Thursday, July 28, 2011

Green Green Garden!

I am so excited about the harvest I pulled in from the garden today.  There was so much of it!  :D  Add that on top of what I have gotten over the last couple of days and I really need to figure out what to do with some of it.

I am making my second batch of half sour pickles (which are turning out better than the first batch) and have at LEAST enough to make a third round...but I think I might want to try making some regular dill pickles instead.  I have TONS of zucchini to use.  I think I am going to make some zucchini bread or zucchini chocolate chip muffins.  If I still have extra I will probably shred it and freeze it.

I have a bunch of bell peppers that are needing to be used too.  I think a batch of stuffed bell peppers are in to eat and one to freeze.

Now if my tomatoes would just ripen so I could make some spaghetti sauce we would be in business.

I plan to head to the grocery store and pick up a couple of lugs of peaches so that I can start canning those.  I love this time of year.

Our butternut squash plants are going WILD!  Soon we will have more squash than we know what to do with.  I can't wait to start freezing that so that Dragonfly will have some yummy squash to try later this winter.

<3 Alison

Friday, July 22, 2011

Results: Half Sour Pickles

The Half Sour Pickles that I gave you the recipe to earlier this week are done!  Over the last 18hrs I have been testing them to see if they were "done".  This morning when I tasted one and it was done to my desired taste.  So I pulled out my jars loaded them with pickles and brine and stuck them in the fridge.  I can't wait to have some for lunch when they are nice and chilled.  Yummmmmm....

Here is a little pic of what they look like.  :)

I have 3 more jars this size in my fridge.  :)  I am so excited that they turned out and that they were SO easy to make! I hope you all enjoy them as much as I do!
<3 Alison

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Half Sour Pickles

I haven't shared a recipe or craft in such a long time I thought it was about time that I did so!  So here we go!  Ever since I had half sour pickles at Ted's Montana Grill in Ohio I have loved them!  This year I am going to make some of my own.  

I found this recipe on the web and this is what I am planning to use.

12 small, firm Kirby cucumbers
1 large clove garlic, unpeeled
Big hunk of fresh dill, including seed heads, if available
1 generous tsp pickling spice
1/4 cup kosher salt
1/4 cup white vinegar
2-1/2 quarts water
Wash the cucumbers; be sure to cut away any blemishes, and trim off any stems. Place them in a large nonreactive (ceramic, glass, or stainless steel) bowl. Cut the unpeeled garlic in half, and add it to the bowl along with the dill and pickling spice.
In a pot, place kosher salt, white vinegar and water. Bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes. Pour the hot brine over the cucumbers, and weight down with a plate or two, or another bowl, to keep the cukes submerged. Leave on the counter for at least 24 hours, and up to 48 hours. The longer the cucumbers sit in the brine, the more sour they'll get.
Pack the cucumbers into any type of jars, and pour in enough brine to fill the jars. Cover tightly, and refrigerate. Because these pickles aren't processed in a water bath, they will last 3-4 weeks in the refrigerator; don't store them at room temperature.

Give me a couple of days and we will see what the result is!

<3 Alison 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Garden: Let the harvesting begin!

I have been really slow at updating on my garden so here it goes!

We have been really blessed with a great garden this year.  I give all the credit to my hubby and my dad.  My dad helped us get it started and my hubby has been keeping it going.  Everything is looking great, and, from what we have tried, tastes pretty good too.  Here are some pictures of what we have been getting so far.

The haul from tonight including our first peas, jalapeno, onion and bell pepper!

Our first green bean!

Our first cucumbers

Our first carrot

Yummy lettuce and zucchini!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Today's Steal!

Today I took all four kids out shopping.  That means (for those of you who don't live here) that I load up four kids, drive 90 minutes, and go shopping.  This kind of trip can end one of two ways, everyone rested and ready for some shopping or a hoard of crabby children being drug around a store with their overly exhausted mommy.  Luckily, today I had the former!  :)  YAY kids!  All four of them took naps on the way to go shopping.

First stop was JoAnn's to pick up blackout lining.  I am needing to sew some of it on to the kids' great hopes we can make the mornings a little bit later.  :)

Second stop was Once Upon A Child.  HUGE SCORE!  They were having a clearance sale on (what I assume was) last years winter stuff.  I got 5 sweaters, 5 long sleeve t-shirts, a pair of fall capris (read: corduroy capris), and a skirt.  I then found 2 pairs of thick tights and a pair of thick footless tights.  Grand total:  $20!  I am SO excited!  They are all great brands too, so I know they will last at least through Bee's needs.

