Friday, July 30, 2010

The Birthday Dress


I just finished this dress for Katie's birthday in September. She caught me working on it once when she woke up early, but she didn't even ask what it was, so its going to be a big surprise for her. She likes dressing up and being a 'princess,' so I think she'll like it. Even more exciting, I made it out of curtains I found at a yard sale!! :) The buttons, which are not as crooked as they look, are from Grandma Cheyney's button stash! I think its going to be big on her for a while, but at least she'll get lots of time to wear it.

How Could I Forget?

...to post this picture:
I guess this is what happens when someone has too much time figuring out features on their cell phone. One of Jeff's coworkers did this. Disturbing.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Squash, anyone?

We are swimming in squash around here. The 'Boston Pickling Cucumbers' I planted ended up being Patty Pan squash. Someone was not paying attention the day they packaged those seeds. Incidentally that's the second time that has happened to me, last year being the Green Zebra tomatoes that came out red, and decidedly un-Zebra-like. The trouble with this year's seed mix-up is that I'd already planted a very similiar type of Patty Pan squash. Now, its ATTACK OF THE SQUASH BRIGADE every time I go into the garden. So far, I've used it to make Zucchini Yeast Rolls, sauteed squash, roasted squash, steamed squash, squash with fresh basil, Zucchini Chocolate Cake, Vegetable Chowder, Veggie Pizza, Veggie roll-ups, squash and black bean quesadillas, and squash pancakes! (Yes, I stooped to that level, and no one was the wiser for it.) I've resorted to picking them really little so I can try grilling them whole, and so they take up less room in the fridge. :)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Farm Day

Tuesday is the day we usually go to the CSA. Today we had a lot of fun. We met some goats, walked on the nature trail, and picked up a whole lot of delicious food, including blackberries and yellow watermelon! The kids found a little 'cave' in the sunflower field to take a break in.

Katie ate her weight in cherry tomatoes. I am not sure if we brought many home after she was finished raiding the basket. Tyler brought home more than his fair share of dirt, and cheeks stained with blackberry juice. James went all Bear Gryles on us while on the nature trail, picking up a big log to use. After telling him he could not keep it to make a raft, he decided to make a lean-to shelter instead.
I am so glad we bought a share at the farm, not just for the food but for the experience of it all.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Sunday Stills: Rule of Thirds

"...put your subject into the upper or lower part of the shot or in the left or right half of the pic. Composition is the name of the game here and you can use any subject you find."

(Taken Friday at the Burlington County Farm Fair)


Watching the Dressage competition


Beautiful old Tractor in the antique tractor show








Farm Fair Pictures

Antique Tractors


Funny signs: My favorite sign is the one on the top right. They actually went so far as to laminate the poster so that it could include 3-D stomach contents!



I feel like this cow deserves its own post. How hilarious is this?! I love it. Painting the cow's entire digestion system, complete with arrows, really puts it over the top! This 'cow' is for practice milking.


We saw creepy singing vegetables, sat on a hay bale horse, rode a pedal tractor (the kids, not me!), and withered in the heat


James was a huge fan of the tractors. He went from one to the next with a big smile on his face.


Awesome curly-haired sheep. I think we are kindred spirits. Sadly, this sheep's curls hold up better in the humidity then mine do :)


$10 Pony Ride!?! Technically it was $5, but Katie (surprisingly) got scared and refused to go on a pony, so I paid $10 for one ride. That's the way it goes. As you can see, they had a very cheerful and chipper guy to motivate the ponies to move. He had that same expression on the whole time, even when he told the girl before James 'Good job,' with absolutely no expression in his voice. James, on the other hand, was a very happy camper!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Guess What We Found?


A real live, honest to goodness fair. The kind with real farm animals, tractors and 4-H projects! Good ol' 4-H...not sure we even have that around here. Anyway, we went to the Burlington County Farm Fair this morning (in NJ). It was very fun, and very hot. Mom came and we really had a good time watching the kids experience it all. They were quite excited to see all the animals and go from tent to tent seeing the different kinds. (I refrained from stuffing a chicken or two in my purse) More pictures to come, when I get my brain back in order. The heat wiped us out.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Precious


The other night at dinner we heard some thunder. (Or as Katie calls it 'fun-dair) Katie has been really scared by thunder lately, and she ran off to find James' ear muffs. She wouldn't take them off and actually fell asleep with them. I took them off for her, but only after taking a picture!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

An Experience


We just got back from quite the morning. We drove about 45 minutes to a blueberry farm in South Jersey. At one point I thought I had mistakenly drove myself right into Fort Dix Army base. There was razor wire everywhere, soldiers in fatigues with big guns, but it turns out the road goes through part of the base and back out. When we arrived at the blueberry farm it was quite a site. The sign said closed but the owner had told me over the phone that 'we open before you even wake up!' (8:00am...ha, ha! I have kids. We're on to second breakfast by then...) It was a ramshackle affair, with several old trucks, tractors and an air-stream trailer. There was a radio playing somewhere among abandoned automobile carcasses, and an ancient metal water cooler sitting in the shade near a notebook. There was a really old red truck, with a sign stating that blueberries were $1.25 a pound, that a coffee can full weighs 4 pounds, and please don't waste!!! Also, it said to visit the 'webb site.'

