Wednesday, July 27, 2011

i have heard the warnings!!!

so with glenn beck's dire warning of food shortages & a call for Americans to stock up on food.............

i'm trying!! really that isnt why i can food, because of glenn beck. i was planning on this anyway. and at the risk of being called a conspiracy theorist - i tend to agree with glenn on a lot.
but anyway, those jars are full of salsa, tomatoes, tomato sauce, chow chow & pickles. i also have quite a bit in the freezer: vacuum sealed squash & zucchini, field peas, green beans, tomatoes & okra for soup. it's going to be a good winter.
i also have about 4 quarts of canned tomatoes from last year. but anyway i canned 14 quarts of tomatoes yesterday & before that i finished up the last of 30 pints of salsa. i have been doing good but not getting much sleep because of the work. so i planned on a reprieve for the rest of the week. sadly the garden suggested otherwise.
this is some of what i got out of the garden today:

 this doesnt include the corn, lima beans, or green beans we picked. or the cantaloupe. in the last 3 days we have picked 16 cantaloupe. we cant & wont eat that much cantaloupe.
the kids helped me - well elizabeth & abigail, today. i couldnt do it by myself. i was close to tears. i just want a break. but at the risk of this food going bad, well i have to push through so tomorrow i will be shucking corn, cutting okra & peeling tomatoes to cook together & then put in jars & put up for the winter. tomato, corn & okra are 3 of my favorite summer veggie....especially fresh &/or in soup. most people who arent from the deep south really dont know about okra, but it is one of those vegetables that has to be cooked just right to be enjoyable. and if i must say so myself, i do know how to cook it "just right". and as it cooks up tomorrow with the fresh picked corn & the fresh picked tomatoes, the kids will start walking by the stove & sniffing the air & ask what we are having for supper because it will smell so good!
so i have to push through & just get it done. i actually felt bad when i walked out past the garden tonight to check on our ducks. i should be thankful for every bit that we get out of the garden. and i am. God has blessed us greatly. i just dont know how other people do it - take care of their gardens, take care of their kids, keep the laundry up, mop the floors, shower, homeschool, eat, breath....sleep........blah! i am thankful.

now for some eye candy...the cutest eye candy ever!!!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

all things elmo!

esther loves all things elmo, or "belbo" as she calls him. we got her a little stuffed elmo at target & she doesnt put him down. every night i find her with elmo wrapped in her arms.

on a side note, esther, levi & asher are all sick. levi just has an ear infection & is finishing up his antibiotic. he's really fine. but esther & asher are having a hard time with asthma/bronchitis. esther went to the doctor on thursday and was prescribed another zpack. she just finished one 3 1/2 weeks ago for bronchitis. of course on friday morning asher started to cough a bit & his voice sounded gruff. well i think he has it too. they are both on breathing treatments again. i tried to call his pediatrician (who is on call this weekend) to get him a prescription (she told me to as she knows we just went through this a month ago & she knows my kids & she trust that i know what i'm talking about with the asthma/bronchitis issues) but unfortunately it doesnt seem they forwarded their phones to their answering service as both lines rang & rang without end today everytime i tried to call. so i will be taking asher on monday unless the breathing treatments nip this bout in the bud for him.

Elizabeth's birthday & a wedding

we celebrated elizabeth's 12th birthday on thursday & friday (her actual birthday). we had to go out for her birthday supper on thursday night because we had a wedding to attend on friday evening. we went to olive garden. my kids love olive garden. and i love their soup & salad. anyway, we did the supper on thursday & had her cake on friday before we went to the wedding. elizabeth liked it because she got to open her presents a day early & then she got to "celebrate" on 2 days rather than just 1. and quite frankly, she deserves a 2 day birthday. she has been such a good help to me with the little ones, with cleaning the house, with helping with the garden - with what i ask basically. she still has problems with her attitude but i dont know what child doesnt. we are actually considering talking to her pediatrician about putting her back on a low dose of her ADHD meds as she needs some help focusing & shutting out the noise when she is trying to concentrate on her school work.
but elizabeth is a beautiful girl, with LONG legs & long light brown/blondish hair, who has a servants heart. she just finished a latch hook pillow that she diligently worked on for a whole year. she is motivated to complete things she starts. she enjoys reading, listening to her ipod, & taming chickens. it has come to our attention recently that elizabeth is quite gentle & good with the baby chicks she has been feeding. she actually has tamed a few to where they dont squawk & flap their wings all crazy when we come near. elizabeth likes to laugh & she thinks justin bieber is cool.
she is a blessing to us and i am so thankful that i have the privilege of being her mother.

