Thursday, May 31, 2012

This too shall pass

Well, after 13 years of parenting (almost), I have finally found what I can't handle.... It's been a tough week around our house.  Last week my baby came down with strep throat.  That was a first in our house.  He was really sick!  I don't remember strep being this bad.  The poor kid was in bed for 3 days, but started feeling better just in time for Memorial Weekend!  Great, we got through that one, right??!!  Well this week I started to notice a rash on the poor little guy and by the next morning it was so bad, I could hardly stomach it.  Between 2 Dr. visits, and 3 visits to the pharmacy and cancelling his swimming lessons for the next two weeks, it's confirmed he had a severe allergic reaction to his meds. 

Now, like I said, I've been a parent for 13 years, and cleaned up a lot of messes with 5 sick kids and it never really bothered me, but this.... this has really got to me!  I can hardly handle it.  The poor guy looks so miserable, and there is nothing we can do, but wait for it to go away and hope the meds kick in soon.  I was in tears when my husband got home from work last night, and I had a realization.  Being a mom is tough (we already knew that right :)!   We have such an emotional attachment to our "job"  This is our flesh and blood we are caring for.  It's emotionally exhausting to care for a sick child, going on 2 weeks now.  It doesn't end at the end of the day.  We go to bed, worried about our child, praying the meds kick in and he doesn't have trouble breathing while he's alseep.  We wake up, and the first thing we think of is our sick child.   Well, I snuck in to check on him this morning, hoping to find some improvement, and there was none.  It will be another long day around here, but this can't last forever.  "This too shall pass".  Thankful for prayer and hope in a loving God, who listens to even the smallest prayers, from a mother who wants her son to feel better soon!

♥  Shannon

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Field trip to the Dairy Farm

We had an opportunity to go visit a local, small dairy farm today.  Some friends from church invited us a few months ago, and we finally made it work.  It was the most beautiful morning.  Sunny, 70's and just beautiful!

They were kind enough to invite us in during their morning milking.  My kids were a bit apprehensive as it was pretty close quarters. 

We even got to see them bottle feed a baby calf.  They had two babies and only one would cooperate.

What I learned about cow's today ;) 

1.  They are only milking cows after they have a calf (makes sense..)
2.  They produce up to 8 gallons of milk a day (I already knew that one)
3.  A baby calf only stays with it's mother for one week, just enough time to nurse and get the nutrients from her colostrum.
4.  A Dairy Farm is ALOT of work and there is NEVER a day of vacation!
5.  Pay for 100 gallons of milk is only $16.00 (seriously??)

It was fun and very educational.  We then headed on down to the house via hay rack to take a tour of the chicken coop.

There were lots of baby kittens around the farm

And this was the kids most favorite spot to play on all the farm...

This was a beautiful (almost) Century old Farm.  Built in 1915.  I loved the character in the barns, home and even the outhouse. 

Even this magnificent tree showed character of just how old this farm really was...

We had a wonderful visit to the dairy farm, and had a great time visiting with new friends.  From my home to yours...

♥  Shannon

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Summer Vacation

We have officially started summer vacation in our home!  Yay for summer, yay for finishing our first year of home school and yay for a break for this mom!  We had a great day yesterday. My husband came home at lunch to start our 3 day weekend and we took the kids out for lunch.  We also stopped by and picked up some flower to decorate our front porch.  Last year, I was so busy unpacking and getting ready for our school year, I neglected the porch and felt this year, I really wanted to decorate it up lovely for summer.  I mean, who doesn't love a front porch!  Yesterday after we hung the flowers, I was sitting out there, drinking a lemonade and a deer ran through the yard.... seriously!    I'm so excited for summer, because this year, I can slow down a bit and enjoy living here. 

And look who wanted to join me on the porch... they are just so darn cute!!

An added bonus... while heading into town, we hit a few garage sales, and I found this country style patriotic wreath for my door.  I love it!

We ended our night with a campfire.  It was a cool, breezy, lazy evening.  The perfect way to end our day and start our summer vacation.  The kids love having a campfire.  We tell stories, sing songs and just enjoy being together.

This weekend we are building a garden shed (pics to come) and the kids are waiting on me to make some blueberry pancakes for brunch.  From my house to yours...

♥  Shannon

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What's growing around here...

I wanted to share a few pictures of what is growing around here!  It's so exciting for me, as most of my fruit trees are now going into their second year, and showing progress.  The garden is also doing much better then last year.  We moved in, last year on Memorial weekend and didn't get to the garden until June.  It was too late, too hot, and not enough rain.  The outcome was more then disappointing.  I feel so blessed to see some green growing in my garden and pray for a better outcome then last!

I have three cherry trees and they are all looking great.  Now, if  I can just keep the birds away!

I have NEVER had any luck with blueberries... I'm thinking this could be the year!

Apples!  I have 15 trees in my little orchard, and I can't wait to have bunches and bunches...

Pumpkins.  These here are Big Max, but we also have plenty of pie pumpkins coming up.

