Thursday, March 31, 2011

A berry farm--my wish

I just got a blueberry plant in the mail that I ordered in February.  It is sitting by my kitchen sink because I can't plant it anywhere yet--too cold and muddy!  But everytime I look at it I think that I want to live on a berry farm.  I love berries!  4 years ago I planted 50 strawberry plants, and last year I had strawberries coming out of my ears!  5 years ago I planted 5 blackberry bushes, and for the last two years we have had more blackberries than I know what to do with.  2 years ago I planted 6 raspberry bushes and they all died, so I tried again.  I planted 6 more and 2 died.  The 4 that lived have not been very productive, so I am thinking that raspberries will not have a place at my berry farm, but I am super excited to try my luck with the blueberries!  I could eat berries everyday of the year and not tire of them.  Are any of you berry farmers? or wanna-be berry farmers (like me)?  Just saying I am so ready for summer, and it snowed today!  Ugh!  I want to get going on my berry farm and get my blueberry bush off my kitchen counter :)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Blue Jeans Week 10

Sunday:  My sister was in town.  All my kids love their aunt, and she is so good to do their hair in fancy styles.  She did the girls' hair for church today.  So fun! 
Monday:  First day of spring break.  When my sister left Sunday she took 3 of my 4 kids with her for most of the week.  Miss A got to stick around with us, and she helped her grandpa paint his studio today.   
Tuesday:  Any on you have one of these hanging around your house this month?  Ours is on the front of the fridge, but sadly our teams are out--BYU and KU--so sad, but the kids have had fun filling in the brackets with who won. 
Wednesday:  Happy Birthday to me!  Miss A made me this beautiful necklace, and Ben made me a cheesecake with blackberry sauce that was to die for, and I got a new sewing machine!  Woohoo!  So excited!  It was a good day. 
Thursday:  My 3 other kids returned today and my pancake-loving boy requested pancakes for breakfast, and then I think he had them for lunch too--what is spring break for if you can't enjoy pancakes all day? 
Friday:  In our small town Dairy Queen is a big deal, and it always closes for the winter and opens sometime in March, and the week it opens that is all anyone talks about.  When you see someone the next thing out of their mouth after "Hi!" is "Did you know Dairy Queen is open?"  So we celebrated the end of spring break with our first trip to DQ for the season.  Miss O wasn't sure if her brother's blizzard was better than hers and tried to decide if she needed to trade.  In the end she stuck with her own--mint Oreo--yum!   
Saturday:  One of the most valuable classes I took while attending college was not a college class.  I took a once a week for 4 weeks community class in hair cutting.  I think the class cost me $12 to take, and I had to buy my scissors.  That investment was probably the best I have ever made.  I have been cutting my family's hair every since.  So today was haircut day--everyone had their turn.  In my mind I was adding up the cost of 5 haircuts, and I am very glad I took that class many years ago :)  Hope you all had a good week!


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Blue Jeans Week 9

Sunday:  Ben is known for his awesome ice drinks--basically cool-aid, ice and sugar, but the kids love them!  He favored us with one as our Sunday night treat.   Loved the color of everyone's tounges after drinking :)
Monday:  We played a matching game for family night tonight.  We found this thick wooden matching game set years ago, and it is still one of our favorites. 
Tuesday:  The kids walking to the library after school on a beautiful almost spring day!

Wednesday:  Wash day, and the evening is folding day, and Ben is very good to fold all the clothes for me.  I wash, he folds.  This arrangement works well :)

Thursday:  Happy St. Patrick's Day!  We always celebrate with a green dinner, green mashed potatoes with green gravy, green peas, green broccoli, green jello, green salad, green kiwi, and green punch.  We were lucky enough to have my sister be with us for this year's annual green dinner.  Lots of fun.  We had frozen green lime fruit bars for dessert.  Green yum! 
Friday:  We got a special package in the mail today from cousins with these wonderful blankets for the kids.  Their aunt made them, and they all loved them.  Thank you, thank you Aunt Emily!!!  What a blessing family is!
Saturday:  This is what Ben and I did almost all day--drive.  We drove 9 hours today to Omaha (4 1/2 up, 4 1/2 back) so we could attend the Winter Quarters Temple.  It was a very long drive, but very nice to just be the two of us in the car and be able to go to the temple.  Huge thanks to my mom and sister for babysitting.  What a blessing.  Hope spring is heading your way this week and that you have a good one!