now for the wedding. Molly.....well Mary Kathryn Grey married Ben Profitt in a beautiful ceremony last night. Ben - who we do not know - but trust & believe that Molly has picked out a great guy - basically cried the whole way through the ceremony. it was precious. we were all crying with them. it was so lovely, the view of their love for one another. we felt privileged to be witness to their making of covenant. all i can say is that the Grey's are a Godly standard of a family. they give us hope and a belief that all of our children can grow up to be Godly men & women, marry well, be productive & consistently love one another & pass on that love to the next generation. all of their children were there Jessica, Chad, Seth & of course, the bride, Molly or Mary Kathryn as she likes to be called now (but we know her mostly as Molly & Seth still calls her that so....I'm going to also at least on my blog). They were/are all so gracious & beautiful. All of their spouses were/are gracious & beautiful. And Chuck & Kathy....what can i say but they are the same wonderful, loving, giving people - who love the Lord, love each other & love their children & grandchildren. It is obvious in all they do. and on a side note, i wish i had of gotten a picture of Kathy. talk about a beautiful woman....she looked beautiful in a royal/navy, one shoulder, floor length gown - just gorgeous. I dont know if i have ever seen her so beautiful.
we got to see Mimi - she looks really great & hasnt changed a bit...she told clay after she asked us how many kids we were up too "i hope you have lots of disaster". (she knows he owns a restoration company because chad works with clay). it was funny. and uncle donald was there cutting a rug. i think he was doing the shag. i was impressed! anyway, it was a beautiful wedding, from the setting, to the flowers, to the people..all the way around. rachel asked me to take a picture of the dress as she wanted to see it. we did the best we could. it is a few pictures of her dancing with her sweet.
oh also, i am including a picture of the pillow cases i embroidered for them. i found this pattern on another craft blog that i read (feeling stitchy) and thought how perfect for a newlywed couple. we also gave them a neat little recipe/scrapbook kind of thing. instead of keeping her recipes that she will collect through the years in a drawer some where, she can keep them in a little scrapbook that one day she can pass on to her children.
oh and on the bottom is 2 pictures that we got the wedding planner/director to take before we walked out the door.
oh & what was so cool, that i just loved, they left on a motorcycle - i'm assuming one of Ben's but WOW!! so fun!!!

Friday, July 15, 2011

poor levi

well my 2 big girls left for Pennsylvania with Chad & Becky Dennys & 6 of their 7 children on Thursday. Rachel & Ashley & Cassidy & Elizabeth are having friendship time this weekend. so with my big girls gone most of the household chores, all of the caring for the littles & most of the animals chores fall on me. i have no problem with that when things are good. unfortunately Levi woke up this morning with a raging fever & a gunky eye. so we made an appointment to see his pediatrician & got everyone dressed. he has an ear infection in his right ear. he is a bit clingy which is to be expected. so i am very busy with a baby on my hip.
even with him sick i was still able to accomplish quite a bit today. i was able to can 7 quarts of tomatoes, 6 quarts of kosher dill pickles & 5 quarts of bread & butter pickles. i'm very excited. as of tonight i have 25 quarts of food put away just from this year. now i only have about 100 more to go!! that's my goal...seriously. the corn is read. the green beans are ready & there are more tomatoes ready as well as the cucumbers. i'm not doing anymore pickles but i will put up more tomatoes. i want to make some more salsa. i am also going to make a "tomato sauce" that i can use with spaghetti or lasagna. i am going to put up the corn in jars as well as the green beans & lima beans. i'm also going to try some sweet potatoes & red potatoes. we will see how it goes. but it's fun. everytime the jar makes that "POP" sound as it gives a final seal...i giggle & clap. it makes me feel good to know i did it!
anyway pray for Levi. he's really a good baby...not really whiny or uncomfortable. he just wants me to hold him & i dig that.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

twirly girl in the night

it was very hot so as soon as i took the camera out the humidity fogged up the lense, but i like the filtered affect for some of the pictures. Esther has been enjoying the hand-me-down "dress up" clothes from her older sisters. it's not always bad being the youngest girl......all the tu-tus fit her!

update on calpurnia

i realized late last night that calpurnia probably had more than just 1 pup. the one i found was probably what she hadnt eaten yet. there was no afterbirth or anything left - just the one pup. from everything i have read, the females will eat their dead pups out of a protective instinct. and from her very thin form now, i have a hard time believing there was just one pup. most likely 3 or possibly 4 as she was plumping up. we are still sad, but are so thankful she is ok. she is still feeling down & still not completely herself BUT she is definitely much better. she has eaten better tonight. she is still real clingy to me & i am just loving her as much as possible. we can always try again in 4 to 7 months.

