Thursday, August 16, 2018

Thankful Thursday - Edition 33

Here is a list of all the things I'm thankful for this week:

1. Our back-to-school shopping is done!  We found pants for Sarah last week at the mall and it wasn't too traumatic for either one of us.  Back packs, lunch boxes, uniform shirts and some initial supplies have also been purchased.  The balance will come once the kids know exactly what they need for each class.

2. Coffee.  The first thing I do in the mornings is get a cup of coffee. 

3. The Keuring.  I do not miss brewing a whole pot at one time.  I can enjoy my weak coffee and Dan can enjoy his strong coffee.

4. After 14 years Sarah has finally been trained to empty the dishwasher without me having to ask her. 

5. Having another mower in the house.  Dan was just saying a few weeks ago that he really enjoys/appreciates having Peter around to mow the grass (he's been doing it for three years now) and he's glad he doesn't have to do it any more.  I then reminded him that Peter will be gone in a few years and he'll be back to doing it himself. 

6. Sleeping in.  I've really enjoyed sleeping until 6:30 this summer.  During the school year I get up at 5:30 but over summer vacation I sleep in until Dan gets up for work.  I'm going to miss that extra hour next week.

7. $10 bouquets from the farmer's market. 

8. Our health.  Other than a few minor hiccups here and there, our family is healthy and I hope I never forget to be thankful for that!

9. The sunshine. 

10.  The warm but cooler weather.  It has been so nice around here this week.  It's warm but upper 80s warm instead of mid 90s warm.  Perfection!

11.  Peter gets his braces off today!

12. My workout partners.  I'm going to miss them next week when they go back to school. 

13.  Football season!  I love football season and this Friday night is the first high school game.  I guess Fall really is coming and there's nothing I can do to stop it but I do love watching football! (Go Patriots!)

14. The Red Sox.  Not sure if you knew or not but they are currently the best team in baseball.  One of the best things about this time of year is that I get to watch baseball and football!  And it's even better when your team is winning!

15. These chicken patties from Aldi.  I like the Mexican version and Sarah likes the Mediterranean version the best.  So good with avocado salad and creama - and low carb too!  Such a quick and tasty lunch!

What are you thankful for this week?

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Do not waste your money on the sea weed snacks.

The kids start back to school next Wednesday and Thursday and once again I am shaking my head in disbelief at how quickly summer vacation has passed.

I just signed Sarah up for her fall swim classes.  The instructor who has taught her before has teamed up with the YMCA (actually he is now the director for all their competitive year round swimmers through a program called Tyde) and his seasonal program (preparing kids for high school swim in the fall and summer league in the spring) is now part of the YMCA and the Tyde program and it's being offered at several different Y locations with different instructions. 

Sarah's summer swim coach (who we all adore) is teaching the class at the Y that is much more convenient to us than the one the other instructor is at and the time is much better so, we are switching things up this fall.  Sarah's excited to be gearing up for high school swimming and she is super excited by the fact that Rachel will be coaching her at the Y.

Speaking of high school swim, the Bishop swim team is holding a meet and greet at a local restaurant on Sunday evening so the new swimmers and parents can meet the existing members and coaches.  She is very excited about this so I hope that goes well.

Sarah finished her summer reading book the other day and is now working on the paper.  Peter is still reading his but is not concerned that school starts in a little over a week.  He is also not concerned that he still has a lot of summer math assignments to work through for his math class before school starts. 

While we were on vacation, I was harassing him gently reminding him about getting his work done and he basically said, "Mom, you constantly bugging me about this stuff isn't going to make me want to get it done any sooner.  I've got it under control."

So, I guess he's got it under control and at the very last minute he will get it done .  I just have to find a way to be okay with that.  I should be used to it by now because that's the way he operates.  I just don't want any last minute fires that I'm going to be responsible for putting out.  But he says he's got it under control so I guess I have to trust him.  He is going to be in TENTH grade after all.  Y'all, I can't even...

Our poor little garden is a hot mess.  We came back from vacation and thanks to all the rain the garden has been stunted.  There are a ton of tiny little tomatoes but  nothing big and beautiful like we were getting before all the rain.  And now all the vines are dying.  There have been some years we have gotten tomatoes well into October.  That's not happening this year.

Also our jalapenos are very tiny.  We are getting plenty of them but they aren't getting to the size they normally do.   I have canned what I've been able to get and we've made a couple of batches of jalapeno poppers. 

We planted a couple of Thai chili plants on a whim and they seem to be producing just fine although without having grown them before, it's hard to know..  Yesterday I made a batch of pepper jelly and I think it is going to be a good consistency.  When I've tried pepper jelly in the past it has either been too runny or too gummy (this was after I doubled the pectin in frustration.)  This batch might be just about right BUT when I tasted a little that was left over in the pot it was so HOT.  I'm hoping that once it's cooled and I try some it will be hot and sweet.  Here's a few pictures from my jelly making yesterday:

The Thai chili peppers.

Trimmed up with garlic in the food processor.

Chopped and ready!

Cooking away with six cups of sugar and 2 cups of vinegar!

Processing the jars!

Taaaa - Daaaaa!!!!  And look at all those seeds.  I really think I should have used more sugar!

Dan wants to dry out the next big batch and make chili pepper flakes.  So hopefully the two plants in the garden will continue putting out so we can give that a whirl!

While I was grocery shopping yesterday I saw some seaweed snacks.  Sarah is always looking for healthy snacks so I picked up a little pack to try. 

And they were about as disgusting as you think they would be. It was like biting into baked sea water - salty, fishy, gross.   Luckily this was a tiny pack so only fifty cents wasted.

Sarah made this delicious Ding Dong Bundt Cake for Sunday dessert and I wanted to share the recipe.  It was a lot of steps but it was so very good.  This one will be made again.  Next time though I think we will do it in a spring form pan and not a bundt pan.