Now, when I spoke with the farmer via phone, he referred to it as his 'patch'. I think 'empire' or 'dynasty' would be better terms. There were fields all around, and even across the highway. As I was trying to get my bearings, another car pulled up with a random assortment of individuals speaking a language I never could figure out. They, apparently, had been there before. As I was talking to them, up pulls Fred himself on his tractor. I would guess he is pushing 80. He is quite a character. The other people must be regulars because he said something like 'oh, its you again.' Everyone began to take these rusty coffee can contraptions off the truck and tie them around their waists. The older lady asked Fred to tie hers on. Apparently she is looking for a little Fred love, although Fred is a married man. He gave her a hard time about it and asked her where her husband was. She said he was 'gone.' She asked him to tie three buckets to her (in her heavy accent) which clearly she didn't need. Apparently she always asks Fred (not her companions) to tie her buckets on. All the while he is heckling her about it. Then he turns to us and fires off numerous questions: What are you going to do with those babies? Are you going to take them with you? How are you going to pick anything? They may be better pickers than you. Why are you dressed for the beach? This is a FARM! A FARM! You are dressed for the beach. Look at you! What about the baby? Oh, I can't tell you what to do, now can I? Do you have sunblock? Where is your hat? You're dressed for the beach, not the farm! It was quite amusing. He then turned to the other group and told them to 'take care of the babies. Help her with the babies. Oh, you're gonna have to walk. You help them walk. Its a long way.' So, off we went, the foreign people and I, schlepping my kids with numerous rusty coffee cans tied to our wastes with ancient ropes. Fred yelled after us, 'Does someone have a cell phone? A cell phone?????' The people alternated between talking to us in English and amongst themselves in the mysterious foreign language. For the record one of the ladies names was Carmela, and they called her Carmelita too. After about 45 minutes of 90 degree heat, my kids were done being patient and I had managed to pick 2.5 coffee cans full. (for the record, the foreign people were so busy chatting it up that I picked more than they did, by myself. ha!) I headed back with three very filthy children hanging off me, and three cans of blueberries tied around my waist. We passed Carmelita and she helped me on the way back. When I set Tyler down to dismantle my blueberry carrying apparatus, she picked him right up and cooed over him. Strangers picking up my kids usually is not my thing. But she seemed nice. Anyway, out comes Fred from the middle of nowhere. He immediately takes my blueberries and puts them in the shade so they don't get hot while I am paying. He charged me $8.75 for the whole kaboodle. I was pretty happy with that. After packing my filthy kids up we headed off to the CSA farm to pick up our share. They used the time I was picking green beans to accessorize with another generous layer of mud. Now we're home, somewhat cleaner, with the air-conditioning cranked up. I've had enough excitement for one day, thank-you-very-much!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Say Cheese!


We should not be left alone with the camera!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Sunday Stills: Summer

Flowers


Tomatoes


Hydrangeas


Mud/Happy Children/Ruined Outfits


Watermelon


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Big Things for James

There has been a lot going on in the life of James lately. Learning to ride his bike, visiting new places, swimming lessons, and Vacation Bible School. The first day of VBS he did good. He had a lot of fun, and was only a little bit sad when I left. The second day, he was more upset, but I knew he would have fun. They said he took an hour to settle down. Poor guy. But when I asked if he had fun, he said yes. I asked him if there was anything he didn't like and he said no, he liked it all. Then yesterday, he had a complete meltdown and I couldn't get him to calm down or stay. Even his teacher seemed apprehensive about him staying. So we went home. Today, who knows. His swimming lessons started off with a bang, kicking and screaming. He wouldn't get near the pool. He wouldn't even stick his toes in. Any time I got near him to try to coax him in, he would jump up and cling to me like a lizard to a wall. I could hardly peel him off. Finally, after the suggestion of the instructor, I took the other two off to the playground while he basically took James into the water kicking and screaming. Of course I am wondering if I am going to scar him for life, and if he'll be afraid of the water. I just wanted to run over and rescue him. James is naturally a timid kid and I knew he would probably need some sort of encouragement to do it, but I wasn't sure that was the right thing to do. Sometimes being a mom is really hard. Anyway, the second day I really thought would be the same. All day I talked to him about how he would love swimming once he could stop being afraid. I told him being afraid is normal but if he tried it out he would realize how fun it was. I also told him to play a trick on his teacher. (He is really into tricks) I told him that when the teacher told him to do something (like stand in the pool) to just do it, and the teacher would be 'tricked' because he wouldn't believe that James would/could do it. We also prayed that James would be brave and try it out. Well, he did. He was a little timid at first but the teacher really worked with him, got him in the water and to participate in almost all the activities. He even swam out in the deep end with James. Now James says he wants to swim every single day, all the time!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Especially For Uncle Phil