Monday, July 11, 2011


and just a side note on readen. she has been having a hard time being obedient - like any child! so today we put the "shock" collar on her that goes with our wireless dog fence. she is going to learn to stay in the yard. i'm hoping this will reign her in a bit. she is too old to not be more obedient & easier to deal with. she is a beautiful dog & i dont want her to be ruined by not being well we are trying.


i am so sad. terribly sad. i feel like sobbing my eyes out but have to hold it together because of the kids. calpurnia lost her baby tonight. she only had one from what i found in my bedroom. while i was at karate she was home miscarring her baby. it was so perfectly formed, just small & pink. i found it in a dark corner in my bedroom. i knew calpurnia was better because she met me at the door & was wagging her tail at me. i went to my bedroom to change levi and found the little dead pup. it breaks my heart.
calpurnia was in a fight with our cocker spaniel, readen, on thursday - over a piece of squash. actually readen just attacked calpurnia because calpurnia dared sniff a piece of squash that i dropped off the counter when i was cutting it. readen is very much a bully & territorial but she's a good dog. i'm not upset with her. she's young. & dogs do that. i had to pull her off of calpurnia. anyway, that night calpurnia quit eating & started acting listliss & lethargic. i knew something was wrong. but she wasnt having any yucky discharge so all i could do was love her & tried to get her to eat. i'm glad she is ok. i wouldnt want to lose her. i just wish her pup would have survived. but she is definitely feeling better. it's amazing to me an animals resilence.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

levi (again) & poor calpurnia

levi is at the point where everytime you look at him he is smiling back. he is also very drooly - which isnt anything new. but he is so chubby & sweet. he is absolutely EDIBLE!!! but his personality is forming & he is so much fun. none of us can keep our hands off of him.
i was trying to take pictures & these guys got in the way.

i have no clue what they were doing. they started putting their hands up on their heads. cute & rotten!

but here is my sweet smiling little man!

couldnt you just eat him up with a spoon?!!
this one is Levi sucking on his little food pacifier. we pop peaches or bananas in it & he goes to town. he likes peas out of the garden too. he likes potato salad. he doesnt like watermelon. i'm looking forward to trying cantaloupe. i do not plan on buying jar baby food at all - nothing...none! i havent with Asher or Esther either for the most part. Unfortunately the oldest 3 got it & I think it really messes them up - but it's not like they dont get over it. I just think it's a bad start to learning what foods they like. baby food is disgusting. i would rather them get a real taste of the real thing.

and now for poor calpurnia. she is 38 days into her 63 day pregnancy & she is MISERABLE!!  i feel terrible for even doing this to her. she has me concerned majorly. she is not herself at all. she wont even wag her tail at me (but she did at Ferb, the cat, tonight when i took her out to use the bathroom). all she does is lay around & sleep. she barely eats. if she isnt better by Monday i might have to go against everything i believe in & take her to the vet. i do not want to lose my sweet dog. she is very precious to me. everything i have read says that yorkies take it hard - pregnancy - & they are diferent for the duration of the pregnancy. but this is extreme.
anyway, here she is. please say a prayer for her. she means a lot to me & i really want her to be ok.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

levi grows a tooth!

i meant to get a picture today of sweet little levi but life moves at record pace some days. anyway he got a tooth. a little bottom one. and would you believe he has been so sweet - no fussing whatsoever. his pleasant demeanor reminds us of rachel so much as a baby. he only fusses when he is hungry &/or tired - which can be at the same time. (for the record rachel never cried when she was hungry or tired. she only cried when we "hurt her feelings" by disciplining her. she would tell us that when we would scold her. she was so cute way back when!! now she's just beautiful).
anyway, levi also tried peaches tonight. i have this mesh pacifier teether thing from target that you put food into & the baby can chew on it & suck it & the food gets all mushed up & comes through the mesh. well that boy put a hurting on some peaches tonight. he was sticky afterwards, but smiled the whole while i was wiping him down. my sweet boy!!
oh & another milestone we met is asher can swing himself now. boy times flies. these babies of mine are growing up way too fast!

