Sunday, July 22, 2012

Just another weekend project...

My daughter once said "I always wondered when dad would finally finish up all his projects, and then I realized they never end".   It's true, projects are his hobby.  He works in management, so his "down time", isn't really down time at all.  He loves to build, create, dream up and create.  My 8 yr. old son loves to help.  Between the two of them, I never know what they are going to come up with next.  I sometimes wish, he could just make a business of it, and do what he loves, but life isn't that simple... or is it??!!   Anyway, this weekend, he finished up, yet another one of his projects.  We had a lot of leftover wood from our shed project, and so he came up with this great idea for our Farmers Market stand.  Usually I help with the design, or even come up with the plan and then he builds it.  But not this time.  I had no idea what he was building or how it was going to turn out.  I was pleasantly surprised.  It's great, and I love it!  We are hoping to have a Farmers Market stand every Friday evening and this should attract some attention and hopefully get the kids some customers. 

Like I said, we used all leftover wood from other projects.  He built the boxes out of cedar and used metal sheets for the roof.  We stained the rest of the wood, varnished the cedar boxes and used stencils to paint the sign.  I am very  excited to try it. 

♥  Shannon

Thursday, July 19, 2012

4-H Fair !

It's 4H fair week!  Wow, it's been a hot one! 

This is our first year in 4-H, and it has been a learning experience.  We just weren't sure what to expect going into the fair.  We didn't know what the judges would be looking for or expecting.  My oldest daughter, who is a wonderful, talented photographer, didn't have a great experience.  She received 2 red ribbons, which is pretty much like saying "thanks for entering"!   She even entered her prize winning photo, that she took last year, and won 1st place for in our county, for the Conservation Office, and the judge just didn't like it. I hope she doesn't get too discouraged, because she has amazing talent.  As her mom, honestly, I was a little disappointed as well with the judges remarks.  Here is one of her photos:

My two middle clover buds had a good learning experience.  They were able to enter whatever they wanted and then just had to get through the judging.  They both did excellent and got great marks! 

Max did a project on composting.  He helped Brent build an actual compost box by our garden, last fall,  and it has been "his" project ever since. 

Here, Max is talking to the judge about his project. 
Below, Marykate is talking to the judge about her loomed hats.

By the end of this week, and with the heat advisory, the kids were pretty tired and crabby.  Two of them have an ear infection and one has a sore throat.  We just had to get through one more judging, and it was taking forever, and spirits were running pretty low.

Maddie was last, but definitely not least.  Here she is below waiting patiently for her cookies to be judged.

The day and week ended on a high note.  Maddie received a blue ribbon, best of show and is headed to the State Fair!

Here are the prize winning, oatmeal choc chip drop cookies!

So, my second child who usually takes a back seat to her older sister, is pretty pleased with her accomplishment, and I am proud of her.  It did take her 3 attempts to get these cookies right, but in the end, her hard work and persistence paid off!

Next month, we have our county fair, and we are all looking forward to entering some more projects.  From photography, to agriculture, to culinary, to arts and crafts.  It should be another busy, fun, crazy, and hopefully much cooler week!

♥  Shannon

Monday, July 16, 2012

More then heart breaking....

This is all that has been on my heart and mind lately....

These two precious girls have been missing for 3 days.  Evansdale, Iowa is very near my hometown, where I grew up... less then 10 miles.  I have close friends who know the family.  My grandma goes to church with their grandma.  They were on a bike ride, and never came home.  That's it.  There is nothing more to the story.  They were still close to home, and their bikes and purse were found.  Please keep these girls, and their families in your prayers!  It was just a bike ride on a Friday afternoon.... 

Thankfully we have a God who is in control.  He knows where they are.  Please, Dear God, allow these girls to be found and brought home safe to their families!!!

♥ Shannon

Friday, July 13, 2012

God's beautiful creations

We have been having fun watching the deer lately.  There is a mother and two fawns living in the woods next to our house.  I try to get pictures and videos, but they are fast :)  They keep a look out for us as well.  Any sound from us, and they are back in the woods.  I have taken a few pictures of the mother, but the babies are too small and hard to see over the tall grasses. 

She caught me, so back in the woods for her.  So I decided to take some pictures of the birds.

My daughters took a walk through the woods yesterday, with their camera in hand, hoping to find the them and get some pictures for the 4H fair next week, but no luck.  Maybe next time. 

