With all the up & down weather that Mother Nature has sent our way (yeah, 3 inches of snow on Monday?) I'm glad to say that most of the garden survived. I say most, because everything I planted in the ground (zucchini, yellow squash, Dill, Asian snow peas, snap peas, and green beans) died. I started all of my plants inside from seeds (except the bell pepper & tomato plants) and so when I planted them in the ground they were already on their way to being something beautiful. But with the weight of the snow and the cooler temps, I just don't think they could handle it. *Sniff*Sniff* I wonder if there was too much native clay soil and I didn't amend it enough with fresh gardening soil? Who knows.
But, everything that I planted in the containers survived beautifully. Our tomato plants have pretty yellow flowers on them, the Asian snow peas are climbing their trellis wonderfully, our red, yellow and green bell peppers are well on their way to being ready to pick & eat, pickling cucumbers are getting bigger and the strawberries are red & shiny. Woo hoo! I'm excited the containers have worked for us. I was a bit nervous, but turns out they were better than in-ground.
But here are the goods:
Asian Snow Peas
Strawberries (next year I'll plant way more - 4 plants just aren't enough)
The garden patio
Basil & my poor ranunculus that got thrashed by the snow.
Bell pepper plants (green, yellow, and red)
I also transplanted one more zucchini and one more yellow squash into the containers. I'm hoping they will do better here than they did in-ground. I had to start them over again from seed inside, but they are huge and I'm hoping that once the leaves/stems get longer I can just spread them out of the container and on the ground so they have room to grow. Now, I just have to re-plant some dill seeds and hopefully it will grow just as well too.
So, we splurged and got our family a season pass to This is the Place Heritage Park. A friend told me that Citydeals.com had $50 gift certificates to TitPMP on sale for $25 plus 15% off. So I had Ryan buy one and I bought one (since it's one per household), then we combined them and bought a membership. I love getting a $90 membership for $43 (and I still have $10 credit too)!
These pics are from the morning we spent there with some friends a few weeks back. Honestly, I've never seen my kids more willing & happy to do chores :)
(Jen & Liz = click here to see ALL the pics. There are a lot!)
A, Berlin, K, K waiting patiently for the train ride to begin.
The boys waiting patiently (L, Fin, J)
The girls giddy with excitement as they pet the goat. There were also sheep, a baby goat, pigs, bunny, cows, horses, and a few other animals to see.
Watching the horses get fed their lunch.
Fin, playing teacher, in the old school house.
This game was so fun. This is how Pioneers taught the children to milk cows. If you pull the rope down and slightly to the side the wooden bear magically climbs the rope. If Fin were milking a real cow, he'd have no milk and she'd be one sore creature (and not too happy either).
The kids doing their lesson on their slate boards.
Berlin doing her laundry. She didn't want to put down the little wooden iron. Guess I know what to have Santa get her for Christmas this year.
Doing some laundry (Thank heaven for modern day washing machines)
Finley hanging the clothes out to dry.
Finley plowing the field - seriously, how do I get him to do this to our back field?
So between TitPMP, Hogle Zoo, and Thanksgiving Point Memberships, Swim Lessons, Tumbling, RSL Soccer Games, 801-Swim Club, and Bear Lake, our summer should be pretty full & fun! It almost makes up for the fact that we are going to Germany this Fall (yes, it STILL depresses me!).
Just some pics I took before we got in the car to go to Berlin's dance recital. At first I hated the washed out color, but now I like it. These were taken in my bathroom and that's our shower curtain - hence no full length photos. But it ended up working well enough.
This is a picture of Berlin asleep in the car on the way to the recital. "Oh Great!" I thought. 4:45pm and she's asleep - the girl who HATES to be woken up. Luckily however, she was a gem and woke up happy when we got to the recital. Guess 10 minute cat-naps can be a good thing.
These ones here are the studio pics they took awhile back. We just got them today. I love how Berlin is the only one posing with her hands up. She is definitely a girl - one with a mind of her own.
Finley graduated from Preschool this past week. It brings tears to my eyes to think that he will be going to Kindergarten next year. Tears of sadness yes, and tears of joy that I'll get some me time on a regular basis (yes, I know that sounds selfish but I'm hoping it's the key to me losing the 40 pounds that I need to lose).
I love the above picture of him. Can you believe that he's 5! He's the cutest 5-year old I know and I sure do love him.
A fun video of him singing one of the songs in the program. He's a hoot.
So Berlin's dance recital was this past week and oh how cute it was. It was at Cottonwood High School and her little class danced to Ma Belle Evangeline. I say "Danced" loosely. Mostly the girls just got up and did whatever they felt like. Some swayed arms, some jumped, some twirled. Berlin, she twirled and twirled and twirled and bumped into the other girls. It was cute, cute, cute!
(Hint: Berlin is the cute twirling, jumping, stumbling machine in the middle.)
I've had a couple people ask for the recipes that I use to make our smoothie pops. So, here's a couple to start the weekend. I'll post one or two a week over the next month rather than dump them here all at once, and then as I try new ones.
Strawberry Spinach Smoothie Pops
(makes about 12 popsicles)
* 1 cup fresh apple juice (I use Simply Apple - so nothing but 100 % appley goodness)
* 1 cup fresh strawberries (stems cut off)
* 1 cup frozen vanilla yogurt
* a handful of Spinach
Add all ingredients to blender & blend until smooth. I like to add a couple strawberries that I chop by hand to "chunk" up the mix. My kids love it, but you don't have to do it. Pour into your popsicle molds & freeze atleast 4 hours.
