 6th Birthday!!

March 20th was Liam's birthday.  Hard to believe he turned 6 years old, but then again each year seems to pass by quicker than the previous year.  Liam is very much into Nerf Guns and thus making his decor and cake Nerf themed.
 Kids at their "usual" spots eating dinner.  Liam wanted Hamburgers for his meal.  I then had mom bring orange tapioca jello salad, made some orange carrot "nerf" bullets, and had orange punch for drink.
 Time for gifts.  He got a new nerf gun, some bullets, a water gun, clothes, adventures in Odyssey cd's, candy, sand toys, sidewalk chalk and much more.

 Cake time!!  Happy 6th Birthday Liam Nicholas.  We love you dearly and enjoy watching you learn and come home from Kindergarten with such knowledge:).