James riding his two-wheeler

Installment Numero Dos of the Jeff-Radio Saga

Once we finally decided to let the ol' boom box rest in peace, it was time to get something new. For quite some time, Jeff has had his eye on a sound system at BJ's. It has cute little speakers, each about the size of a pint jar. The reciever was small too, maybe the size of a Kleenex box. I was excited to have something smaller and less beastly to replace the boom box. However, anyone who knows Jeff, knows that he will research something, uh, thoroughly. So, after much research, he found that there was a different system that was better for what he wanted. The speakers were only a 'little bigger,' but they would sound so much better. So, he made the plunge and purchased the speakers.

And the reciever.


And the CD player.

Who knew that it took so much equipment to listen to a song. Talk about bait and switch. My dreams of having more space for books was quickly dying. In fact, we had to change out our bookshelf with a hutch we had in the garage, so that the new sound system could be closed up, away from grubby little paws. While I was still trying to get over the fact that the stereo system had become a monster, Jeff informed me that he had to get a sub woofer. I didn't think to ask how big it was, and when it arrived, well, I wasn't too thrilled. Behold, the beast:

While I am still reeling from this latest addition to our already crowded abode, Jeff is playing Tina Turner like a maniac, and blasting anything that has a lot of bass. Ugh. If this doesn't end soon, I fear we'll become one of 'those' neighbors. But hey, when I see a face this excited, I can't help but feel a little bit happy for him. And it was his birthday present afterall.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Happy First Birthday Tyler!

I can't believe you are a year old already! We love you!


(The pictures aren't the greatest but our computer is misbehaving so they'll have to do)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Installment Numbero Uno of the Jeff-Radio Saga

Jeff came into our marriage with very few possessions. In fact, he was able to move in one trip, filling only a portion of the trunk of his Cavalier. As a side note, Jeff had, shall we say, a 'special' rug at the time of our nuptials. (Oh, how I love the word nuptials, makes me laugh) The rug was one of those things that 'might be worth something.' It hung on the wall above his bed. There were a multitude of things wrong with this rug, such as the color scheme (blue and gold, with black), its large size, and the scene the rug depicted. I mean, who doesn't want a humongous blue and gold rug depicting a lion eating a gazelle hanging on their wall. And as an added bonus? It had an elephant in the background, complete with a rider. Sweet. Anyway, as our one and only prenuptial agreement, it was decided that the rug would not be entering our marriage because Jeffrey plus Megan plus Ugly rug equals unhappy wife. And if Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy. But I digress. One thing that did make it in the final cut was a boom box, which we have had ever since. Considering we have been married almost 10 years, the boom box is getting on in years. I have put in many a complaint about the boom box. It has taken up the entire bottom bookshelf for the last 9.5 years. It is big, beastly and as of late, starting to fall apart. Its been a few years since the tape deck worked. The CD player has become temperamental in the last few months. It has come to my attention recently that not only is the boom box old, its really old. Jeff admitted that he may have had it since the 7th grade! Low and behold, after a little investigation, we found that it was manufactured in September of 1995. That makes him 14 years old at the time of purchase. After much, uh, encouragement to get rid of the thing, Jeff finally agreed it that it was OK to let go and move on. I was very relieved to find out that he had his eyes on a very small, compact sound system that was...did I mention? ...smaller! Oh, and actually worked. Bonus! But alas, the best laid plans don't always work out. Tune in tomorrow for the second installement of the Jeff-Radio Saga.

PS. James had his first day of Vacation Bible School and Swimming Lessons today. One went very well, and one went very badly. I'll post about that sometime this week. Oh, the suspense! Yeah, right!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Covered Wagon

If you haven't noticed yet, James has quite an interest in farming, cowboys, horses, etc.. A few weeks ago, we found an awesome book at the library called Great Pioneer Projects You Can Build Yourself. The project that James found right away was a covered wagon. We used the directions from the book, fancied it up some, and came up with a pretty cool toy. James also put in a request for a yoke for his horses, Mike and Choya. (Thank God for pipe cleaners and Popsicle sticks!) The wagon has been played with a lot over the last few weeks. Lately James has also been playing a lot with Lincoln logs. He loves to build little towns, complete with stables and 'forests' and firewood piles.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Rain! Vegetables! Milestones! And other randomness....

