Monthly Archives: August 2011

The contents of my head

We’re pretty serious about pizza at our house.  This summer it has become an “every weekend ritual”.  We like to go all out.  Pizza stones in the oven, pizza peels for pizza removal and cutting, lots of toppings, dough is tossed not rolled… the children gather in the kitchen to watch me toss dough every single time.  I know why the do.  They are hoping the pizza will land on my head… so far it always lands safely on my fists :)

Sometimes Justin will whip up a batch of his amazing thin crust pizza dough, but often we use Trader Joe’s fresh pizza dough.

This is “the Simeon” named after our good friend who invented it.  The Simeon is topped with bacon, small chunks of white potatoes that are fried in the bacon fat, mozzarella cheese, aged white cheddar (if I have any), and instead of red sauce I use Alfredo sauce mixed with basil pesto.

Since we have fresh garden tomatoes and basil this summer we’ve also been making a lot of pizza Margaritas.  So very good!!

Of course the children still like plain ole pepperoni and cheese :)   Mom and Dad might sneak a piece or two occasionally.

Sometimes we even have pizza for dessert!  Fruit pizza.  A slightly sweetened crust with a sweet cream cheese mixture spread over the crust and fresh fruit on the top!   It’s always a big hit :)

~~~~~~

I was at Joanne’s Fabric last week and was delighted to find this new line of fabric.

Denyse Schmidt has a new line of fabric that was exclusively designed for Joanne’s Fabric.  I love her designs but they can be hard to fine because they are so popular, and they are sometimes very expensive!  So naturally I scooped up a sweet little stack of fabrics before they are all gone. 

I was thinking about using them to make a quilt like this~

{image source via flicker}
Don’t you love this quilt?!  But first I have to finish the quilt for my own bed

~~~~~

I’ve been thinking about parenting trends and philosophies lately.  Truthfully, it would be closer to the mark to say that I’ve been struggling with parenting trends and philosophies, lately.   Do you ever feel that way?  Do you ever feel conflicted with the voices and opinions that seem to be momentarily dominating world around you?  I do.  Like it or not parenting styles do seem to come in trends.  I listen to talks and read about parenting and I feel this hesitation, a check in my spirit that I can’t shake.  I begin to question myself because it seems to be what everyone else is doing, or the advise is coming from someone I admire or look up to… but that small voice is still there telling me something’s not right.  Something is not balanced.  I suppose the trouble I have with some of the dominate parenting trends is, they seem to be formed out of a reaction to some other parenting style.  Does that make sense? 

This is all sounding very negative and that is not my intent.  What I really want is to encourage us all to trust the Spirit God has placed in our hearts.  Don’t ignore that check you feel.  Don’t push it aside.  Don’t be swayed by trends, by passionate opinions, don’t base your parenting style on a reaction to someone else’s  parenting style.  Take the things you hear and measure them carefully against God’s word, against what you know to be true about the world we live in.  Trust your intuition.  Trust what you know about your own family.  Once you’ve done this, move forward in confidence and graciousness. 

One more parenting thought.  Never pass up an opportunity to praise another mother.  If you see her children behaving in a commendable way, tell her!  Don’t just make a mental note or assume that she knows that she is doing a good job.  Speak the words.  She needs to hear it more than you know.

It’s going to be a fun filled week!  Erik and Susanna are getting married!!  I might be a little hit and miss this week, but I am looking forward to posting more often and getting back to doing Show & Tell Wednesdays.  I have lots of ideas and in September I’m hoping to have more time to accomplish them.

As always, thanks for stopping by~  April

Tuesday August 30, 2011

We’re pretty serious about pizza at our house.  This summer it has become an “every weekend ritual”.  We like to go all out.  Pizza stones in the oven, pizza peels for pizza removal and cutting, lots of toppings, dough is tossed not rolled… the children gather in the kitchen to watch me toss dough every single time.  I know why the do.  They are hoping the pizza will land on my head… so far it always lands safely on my fists :)

Sometimes Justin will whip up a batch of his amazing thin crust pizza dough, but often we use Trader Joe’s fresh pizza dough.

This is “the Simeon” named after our good friend who invented it.  The Simeon is topped with bacon, small chunks of white potatoes that are fried in the bacon fat, mozzarella cheese, aged white cheddar (if I have any), and instead of red sauce I use Alfredo sauce mixed with basil pesto.

Since we have fresh garden tomatoes and basil this summer we’ve also been making a lot of pizza Margaritas.  So very good!!