♥  Shannon

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Talk about being busy!  The garden harvest is in full swing here.  The above picture is what we picked over the weekend, just for Saturday's meals.  I have been either in the garden weeding and picking, or in the kitchen peeling, freezing and cooking.  It is definitely a blessing to have the abundance of food for our table, but my back feels differently :)

Thanks goodness for my little helpers.  Today we picked beans and peas and I have been freezing them and saving some for fresh eating.

I also tried a cucumber salad recipe that I found on pinterest, and I am anxious for my husband to try it tonight.  It supposedly lasts up to 2 months in the fridge.... we shall see, if it lasts that long!

At the end of the day, I've run my dishwasher a few times, done a few dishes by hand, and my counter tops usually are full of clean dishes and bowls of fresh veggies for tomorrow.


So, we are keeping very busy here, but so thankful for a great garden this year.  My freezer is already filling up, and up next tomatoes!

♥  Shannon

Saturday, July 7, 2012

How the kids are keeping cool

 I am so glad we purchased this pool/stock tank before the heat wave swept through the US.  Wow, it has been so great for the kids.  It keeps them from getting bored, and sitting around wanting to watch  movies or TV all day.  We don't have much for electronics in our house, but they would love to be couch potatoes if I let them :)  I just wanted to share a few pictures of our Saturday, keeping cool in the pool.  Even my husband joined them Friday evening after work. 

Big enough for all five, to keep cool on a hot summer day.  It's nothing fancy, but it does the trick, and they all seem to be having a lot of fun! 

♥  Shannon

Friday, July 6, 2012

Swimming, Sweet Treats, Sunflowers & Summer

Summer is in full swing at our home.  The flowers are blooming, the kids are doing a lot of swimming, and I am taking advantage of a slower month, to just enjoy these HOT summer lazy days.  There isn't much left to do in the garden, but wait for harvest.  We've been enjoying potatoes, onions, peppers, peas and lots of cabbage.  My beans and tomatoes will be ready soon, and then I will be busy!  The carrots and corn are slowly, but surely growing.

What would summer be without swimming?  Every year we put up a small pool for the kids and they usually spend the afternoons out in the water.  Well in the last few years, the kids have been hard on our pools.  The every day wear and tear of 5 kids in a pool is hard on them, and frankly, we are tired of buying a new pool every year.  Then, last year we moved in here, and set up our one year old pool, to discover we had LOTS of iron in our water. Our filter couldn't keep up with it, and it just wasn't worth the time and energy we had to put into it.  We were out of options, but knew we needed something for the kids on these HOT days.  Leave it to Brent to come up with an idea.  He bought a blue poly stock tank and set it up for the kids. 

The kids have been loving it.  It's 9 ft wide and almost 3 ft deep, so not too big to be worrisome, but big enough to be fun for my 3 youngest.  They play for hours everyday!  As for the iron in our water, I am learning how to keep it clean without a filter.  I do have to use a few chemicals, some chlorine tablets, and I just purchased a small spa vacuum, so I can get out the iron that settles on the bottom.  So far so good, and a lot easier to take care of, and the kids can't destroy it.  Plus, when they out grow it, we are thinking of digging it down into the ground and using it for a pond.  There are lots of fun ideas out there for stock tanks, where as a pool, just goes in the trash.  Plus it has a drain, for easy clean out.

I also love the fact, that it fits on our patio, keeping out a lot of grass, and well, we just don't have a lot of flat surfaces to place a bigger pool.  It's great having it by the covered porch as well, so I can sit out and watch them in the shade.  Ahh, the comforts of home!

We have been enjoying a lot of fruit this summer as well!  We've been blessed with LOTS of raspberries from friends, and now I have a few growing in my garden.  We have had blueberries, cherries, and strawberries.  I found a fun recipe on pinterest that I wanted to try out for the 4th of July, as my kids LOVE fruit!

So simple, just layer blueberries, cool whip, and strawberries.  But, of course I had to take it one step further.  We have a family favorite fruit dip, that I thought would be great, as a substitute for the cool whip.  Here is the recipe:

1 tub of cool whip
1 package of instant vanilla pudding
1 cup of milk
1 8oz container of sour cream
Just mix all together and chill!

My kids LOVE this dip, and would eat it all by itself as a pudding if I let them.  I added a little extra cool whip to the recipe, when using it for these fruit dishes, because the dip tends to have a more yellow tint, and for the 4th, we needed Red, White & Blue!   

So, there it is, a peek into our summer so far.  Hope you enjoyed!

♥  Shannon