Then we were off to Target.  Ahhh, Target.  How I have missed Target.  :)  It was time to stock up on diapers for Bubby (he is a day time cloth diapered kids and a night time sposie kid) and Dragonfly, wipes, nursing pads, and a bunch of other miscellaneous things.  I also had Butterfly pick out all of her school supplies for the beginning of the year.  Target had some good sales and it worked out really well for what I needed.  She is REALLY excited about going to kindergarten and was glad that she got to choose her supplies (most of which is in pink and purple).

Then it was time to go home.  It was then we realized how hot it was.  I refilled everyones water bottles, rolled down the front windows and turned the fan on.  We were hot but not too hot (read: the a/c doesn't work but we survived the 110* heat index).

I would say that our first trip out to a place other than the library was a complete success!  I am so proud of my kids.  They did such a great job today which made the day work REALLY well.

Off to go find dreamland!
<3 Alison

Sunday, July 17, 2011

So here's the plan...

This week starts the beginning of my new lifestyle change.  :)  I am so excited!  My friend has graciously written a workout plan for me and is getting me started with a nutrition plan as well.  I am so grateful for her and her expertise.

For the first 5 days I have written out what I am planning to eat for all of my meals/snacks.  I have followed the guidelines that she gave me and am really excited about the outcome.  I think as long as I pay attention to when my body says, "OK, I am full.  You can stop now!"  I will be good.  :)

Tomorrow the older girls have VBS in the morning and after that we are heading out to go shopping.  Doing some back to school shopping and household shopping.  It may take me the rest of the day to get the shopping done but that will be ok.  I am throwing a chicken in the crock-pot before we leave so we will have dinner ready when we get home.

Here's to hoping that all goes well and we can get lots accomplished.  :)

Have a good night everyone!  :)
<3 Alison

Friday, July 15, 2011

Cha-Cha-Cha Changes!

I am really excited!  Before I got pregnant with our little Dragonfly I was on track with losing weight and getting healthy.  I had lost 20lbs!  And then we found out that Dragonfly was on the way and the weight loss had to stop for now.  I cannot tell you how sad I was!  I was so ready to lose the baby weight and all the extra weight I had been carrying around.  I was ready to be healthy!

Now that Dragonfly is here I am ready again!  I am ready to start my journey again!  Almost all of the weight that I gained while I was pregnant with Dragonfly is gone already, I didn't gain too much so much of the weight was lost as soon as I had Dragonfly (think baby, fluids, etc).  I am about 5lbs away from my pre-pregnancy weight.

I have a fabulous friend from Ohio who is going to be helping me with my weight loss again.  I cannot WAIT to get started!  She helped me lose those 20lbs before Dragonfly so I am confident that she will be able to get me on a plan that I can live with.  Her workouts are hard but they are so worth it and it is VERY rewarding!  I never thought I would be a person who was excited about working

I have lots of reasons to get healthy.  I have four beautiful children that I need to be healthy for, I have a husband that loves me dearly and I want to be healthy for him so we can spend MANY years together.  I have a strong family history of health problems.  We have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes running strong in the family.  I don't want to be a 20-something with those issues.  Those things are my motivating factors for getting healthy.

Dragonfly is fussing so it is time for me to go.  Hope you all have a GREAT weekend!
<3 Alison

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

My how time flies!

I can't believe it has been 5 days since I blogged last!  What is wrong with me?  Oh yeah, I just had a  As silly as it seems, I keep forgetting that I *JUST* had her!  She is just 2 1/2 weeks old and I feel like I WANT to get things done and, like yesterday, I did them.  Only problem was, I did them ALL in the span of about 2 hours.  I baked, I cooked, I cleaned as well as nursing a baby and taking care of the older three.  And I wonder why today I feel like a truck ran over me.  Someday I will learn.

Today Dragonfly is very clingy.  She just wants mommy to hold her.  So that is what I am doing.  Whether I am sitting on the couch holding her or she is in the ring sling she has been on me/with me for most of the day.