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Blue Jeans Week 8

Sunday:  Our bedtime routine always starts with reading scriptures.  Tonight we did it up in our room, and our bed is the favorite place to read for the kids.
Monday:  Another bedtime routine, is the kids are allowed to read by themselves for 30 minutes (time allowing) after they are all ready for bed.  Miss O and Miss E love doing that.
Tuesday:  Tuesday routine involves me volunteering in the kids' school classes.  Sometimes I am lucky enough to be in Jesse's during recess.  Today they had indoor recess, and he got to play with the Lincoln logs.  He loves playing with those.
Wednesday:  For the girls' church activity tonight they got to learn how to tie a tie.  Miss E practiced very hard at it, and they are one up on their mom since I don't know how to tie one.  They will have to teach me now.
Thursday:  Front page news!  Miss E and my mom (who happens to be her school librarian) were on the front page of the paper promoting our town's reading project.  Our town picks 2 books each year and encourages everyone in the town to read them.  They hand out free books and have activities to go along with the book throughout the year.  The book this spring is The Wizard of Oz, thus we have the 2 good witches :)
Friday:  Sad day.  Miss E went out after school to feed our chickens, which are not pets but we have for egg production (see this post) and came running back in "Dad!  Dad!  One of the chickens is dying!!"  Sadly it did die, and we think it might have had a heart attack or stroke, but Ben and the kids buried it that evening.  Miss E made the gravestone.   Goodbye Miss Henrietta chicken.  Thank you for your brown eggs.  We will miss them. 
Saturday:  As part of our town's reading The Wizard of Oz  they showed the movie for free at an old movie theater in town.  It was the first time my kids had ever seen the movie.  What a classic.  They all enjoyed it, and especially the free, unlimited popcorn, too ;)  Hope you all had a good week!


Monday, March 14, 2011

Prayers for Japan

My heart has just been aching as I have seen and heard the horrors of the devastation in Japan.  Japan and its people have always been a special part of my family's lives.  When I was in grade school my dad met a Japanese artist.  This Japanese artist invited my dad to come over to Japan to exhibit his work.  My dad went for a month that summer.  The niece of that Japanese artist was my age, and I got a pen pal.  We faithfully kept in touch for years and after both of us graduated from high school she came out and spent the summer with my family and me.  We had a wonderful time.  Time marches on, and we continued to faithfully keep in touch, I got married, she got married,  I had 4 kids, she has 2 adorable boys the same ages as Miss E and Mr J.  I was very worried about her family, but thankfully I heard from them, and they are okay.  Our Japanese connections don't end there, though.  We had a Japanese foreign exchange student at my dad's college many years ago, and she became close to our family.  Several years ago she came over to the US with her 3 boys who are close to my kids' ages, and spent some time with my family.  My kids loved learning karate from her boys.  It was so fun.  Then a few years ago my mom was accepted to an program that took teachers over to Japan for a month to visit and study.  So both of my parents have been there.  My kids have Japanese pen pals and can count to 10 in Japanese, and we have beautiful Japanese souvienirs that we treasure in our house.  So, we have been very worried about our friends, and thankfully have heard that they are all okay which is such a blessing, but many suffer, and our Japanese friends and their country are in our thoughts and prayers at this time.   May God bless them all in this time of trial and sorrow, but may they know they have friends across the world that love them and pray for them and will send relief in any way they can.

Friday, March 11, 2011

An amazing discovery

Last Saturday when we were flea market exploring Mr J was so excited to show me something.  Ben had taken them to the flea markets before without me, and Mr J had an amazing discovery that he kept telling me about. "Mom, you have got to see this phone!!!"  So as soon as we walked into the shop that had the phone he grabbed my hand and pulled me straight into the back of the store, then he showed me this. . .
"Look!  Look, Mom!  Look!  Look at this old phone.  Dad said he had one of these when he was a kid!!!!"  He was so excited about it.  I had to hold back a laugh.  "Yeah," I said smiling, "I had one of those phones when I was a kid too."  He looked at me with big eyes and said in awe, "Wow!"  Then he stood there and dialed the numbers for a long time.  It was just about the coolest thing to him.  So fun.  Did you have one of these phones growing up?  If so, you are amazing to my son :)  I think I am going to go back and buy it for him to play with.  What an amazing discovery.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Blue Jeans Week 7

Sunday:  Mr J is getting to be such a good reader!  Ben and Miss E listen as he reads to them.
Monday:  Miss E was home sick today.  She was running a fever, but thankfully nothing else.  She just wanted to be on the couch and watch Star Wars.
Tuesday:  Caught this lovely fellow under our back porch last night.  The joys of country living. 
Wednesday:  Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!  We love Dr. Seuss books, and we always pick our favorites to read on his birthday.  These are the ones we picked this year.
Thursday:  Tonight at church was the Relief Society meeting, or meeting for the ladies at church.  We reenacted the first RS meeting from the 1800's, and everyone came in bonnets.  Miss A came with me to celebrate, and we doned our bonnets that I made.
Friday:  Today was the last day of the 3rd 9 weeks at school (can you believe the school year is 3/4 of the way over?), so the kids got out of school at 1:00.  To celebrate the girls' all A's and a half day of school, we went to A&W for Root Beer floats!  They are perfect for any celebration!
Saturday:  After cleaning the house in the morning, we went out and did some flea market exploring as a family.  Our town has a few flea markets, and we enjoyed exploring.  Miss E was admiring this mirror when I went to take a picture of her.  This is pretty indicative with how our life is, I always have the camera :)  Hope you had a great week!