Friday, July 1, 2011

dead fish & reading glasses

today another one of our little fish in the pond died. asher thought it was so cool. we gave the poor little dead fish a proper burial down the toilet! asher was delighted.

and i have come to the realization i am not as young as i use to be. i bought my first pair of reading glasses tonight. they are not very strong but enough to give me the boost i have been needing when reading small print. 

i never tire of this!!

my garden is so beautiful!! look at all the bounty she offers!!! GOD IS SO GOOD!!!

3 types of watermelons!!! (and that doesnt include the ones that volunteered). this first one i am going to pick. i think it's ready to eat!!

the best field peas you will ever eat. they will be ready to pick soon. i was thinking by tomorrow but not quite. abigail keeps asking if we can pick them. 
row of tomatoes. the cherry & patio tomatoes are really starting to come in. i think in the next week the tomatoes will take off. we have had enough to make us ready for more!!

and cucumbers. i said to clay the other night i think i had the sweetest cucumber i had ever had in my life!! they are so good. especially after a cold winter!! i am going to try my hand at pickling tomorrow. AGAIN!

Then there is the corn, green beans & lima beans!! the lima beans are starting to put out also. i'm sure i will be shelling field peas & lima beans within the same time frame. it's going to get busy around here! the first stand of corn is almost ready too! they have tassles out the top of the for their golden tassles to turn brown!

 this is the okra which needs to be cut & given to the goat (it's been to long to be any good) and let another crop grow up. it will produce & produce if we keep cutting it. okra is kind of hard to deal with. you have to cut it within the first 2 days of it's appearance on the plant. i'm not that good. that's also onions, 2 more tomatoes, 3 more cucumber plants, some honey dew plants, pumpkin plants & some red & sweet potatoes. there is also some basil on the end also as well as some volunteered watermelon plants. the ground is giving & giving this year.

there is asher's "big max" pumpkins. we planted 2 plants initially. have 1 growing on the back lot also & i just planted 2 new plants so we will see what comes up. every time asher sees them he says "that's got to be a record!!" our pumpkin last year was HUGE!!! so we will see. 

our zucchini. they grow so large they are as big around as the kids thighs.  

 our cantaloupe patch!!! if you enlarge it you can possible see the cantaloupes in there. there are tons!! TONS!!
 and our sunflowers. these are just for fun - for me. i dont know how to harvest the seeds. i wish i did. i guess i should learn. the bees were having a fun time out there today.
 and this gives you perspective on how tall they are.
 asher is one of my constant companions in the garden. he is sooooo sweet. i cut him a BIG sunflower since he is a big boy!!
esther is my other constant human companion in the garden. every time i pick a cherry tomato she says "a grape!!" she was happy with her sunflower until asher told her to watch out for the bees. then i had to carry it in the house for her. we cut 5 of them & put them in a vase on the counter. so pretty and perfect.
 here are my other 2 companions when i am out in the garden. these 2 love to run through the plants with me screaming at them to get out & not break the plants!!!! they are good dogs. i'm not thrilled with their housebreaking skills to date, but everything else with them is good. they are loving, affectionate, friendly dogs.
the bounty of our garden reminds me of this verse - even though i do not feel i am worthy of God's blessing on the is this to think on.

Deuteronomy 28: 1-14

Blessings for Obedience

'If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations on earth.
All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the LORD your God:
You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country.
The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock—the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks.
Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed.
You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out.
The LORD will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven.
The LORD will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to. The LORD your God will bless you in the land he is giving you.
The LORD will establish you as his holy people, as he promised you on oath, if you keep the commands of the LORD your God and walk in obedience to him.
Then all the peoples on earth will see that you are called by the name of the LORD, and they will fear you.
The LORD will grant you abundant prosperity—in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your ground—in the land he swore to your ancestors to give you.
The LORD will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none.
The LORD will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the LORD your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom.
Do not turn aside from any of the commands I give you today, to the right or to the left, following other gods and serving them. "