Dragonfly had her first at home bath yesterday!  She was SO mad!  LOL!  She is now a sparkly clean little baby...well she was at least until the next diaper change.  ;)  Going with tradition, she had her first at home bath in the kitchen sink.  Now granted, each of our kids have been born in a different house so each of them was first bathed in a different sink, but it is still a tradition.  :)

This morning I had the presence of mind to take out a pound of hamburger from the freezer so I could make spaghetti for dinner.  It was only about 15 minutes ago that I realized that I do not have spaghetti sauce or we will be saving the beef until tomorrow and will be having french toast for dinner.

Off to go thaw some french toast out!
<3 Alison

Thursday, July 7, 2011

12 days old

Our little Dragonfly is 12 days old and today is the first day that I have been by myself with all four kids.  We made it out of the house today, we headed to Bible study at church.  We did ok!  :)  We actually got to church on time!  :D

It is very different to get four kids ready as opposed to three.  The older girls are pretty self sufficient.  I can tell them go get dressed, brush your hair and teeth, and they will.  But I now have to get Bubby and Dragonfly ready as well as myself.  I made sure to get up before Hubby left for work so that I could get a shower.

Yesterday, Dragonfly had her 1 week appointment at the doctors office to check on her bilirubin levels and to do a weight check.  They said she looked great and that she is only a mere ounce short of her birth weight!  YAY!  They like to see babies back to their birth weight by 2 weeks and Dragonfly is just a few days shy of that.  I am confident that she will hit that milestone.  :)

Last night we had a little mishap at the house.  Butterfly was getting a piggy back ride from my niece and some how fell off or tried to get off and hit her head and my niece landed on her stomach.  OUCH!  After a few scary moments of Butterfly passing out everything was ok again.  We had her take it easy for the rest of the evening and she is feeling much better today.  Thank goodness!

Well, it is time to get some housework done before I am too tired to do it.
Have a good one!
<3 Alison

Sunday, July 3, 2011

A few pictures

Today I just wanted to post a few pictures.  We are gearing up for two cookouts tomorrow, one at my aunts house and one here.  We will also be celebrating Bee's birthday tomorrow evening.  Bee will be turning four on Tuesday...can you believe it?!?!?!

<3 Alison

Saturday, July 2, 2011

One week old!

Our little Dragonfly is one week old today, actually almost to the minute as I type this.  It has been a busy week for us.  Saturday through Monday we were in the hospital.  Tuesday-Thursday we were at one hospital or another getting blood tests run for her.  Friday we got to take her on her first real outting...the coffee shop and the library.

I can't believe a week has already gone by.  It is amazing.  She is eating and sleeping really well now that she is off of the biliblanket.

The "big" kids came home on Thursday evening.  They are in love with their baby sister.  They want to hold her every chance that they can.  Even Bubby wants to hold her!  He can be a little rough but we remind him that he can't do that and he stops.  Both of the girls are very big helpers.

I am really hoping to be able to stick to a routine so that the trasition goes more smoothly.  My parents helped clean the house when they were here yesterday and helped me get caught up on laundry and my sister will be here today to help get me in the groove of cooking and such again.  With any luck we can keep our weekly activites together as well (Thursday Bible study and Friday library day).

Kids are needing some Mommy time so I am going to go love on them.  :)
Happy 4th of July weekend!

<3 Alison

Friday, July 1, 2011

We're FREE!!!

Yesterday we got the fabulous news that D was allowed to be done with her biliblanket!  YAY!  Her bilirubin levels had dropped enough that the doctor was confident in her body's abilites to continue to lower.  :)  I am so happy!  It is so nice to be able to carry her around the house and to be able to nurse her without a giant cord.

Today we ventured out to the coffee shop and the library.  My parents are here so it was a great big help.  the kids had poppy seed muffins at the coffee shop and the grown ups had coffee.  Then we headed to the library.  The girls got to collect their prizes from their summer reading club and they got to choose new books to read.  We have already read our 15 minutes for the day since being  :)

My parents are heading home tonight and my sister will be coming in tomorrow.  I am so thankful that my family is here this weekend.  They are a huge help.

Today is super hot so I think after naps we will send the kids outside and set up the sprinkler and they can have popsicles for snack.  Sounds like a perfect summer afternoon.  :)

Hope you all are doing well!
<3 Alison