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A change of plans and Our Favorite Banana Recipes

Do you ever have those days that just do not turn out like you planned, not necessarily in a bad way, just not what you had planned?  Yesterday was one of those for me.  Yesterday I got up and thought I knew what my schedule would be.  It was a Tuesday.  Tuesdays are my school volunteer days.  I am at the school almost all day in my different kids' classes.  I love it.  Well, Miss E had been sick with just a fever since Saturday night.  I stayed home with her Sunday, and Monday, but Monday evening she didn't have a fever, and Tuesday morning she was 98.6, so I sent her to school and then I followed not too long after.  I was in Mr. J's class about 9 when I hear over the intercom "Jen if you are in the building, will you please come to the office."  Now even though I am 30 something, being called to the office still makes me feel nervous!  Anyway, Miss E's fever was back up, so we headed home.  Now I had a whole day at home I was not planning on.  Got Miss E some Tylenol, and she just wanted to lay on the couch and watch Star Wars.  I had a bunch of bananas that were getting pretty ugly, so I got to work and baked up a storm.  We love bananas at our house and banana bread and especially these banana muffins.  Mr J asks for them at least twice a week, "Mom, can you make me some banana muffins?"  Yum, yes!  These all freeze very well.  Enjoy!
Dearie's Banana Bread--this recipe is my Great-Grandma's who we all called Dearie
2 c. flour
2 eggs
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter (soft)
1 tes. soda
1 tes. salt
1 tes. vanilla
1/2 c. nuts (optional, we never put them in, we aren't nut people)
3 medium, ripe bananas mashed

Cream together sugar and butter.  Add eggs and vanilla, and mix well.  Add all other ingredients and bananas and mix well.  Bake 350 for 1 hour if doing one large loaf, bake 35-40 minutes if making 4 small loaves (like above).  Check with toothpick in middle to see if done.  
These are our favorite mini-chocolate chip banana muffins.  I always double the recipe (doubling will make about 48 mini-muffins), and if there are any left after we are done, they freeze really well.  I got this recipe from Family Fun years ago.  It is a staple at our house. 
Banana Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins

1 1/2 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tes baking powder
1/4 tes salt
1 cup mashed, ripe bananas
1 large egg
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup fat free or light sour cream
2 tes. vanilla
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Combine mashed bananas, egg, melted butter, sour cream, milk, and vanilla.  Mix well.  Blend in the dry ingredients, but do not over mix.  Stir in the chocolate chips.  Spoon into greased mini muffin tins and bake 350 for 12-15 minutes or until top bounces back when touched. 

So sometimes I think it is good when your days do not turn out exactly like you planned.  Sometimes they turn out better and much yummier!   Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A Blue Jeans Week 6

Sunday:  It is a Sunday tradition at our house to have "Sunday Night Treats."  Ben and Miss A were in charge of making it tonight, so they were pouring over cookbooks Sunday afternoon deciding what to make.  They settled on a berry cobbler with a maple cream sauce--oh. my. 
Monday:  Made the best cookies (see this post) for family night.  Mr J and Miss A helped spread out the melted Andes Mints--super yum!
Tuesday:  Piano day.  All my girls have piano lessons on Tuesdays evenings, and it makes for a busy night.
Wednesday:  Wash day.  One of my household rules is I only do laundry one day a week.  Wednesday is wash day, and all I do all day is laundry, but then I don't have to do it again for a whole week!
Thursday:  The girls like to play school with Mr J and give him assignments in a notebook--questions he has to answer, letters he has to write, simple math problems, etc.  They are good teachers.  Miss E helps him (while wearing her coolest sunglasses) with his "homework."

Friday:  Mr J and Miss E love any excuse to get into their PJ's.  So almost as soon as they get home from school on a Friday night, they jump into their PJ's.  Miss E shares her MP3 player with Mr J as they listen to an audio book The 39 Clues and enjoy a Friday evening. 
Saturday:  We love Lego's at our house, and Mr J is a master at making Lego trains.  Trains are just his thing, and you can usually find them all over the house.  Hope you all have a good week!