Of course the children still like plain ole pepperoni and cheese :)   Mom and Dad might sneak a piece or two occasionally.

Sometimes we even have pizza for dessert!  Fruit pizza.  A slightly sweetened crust with a sweet cream cheese mixture spread over the crust and fresh fruit on the top!   It’s always a big hit :)

~~~~~~

I was at Joanne’s Fabric last week and was delighted to find this new line of fabric.

Denyse Schmidt has a new line of fabric that was exclusively designed for Joanne’s Fabric.  I love her designs but they can be hard to fine because they are so popular, and they are sometimes very expensive!  So naturally I scooped up a sweet little stack of fabrics before they are all gone. 

I was thinking about using them to make a quilt like this~

{image source via flicker}
Don’t you love this quilt?!  But first I have to finish the quilt for my own bed

~~~~~

I’ve been thinking about parenting trends and philosophies lately.  Truthfully, it would be closer to the mark to say that I’ve been struggling with parenting trends and philosophies, lately.   Do you ever feel that way?  Do you ever feel conflicted with the voices and opinions that seem to be momentarily dominating world around you?  I do.  Like it or not parenting styles do seem to come in trends.  I listen to talks and read about parenting and I feel this hesitation, a check in my spirit that I can’t shake.  I begin to question myself because it seems to be what everyone else is doing, or the advise is coming from someone I admire or look up to… but that small voice is still there telling me something’s not right.  Something is not balanced.  I suppose the trouble I have with some of the dominate parenting trends is, they seem to be formed out of a reaction to some other parenting style.  Does that make sense? 

This is all sounding very negative and that is not my intent.  What I really want is to encourage us all to trust the Spirit God has placed in our hearts.  Don’t ignore that check you feel.  Don’t push it aside.  Don’t be swayed by trends, by passionate opinions, don’t base your parenting style on a reaction to someone else’s  parenting style.  Take the things you hear and measure them carefully against God’s word, against what you know to be true about the world we live in.  Trust your intuition.  Trust what you know about your own family.  Once you’ve done this, move forward in confidence and graciousness. 

One more parenting thought.  Never pass up an opportunity to praise another mother.  If you see her children behaving in a commendable way, tell her!  Don’t just make a mental note or assume that she knows that she is doing a good job.  Speak the words.  She needs to hear it more than you know.

It’s going to be a fun filled week!  Erik and Susanna are getting married!!  I might be a little hit and miss this week, but I am looking forward to posting more often and getting back to doing Show & Tell Wednesdays.  I have lots of ideas and in September I’m hoping to have more time to accomplish them.

As always, thanks for stopping by~  April

Monday August 22, 2011

I’ve been in a blog funk lately.  A product of a busy schedule, and a momma who’s a little too tired at the end of the day to be clever, inspirational, or even form a complete sentence. 

It’s okay really.  Funk happens.  You move past it and inspiration returns.

So this is me, attempting to blog:

Sort of a “Simple Woman’s Daybook” done April style (meaning I didn’t take the time to find out what the official “daybook questions” are, and simply made up my own).

What amazes me…

…that the kitten is still alive.

Despite being shoved into baby strollers, pink plastic grocery carts, toy ovens, and having the pee literally scared out of it… Ryder (which is the name Gideon gave him, Ryder John to be exact) is doing well and thriving.

In the sewing room…

are happy festive flags for the much anticipated wedding!

What I learned…

Did you know you don’t use your elbows to crochet?  It’s true.  They aren’t involved.  The first time Stephanie tried to teach me to crochet my elbows kept getting in the way.  She watched me; perplexed and amused.  She kindly suggested letting my wrists and crochet hook do the work instead of my shoulders and elbows.  We went for attempt number two last week, and I managed to crochet all by myself!  It’s a pillowcase for Eliza, and its not finished but I have made great strides! Stephanie said she was proud of me, and was relieved because she had run out of ways to explain it to me.

A lot was at stake really.  It has long been our plan to grow old together. To sit around and crochet, and solve the world’s problems.  Our future together is safe now… unless she starts forwarding mass emails to me about inspirational stories and talking animals that walk into bars…  that’s a deal breaker.  She understands this.

What I’ve been reading…

The boys and I have been reading “On the Banks of Plum Creek”.  I remembered as a girl, my mom reading this book to me.  I remembered how fascinated I was with the little dugout house, on the banks of the creek with Morning Glories growing around the door, and how I wished I could be Laura.  It’s such a treat to read it to my boys.