Orange Dream Smoothie Pops (*these are my kids fave so far)
(makes about 6 popsicles)
* 1 cup fresh orange juice (I use Simply Orange so 100% orange juice)
* 1 1/2 cups frozen vanilla yogurt
Blend ingredients until smooth and put in your popsicle molds. Freeze up to 4 hours. They taste just like an orange julius (am I the only one who remember these? So yummy!). NOTE: if you really want to treat yourself use vanilla ice-cream = even dreamier!
I'm planning on experimenting in the near future .... Like maybe some pink grapefruit creamsicles, or chocolate fudgesicles with banana chunks, or a coconut pineapple, or I may just steal one of Ryan's recipes for Avocado milkshakes and do those too.
My friend did this on her post a few weeks ago and I've been meaning to do one myself. So here are the things I'm really loving right now:
My backyard ...
With all the rain we've gotten it's so green and pretty right now. Having this view makes all the hours of weeding worth it (and I do mean hours because that seems to be all I do these days, weed! But it's starting to look good). Of course, this may soon be on the list of things I hate in a couple weeks once it's all dead and dry from lack of rain & water. But for now I love it.
Flip-flops from Old Navy ...
At 2 for $5 you really can have one in every color of the rainbow (I will soon *smile*)
We have 2 sets of these and the kids and I love making smoothie popsicles. Our fave flavor so far: Frozen vanilla yogurt with Orange Juice. Second is the strawberry, banana, spinach smoothie. So good and the kids don't even know the spinach is in there. I love it! These are consumed on a daily basis in our house.
I just love fresh strawberries.
Vanilla Mint Chapstick ...
this is a staple in my life. I have one in every bag, drawer, and car. Can't live without it.
J.R. Watkins lotions & creme ...
This stuff is the best for chapped hands. Non-greasy and smells oh so delish!
1. It means that warmer temps are on their way and that Winter is over.
2. Everything is green: green grass, green leaves, green flower stems, green gardens. I love it.
3. Baby animals are being born
On Thursday we went to the Barn at Thanksgiving Point and it was the perfect Spring day. Everything was green and the workers were planting gardens with lots of vegetable plants. The weather was sunny & warmer than it's been the past couple of weeks. And there were lots of baby animals to see, from tiny chicks, to baby kids learning to walk, little cows, a new baby pony. Finley & Berlin couldn't get the corn into their hands fast enough. They loved feeding the animals and squealed with delight when they would eat the corn out of their hands.
at the Thanksgiving Point museum has ALWAYS brought my children to tears. Seriously. I don't know why, but that big sea turtle skeleton swooping down from the ceiling right when you walk into the undersea room freaks them out and they cry, cling to me, ask me to carry them, scream and all that. We've always rushed thru that room straight to the Jaws room. Yeah, Jaws doesn't scare them, but a turtle skeleton does. Go figure.
But NO more. We took the kids there the other night for FHE and both kids informed me that they weren't scared. I didn't believe it, but sure enough as we approached the room both kids walked in, looked at the turtle and didn't freak out. Berlin only asked to hold my hand and walk quickly, but no tears were shed. Yay for breakthroughs!
Here they are playing in the water. Berlin is always a mess afterwards - soaking wet and full of sand. But they love it so.
Ryan drew pictures of each of them as a dinosaur. Can you see the resemblance?
Growing up my mom made strawberry freezer jam all the time. It was SOOO yummy - on toast, on ice-cream, or just straight out of the jar. I'm not sure why, but I've never attempted to make it myself, but on Monday I got such a good deal on some strawberries that I picked up a bunch to make jam. I made two different batches, each with a different pectin, just to experiment. I didn't want to mess with my mom's recipe, but it just had so much sugar, and I wanted one with a little less sugar. So here's the two recipes I used:
1. Sure Gel pectin recipe (this is the one my mom uses)
2 cups smashed/finely chopped strawberries
4 cups sugar
1 box Sure Gel pectin ($2.49)
3/4 c. water
Mix the 2 cups smashed strawberries with the 4 cups sugar. Add water and pectin in a pan and bring to a boil. Stir constantly for one minute then add to sugar/fruit mixture. Stir till sugar is all dissolved. Ladle into Jars and let sit for 24 hours until thick. Then freeze for up to 1 year or refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.
2. Ball Freezer Jam pectin
4 cups smashed/finely chopped strawberries
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 package Ball Freezer Jam pectin ($1.79)
Mix the sugar and pectin in a bowl. Add the 4 cups smashed strawberries with sugar/pectin mix and stir until all sugar is dissolved. Ladle into jars. Let sit for 30 minutes or until thick. Then freeze for up to 1 year or refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.
My little purplicious helper eating the strawberries as fast as I could cut them.
After taste-testing both, I have to say I'm a HUGE fan of the Ball Freezer Jam. They taste EXACTLY the same, but the Ball one is easier and obviously (as you can see above) has way more fruit than sugar. Um 4 cups fruit vs 4 cups sugar? Yeah, obvious choice for me. And I like that you don't have to boil the pectin with water then wait 24 hrs until putting in the freezer/fridge. Finally, the Ball pectin is cheaper.
Needless to say, I'm a happy gal with my freezer full of strawberry jam (24 jars in all).
It's that time of year again when we hit the soccer fields. Finley's been playing the past month and only has a few more games left. He's been having so much fun with his team, the Badgers. Especially since all the boys his age in Primary are on the team. Finley's fun to watch. He's not the star player by any means. No, he's more the team clown running up & down the field, waving and making silly faces and doing funny poses. It's great watching him have so much fun. That's really what matters. Next year, Ryan is going to try his hand at coaching the team.
Ryan's also started playing soccer on the Beehive Glass team on Monday nights. We've only been to one game, but it was fun.
Berlin can't wait to start. Unfortunately, she'll have to wait until she's 4. Until then, she's fine playing on the playground with her friends. Me, I just like to watch.