  • It is raining here. We haven't had rain all month. Its been very HOT and very DRY. So rain is nice. And, that's one day I don't have to water my garden.
  • Speaking of garden, the Squash Monster has taken up residence in my garden. Every time I turn around there are new full-sized squash to pick. Right now I have 7 Patty Pan Squash, a Zucchini, two Cukes, among other things, stashed away in my fridge. And that is only because yesterday I used three big squash for a huge batch of Zucchini Yeast Rolls. Zucchini, its taking over the world.
  • Part of my overabundance of zucchini came from our CSA share. I thought, for kicks, I'd post a picture of our weekly share. Crazy, huh?
(Please note Tyler's Blueberry Beard)
  • My firstborn, who was just born last week, or so it seems, has dispensed with the training wheels on his bike and is catching on with amazing speed (if I do say so myself). Jeff took his training wheels off, held him a couple times and he was off. Now he can get going himself and can ride clear across the patio, or through the yard. He still has a ways to go, but I am amazed how quickly he is catching on!
  • Tyler is turning a year old next week. How did this happen??? Jeff is lucky they don't sell babies at the grocery store, or I'd be coming home with another one every year or two.
  • And apparently, I am not the only one who has had horrible experiences with the USPS as evidenced by the comments. Jeff even showed up to make a comment, and considering he never reads the blog, I am impressed.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

I Apologize In Advance (USPS Rant Ahead)

As if I didn't despise the USPS enough! Yesterday I received two boxes from my sister-in-law in the mail. As I was opening the first one, I was cursing her for how much tape she used. I planned on calling her and asking if she intended for me to chop my arm off opening the boxes. Then, I realized that the package had been opened. Scratch that. The package had been reconstructed all together. It appeared that the original box had been destroyed, so they cut the top of the box off and taped it onto a new box. They wrapped the whole darn thing in layers of that fibrous packing tape with a sweet little label reading 'We're sorry. You're package was damaged in transit. We hope it doesn't cause you any inconvenience. Bla, bla, bla.' When I finally get the box open, I am greeted with a strong, musty, moldy smell. I picked up the first item, and it was damp. And moldy. And stinky. The box contained mostly clothes, for the kids (birthdays, etc.) All of the clothes smelled pretty nasty, and one dress is most like ruined because it has dark gray mold stains all over it. From what I can tell, the original box must have been soaked, and they repacked the (wet!!!) contents into a new box, sealed it up, and took 14 days delivering it. (It was sent Priority Mail!!!) The other box she sent also had that the same label. I opened that one up to find 19 cans of Squirt. One was leaking. They looked like they had taken a tumble down the conveyor belt as they were very scratched up. Now the Squirt, I can understand. It is a can of liquid, and apparently more of the burst and that was the reason they had to repack that box. They removed the exploded cans and repacked it. I can handle that. But what happened to the clothes?! They aren't sticky, or smelling of Squirt, so I can deduce that they were damaged in another incident all together and not from sitting near the Squirt box. Fabulous service, yet again, by the USPS. I can only hope the box I just mailed to my friend Erin will get there intact, and heck, maybe even within a month or two since I sent it Parcel Post. I should have sent it Pony Express.

PS. On a happy note, we are now the proud owners of 18 cans of Squirt, and 6 cans of Green Chile Sauce....Colorado Contraband!!!

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

I LOVE This Boy!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Last But Not Least....


We had our trusty friends Eric and Candi over on Monday to hang out for a while. We have been friends since they were engaged. Now, here we are with six kids between us and a lot of good memories together! Thanks guys for being a part of our lives. What would we do without you? :)

Weekend Fiestas! (Part Two)

On Sunday we went up to our friends' house for a get-together. They live up in the 'boonies' of our county and it is always nice to get away from it all for a while. Jeff took the kids fishing on the pond on their property. James caught two fish! He wouldn't hold them. Katie wanted Jeff to catch her one so she could hold it. Fishing in that pond is like fishing in a fishbowl, and with a few casts Jeff caught one for her. He let her reel it in and she held it until it jumped from her hands into the grass. That upset her so bad she screamed and cried and freaked out. Jeff and I were laughing so hard it was difficult to catch our breath. She said something along the lines of 'that tinkin' fish jumped outta my hands in da dwass!' And 'I'm never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever......dunna hold a fish a-din!' I wish we had it on tape, it was that good.


Who says slip-and-slides for just for kids? Well, it was so hot I decided to go a few times. You do hit a little harder as an adult then as a 35 pound kid! But it was still fun.


Tyler had fun splashing in a little water

Weekend Fiestas! (Part One)


Jeff's Birthday Celebration




(I love this picture!!!)