What puzzles me exceedingly~

Little man here won’t wear shorts and t-shirts anymore.  Every morning he insists on donning long-leaved shirts, jeans, or sweatpants.  There are times I put my foot down.  Just yesterday we had the, “no you can’t wear sweatpants to church” talk.  It didn’t go over well, but in the end we got in the car with his slacks on.  On a daily basis though… it’s just not a hill I want to die on.  There are battles I will fight. Every time.  Ungrateful hearts?  I’m gonna win that one.  Being cruel or hurtful?  I’m not backing down.  Wearing flannel pants in August?  Nope.  I’ve got better things to do.

I am thankful for…

… apples on my table.  A handpicked gift from Mom and Dad W.  Sweet and crunchy.  A reminder that we are loved.

And this week’s award for “Best Bedhead” goes to Gideon!!

You are totally rocking this look kid.

Useless fact you never needed to know about me” #2 – I never stand still while I’m brushing my teeth.

Okay it’s your turn.  Fill in the blank “Useless fact you never needed to know about me _________”.

Thanks for putting up with my funk ;)   April

Wednesday August 17, 2011

As the first morning of 1st grade dawned, I couldn’t help but think back to last year at this time and the marked differences I saw throughout the morning.

On Jude’s first day of kindergarten, even with my alarm set for 5:30am, I barely beat him up.  He was standing there, bright-eyed and bushy tailed, right outside the bathroom door as I emerged from the shower.

This morning as I bustled around the house getting dressed and packing his lunch, I kept expecting to see him wandering out of his bedroom, but there was no sign of him.  Finally at five after seven I went into his room and gentle nudged him awake.

He was not the nervous bundle of energy that he was last year.  He took a few minutes to wake up and quietly began to get ready.


Same as last year, we snapped a few pictures on the front porch, but this time he was completely at ease.

This year my Dad was able to make it to the first day of school!  Eliza was delighted!  Grammy was there too but in all the hustle and bustle I never got a picture of her with Jude.


Grandma and Grandpa W. came too.  Two cousins were added to the mix this year as well!


The crowd that gathered to celebrate the first day of school, was double the size of last year.  Grandparents, siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, and friends poured out of every doorway and filled the small classrooms. 


Jude has a wonderful new teacher this year :)


A new classroom filled with fresh new books. 

So many new things, and in some ways so different this time around…

… but some things remain the same.

Monday August 15, 2011

When I think of carefree childhood days I think of pickled green tomatoes.

I know.  It’s strange.  It should be something like, butterscotch candies, banana pudding, or Snickerdoodles.  But some of my favorite childhood memories are wrapped around pickled green tomatoes and the girl who taught me to love them.

I was a town girl.  My best friend Kerri was a country kid who lived in a sweet brick house with white dormers, flowers growing around the windows, and a wreath hanging on the front door.  We ran wild through the orchards and the wheat fields around her house.  For one whole year we lived, ate, and breathed Anne of Green Gables and Little House on the Prairie.  We went everywhere in our bib overall dresses, sun bonnets dangling down our backs, and our “Best Friends” lockets hanging from our necks.  Kerri’s mom was (and still is) a gourmet cook, who’s kitchen was always full of wonderful smelling foods.  Kerri shared her mom’s love of cooking and recipes.  That girl would eat anything!  One of her great loves was her mom’s homemade, canned, pickled green tomatoes.  I was skeptical at first, but if Kerri was eating it I was going to at least  give it try.  I was hooked from the very first bite.  We would eat an entire jar in one sitting; savoring every hot, sweet, and sour bite.     

A few weeks ago I noticed my tomato plants were loaded with green tomatoes, and I knew exactly what I wanted to do with them.  I called up Kerri’s mom Colleen, who happily gave me that very same recipe.

My mom (who is my canning guru) came for the day to help me pickle the tomatoes.  We took our baskets out to what’s left of the garden, and loaded them up with green tomatoes.


We put the kids to work right away.  They helped peel garlic, twist the tops off the tomatoes, and scrub the tomatoes and celery.


They were never far from our side.


Eliza being Grammy’s helper.


The tomatoes were washed and cut into quarters.


We packed the jars and boiled the apple cider vinegar brine.


The canning took up every corner of the kitchen!  The boys stuck close to Grammy while Eliza wandered off to “love on” the poor kitty.

For one of the batches we used some of my small pear-shaped tomatoes.  I love the look of the little tomatoes in the jars!

Grandpa showed up just in time for lunch and to keep the boys busy while mom and I poured the hot brine over the tomatoes and water bathed the jars.  They played legos while we finished up the canning.