Lettuce, Spinach, Cabbage and Potatoes are doing really well

Along with the corn, tomatoes, peppers, carrots, beans, peas, onions, cucumbers and squash, I count it a blessing.  All we can do is plant and then have a little faith. 

We are in need of some rain, however.  It's been at least two weeks, since the last nice storm. So the kids and I gave the apple trees a good drink of water today.   

 We have been watching the progress of this wild flower growing along the fence line.  I have no idea what it is, but am anxious for it to bloom.  Any ideas, out there on what it could be?

From my garden to yours....

♥  Shannon

Monday, May 21, 2012

Storing spices and stocking up

I made my first trip to the Country Store today.  We have only lived here a year, and so I'm still trying to find all the best places to shop.  Someone from church mentioned to me, about a Mennonite store that sold bulk food items.  I was getting dangerously low on my spices and also was in need of some flour. 

I purchased two 10 pound bags of unbleached flour and lots of different spices.  I was also happy to find a larger box of yeast, then I am able to find in the regular grocery store.  I also like to support the local small town shops.

 I like to make all my own seasoning mixes, such as taco, chili, onion soup, ranch, etc.  So I keep well stocked on spices and mix enough to fill a quart mason jar at a time.  Once again, my handy husband has made it very convenient for me to keep my spices and seasoning mixes all organized.

These white wire pantry shelves, can be purchased at Lowes.  Mason jars are the perfect size for these shelves, and I am able to keep all my homemade seasonings and nuts all stored right inside my pantry door, for easy, convenient access.  As you can see, I was getting pretty low on my seasonings.

I have enough room for all my store bought spices, and all my homemade seasonings.  Here I have two of the shelving units.  One on top and one of the bottom.  In fact, I love these shelves so much, I purchased two more, and put them in my laundry room closet for all my extra items, that I don't use every day, such as jello, puddings, baking supplies, etc.   They are so easy to install, as long as you don't mind screwing them into your pantry door.  It takes about 5 minutes! 

And since we are on the subject of stocking up (sort of)... when I was at the Farmers Market last week, I purchased a bag of extra large 30 pound potatoes.  I wanted to use some for seed and the rest to eat.  Well, the nice older gentlemen, decided that since "I had a lot of kids", he would give me an extra 30 pound bag of the smaller potatoes for free. 

We have already eaten a few, and planted a few.  We still have a lot left, so for the first time, I am freezing diced potatoes.  We will see how they turn out.

 I am thankful for this blessing, because there have been times, when we didn't have an over abundance of food for our family, and so I don't want to take any of this for granted.  God has been so good to our family and even a extra bag of potatoes, is considered a blessing! 

From my kitchen to yours...

♥ Shannon

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Football, Family and Photography

A few photo's of how we ended our week ...

Grandpa playing football with the boys

Cousins visit

He is, his Father's son

Flowers in bloom and fresh cut roses

My daughter had fun experimenting with mirror photography

These are just a few highlights from my weekend....

♥  Shannon

Friday, May 18, 2012

Making things pretty

I love my vegetable garden, but my real passion is my flower beds.  They have been left behind or forgotten, as I became a mother, to one child right after another, and the need to grow food instead of flowers became a necessity.  I love to transform an eye sore, into a beautiful flower garden, and with my husband's help, we have done this many times!  I'm finding more time this year to keep up with my flower gardens, and I'm enjoying it so much!

I love perennials.  Lillies have become a new favorite of mine, because they are so easy to take care of, they continue to grow and spread with each passing year, and there is such a huge variety to choose from.  My husband loves hosta's, and so we have started pairing the two together, and they, together make for a beautiful flower bed. 

It's that time of year again, to start adding a fresh layer of mulch to my flower gardens.  We have been cleaning them out of all weeds and dead foliage, and they are finally ready to look pretty again!  It's always so exciting to the kids when the load of mulch is delivered... it's as if we were getting sand.  They could play with it for hours.  They are always eager to help as well!

We spent most of yesterday mulching around our apple trees and the (below) flower bed.  It looks so fresh, clean and alive! 

This flower garden, wasn't even here a year ago, when we moved in.  We collected flagstone from around the yard, to use as an edging and got straight to planting.  In about a week or two, the lillies and hosta's will be in full bloom and I will definitely be posting more pictures!

The garden below was also not here a year ago when we moved in.  This was the contractor's trash pile.  It took us days to clean up and clean out all the debris, but was well worth it!  We filled the garden with lilacs, hostas, lillies, hydrangeas, rose of sharon, holly hocks and two dwarf crab apples.  We also added a children's picnic table and old fashioned riding horse.  There is a flagstone path through the center of the garden.  This is by far, the kids favorite spot in the yard. 

My sister was visiting from Iowa, last night and snapped this beautiful picture as the sun was setting behind the trees.  This is my project for the weekend.  This garden is in desperate need of some fresh mulch, and I cannot wait to see how it looks when I'm all finished!

The kids all adding a decoration to the garden to create a more whimsical feel.  This is by far  my favorite spot in the yard.  I am looking forward to the summer as each flower takes it turn to bloom.  From my garden to yours...

♥  Shannon