On Saturday morning Dan and I finally painted another wall in the garage.  It's been our first free Saturday since we painted that first wall way back in June I think.  It was good to get one more wall done and I think the next Saturday we have free we will be able to knock out the other two at once.  

After the wall painting, we got cleaned up and met Dan's sister Cathy and her boy friend Eric at the farmer's market.  They had been in Charlotte/Lake Norman competing in a big sail boat race and were on their way back to D.C. So we spent some time shopping at the market and eating shave ice (and yes, that's what the sign said shave ice instead of shaved ice).  And of course, I got a $10 bouquet of flowers while I was there:


This bouquet is loaded with so many gorgeous dahlias!

That's what we've been up to and now  I am off to do a load of laundry and try to wake up the kids to see if they want to go with me to the gym!

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Thankful Thursday - Edition 31 and 32

It's Thursday and that means it's time for a list of what I've been thankful for the past TWO weeks since I wasn't able to post last week.  Here goes...

1. Safe travels.  It's a long drive to Massachusetts and back so I'm always thankful for safety while on the road.

2.  Good vacation weather.  It only rained on us one afternoon.  The rest of the time it was sunny!

3. Lots of rain at home.  Unfortunately while we were gone we got a lot of rain at home which lead to flooding in a lot of areas around here but the grass which was so brown and dead before we left is so green and gorgeous now. 

4. We lost a lot of tomatoes to all the rain (too much rain makes them split and bust) and some of the vines are diseased BUT we still had plenty of tomatoes when we got home and I was able to try a delicious recipe last night for dinner - Tomato Jalapeno Cheddar Cheese Soup.  And even though it's hot outside soup felt perfect last night because guess what?  It was raining! 

5. We had a really nice vacation. I love my family and spending 10 straight days 24/7 with them is always fun.  It's not always perfect because in between all the fun activities and laughter there was definitely complaining and arguing but I think that's exactly what a vacation is supposed to be - it's never perfect but at the end, time spent with the people I love the most is always good.

6.I am also thankful for time spent with Dan's family - Dick, Jennifer, Jillian, Cathy, Great Uncle Bob and Ronnie.  We don't get to see them enough so having extra time with them during vacation is always a blessing.

7. My parents and brother - I am thankful for them always but especially when we are gone because they watch the house, bring in the mail, feed our cats, clean the litter box, tend the garden, and water the plants.  AND on the day we arrive home, my parents always have us over for a nice meal so I don't have to worry about cooking dinner - which is always nice because there is never anything in the fridge after a 10 day trip! 

8. Shoe Carnival's BOGO sale!  Yesterday Sarah and I went shopping for shoes for school.  I always have the worst luck at the BOGO sale because one kid will like something and the other won't and I don't get to take advantage of the sale.  Sarah and I went and she found the cutest pair of pinkish grayish Adidas (I think) and then we found 8 pairs of Nikes we thought Peter would like and texted him pictures of each pair and he picked one. Easy peasy!  Now all that's left to get is pants for Sarah and that's going to require a trip to the mall and a whole lot of prayers! :)

What are you thankful for this week?

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Cape Cod Vacation

We are back from our Cape Cod vacation!  I apologize for not doing a Thankful Thursday last week but there is no wi-fi at our house on the Cape and the cell service on Cape Cod is horrible so my plan to attempt to post from my phone did not happen.

Apparently there was massive amounts of rain here at home while we were gone and lots of flooding but it was sunny and warm at the Cape so we were able to do everything we wanted to do on our vacation.

Selfies on the beach with my girl...

A visit to the Barnstable County Fair where we did get a little rain but were still able to see a lot of animals, ride a few rides, watch a tractor pull, visit the exhibits, etc....

 And spent more time on the beach with my girl...

We spent some time in Boston before we ....

Harvard Book Store

This was right before a bird flew over and pooped on us!  Luckily I always carry WetWipes!

...we headed to Fenway to see the Red Sox play!!!

Fenway Selfies!

The ballgame went into extra innings but the Red Sox managed to win it in the 13th inning!  We got a lot of extra baseball and after the walk back to our car and the drive back to the Cape, we weren't in bed until 2:00 AM!  It was worth it though!

The next day we went for a bike ride on the Shining Sea Bike Path.  We did the portion from Falmouth to Woods Hole.   It's only about 7 miles round trip and we always stop for lunch in Woods Hole in the middle and cupcakes in Falmouth at the end.  Even I don't complain too much about a bike ride when it includes lunch and cupcakes!

This was our view for part of the ride....  

We got to watch the drawbridge open in Woods Hole.


Cupcakes!  Peter had a Whoopie Pie which is not pictured because he was eating it while this was being taken.  You can see his elbow!  :)

We stopped to take a walk on the beach during our ride.  It was so rocky.  Not sure if they brought those rocks in or not but I was glad we had our shoes on!

On Wednesday, we picked Cathy up from the airport and met Uncle Bob and headed to Glouchester to visit  Uncle Ron (who isn't technically their uncle but in fact on of Uncle Bob's oldest friends from the seminary and spent all the holidays with Dan's family so he really feels  like another uncle.

 And then we spent Thursday on the beach, had the best clam chowder in the world at Captain Parker's, took a quick evening bike ride, and finished a puzzle. 

Cathy and Sarah

That's everyone in the distance playing in the water.

My men.

The chowder!

And then on Friday we took a hike from the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History out to Wings Beach where you can look out over the water and see the arm of the cape just as it looks on the map.  You can't really make that out in the pictures though.

And then one last swim before we packed everything up...

And with that, our Cape Cod vacation was over. I hope you enjoyed our photos.  And now we only  have two weeks until school starts.  How can the summer be over so soon???