Now I have enough pickled green tomatoes to satisfy my cravings for a long time!  Just looking at them makes me smile   Not only does it bring back fond memories for me but we made fond memories in the process…

Now it’s your turn.  Humor me for a moment, and tell me about the food that brings you back to your carefree childhood days.

~ April

Wednesday August 10, 2011

For the last 4 or 5 days I’ve hardly picked up my camera.  August is shaping up to be another busy month.  School is starting and it can’t come too quick for a certain 1st grader.  Every morning I am greeted by the same question, “Now how many days till school starts Mom?”  The school supplies have been purchased and carefully placed in his new backpack, and he is already negotiating with me about school wardrobes.  I’m starting to see the benefits of a school uniform ;)

But we haven’t given up on summer yet!

No, not yet.  It’s still pools, sunscreen, and push-up pops for us.  We have another couple of months of hot weather ahead of us.  Although, I must say I can hardly remember a more pleasant, mild summer.  While the rest of the country is experiencing record setting heat, our little valley has been unseasonably cool.

The garden is finished for the year.  I love the cycles of the seasons.  That familiar rhythm that brings renewal to the soul.  Saying “farewell for now” to the joys of summer, while eagerly looking forward to the coming of autumn… like the return of an old friend.  

These are the last of the summer flowers.  I made a few arrangements for our back-to-school BBQ.  My friend loaned me her beautiful set of enamel pitchers, and now I am thinking my life won’t be complete without a line of colored enamel pitchers in my kitchen

I know it’s Wednesday and once again I don’t have any “crafty” creative fun to show you.  Sorry! Other projects that have been on the back burner are needing to be taken care of.  I have big plans for some home improvement projects, but we will see how they progress with three busy little people running under my feet.  I’m afraid that “Show & Tell Wednesdays” might be on hold for a little while.  But don’t worry, it’s only temporary!

That being said, I didn’t want to leave you completely high and dry so… 

Mom W.  went to a garage sale this past weekend and picked up some lovely vintage pieces for me.  She got this hand sewn Grandma’s Garden quilt for me.  It is so beautiful!

But it’s badly worn in quite a few places so using it as a quilt is not an option.  This beauty wouldn’t make it through the washer, and any quilt that lives in my house needs to be able to be washed… regularly!  I think I might cut a large section out of it, and frame it in a large picture frame; then use the scraps to make some throw pillows.


She also found this vintage tablecloth.  I love the pattern and it’s in excellent condition!  I might just use it as a tablecloth but I am SO tempted to cut it up and make pillows for my new red Adirondack rocking chairs.  We shall see!

This was the little project I was trying to finish in time for this Wednesday, but it is still sitting on my sewing desk unfinished.

I’m planing on doing a rustic stitch around each of the children’s handprints and embroidering their names and the the date at the bottom.  I was inspired to try a project with the kids hands when I found this post on Feeling Stitchy ~

{photo via DetroitMommy and Feeling Stitchy}
I love this idea for a “Family Portrait”.  I also had plans on making one of these as well but time got away from me.

Lastly~
What would you do if your three children found an abandoned 3 week-old kitten in the woodpile behind your house?  What would you do as you looked at three sets of imploring little eyes, and listen to the pathetic cries of tiny baby kitten?  Would you save yourself the trouble of hand-feeding and caring for said kitten only to have it die on you?  Or would you throw caution to the wind, go against your better judgement, and be the fool that rescues the kitty?

Well, call me a fool then…

I’m just hoping and praying I can keep it healthy until it’s old enough to feed it’s self!
More on our kitty-rescuing adventure later.  Now if you’ll excuse me I need to go save the kitten from a relentlessly affectionate toddler

Thursday August 4, 2011

It seems to me that over the years @WildWomanOfTheWest has done her fair share of entertaining us mangy varmints. And since a massive amount of dental work has temporarily dampened her most excellent mo-jo, I thought I would send her a little, “I’m-sorry-you’re-on-drugs” pick me up.


The prettiest flowers from the garden in my best turquoise vases

And because everyone loves a good dentist joke~
 
I’m pretty sure dentists actually do this when they put you under.

Get feeling better T

What do you say fellow mangy varmints; shall we entertain our favorite Wild Woman?

Those who have joined in~
 
@jamekablue with some gorgeous pictures and a sweet poem.
@opticalnoise summoned her artistic skills which are… unforgettable ;)
@Grannys_Place posted some beautiful bright blooms.

PS~ If you do a post to cheer up our girl, let me know and I’ll link up.  Thanks!