Tuesday, July 17, 2012

In the Garden

 It is so hot today! We have heat advisories again. I was used to this weather when I lived in Georgia but since I have been here in Ohio for nearly 9 years...the heat gets to me a bit.

I have been doing a little bit of work in my garden beds when the sun goes behind the clouds.

In garden bed one, I pulled out my zucchini plants. It seems they have some vine borer problems. I left the squash plant because it has two squash on it that still need to grow. I have watermelon and cantaloupe growing up the trellis. Around the beginning of August I will plant more sweet peas and carrots in this bed for a nice fall harvest. I'm hoping to get enough sweet peas to can a few!

Garden bed two looks bare and dry despite my watering. I have 5 tomato plants in this bed. The ones on the trellis are doing well but the Mortgage lifter ones I transplanted from the buckets into his bed hate me. They are setting fruit now so I hope they will do much better. I pulled out the pumpkin vines from this bed as well. The heat killed the vine but I was able to get 2 medium sized orange pumpkins and a tiny little ghost pumpkin and a little orange jack be little pumpkin. I am happy with that. Oh and we have been enjoying yellow onions from this bed. They grew to between baseball and softball sized!

Bed number 3 is my favorite so far! It has my wall of green beans and cucumbers. I intermixed them and they LOVE each other. I have gotten so many cucumbers and several messes of green beans. I am one happy momma! This bed also contains 2 eggplant plants...neither of which have set fruit! 
I will be planting a fall crop here too. I plan on doing spinach, lettuces, and broccoli.

This is just past my garden beds. This MESS is blackberries. Since this is the 2nd season for these two plants I haven't really gotten much from them. The birds tend to eat most of the fruit. I think I will trellis them this fall!  I need some order here!

Here is what is left of the herbs and such I had on my back deck. We had a bad storm last month and it blew most of them off the railings. Luckily I still have some of them. I also have two long deck boxes. One I just harvested green onion from and another is empty.

Here is today's garden harvest. The green onion I spoke of above and some potatoes. The heat killed my poor potato plants so I decided to dig around and see what I could find in my containers. I have enough here for a little sampling and I am surprised I got that much!
Now that I'm cooled down, I am going to plant some lettuces and some carrots in my deck boxes outside. I love having fresh produce right outside my back door.

I also have big plans on transforming my whole back yard into a beautiful gardening/ entertaining area. I want to make a patio area with my fire pit raised in the middle. I also want to build tall raised beds to plant in with benches attached to them. I also have a strawberry tower in mind and some ideas on some homemade patio furniture....Now if my finances would balance out...oh that is another post entirely!

Back to the garden,

Monday, July 16, 2012


Hello again my friends. I am so excited! I have jumped right in today and canned some dill pickle slices! Now this may not sound like a big to-do but I have been worrying and fretting over this since last gardening season! 

Last year when I planted my garden I had very high hopes of being able to can green beans, make pickles, and make salsa. That is where I wanted to begin. I also wanted to take advantage of some of the "u-pick" places around here and get some blackberries, apples, and strawberries. So I bought a case of pint sized Ball jars, a canning kit that had a jar lifter, a jar funnel, a lid lifter, and a head space/bubble remover tool. I also bought a few packets of dill pickle seasoning and salsa seasonings to start with. WELL, my garden didn't do well enough to preserve anything and I didn't have the money to go to any "u-pick" farms. 

I was also very scared to try to can my own foods. I know people have done it for YEARS but after reading the Ball canning book I had purchased and some other books I had checked out from the library, I had myself so worried, I wasn't sure I could do it. I didn't want to do something wrong and make my family sick OR spend all of that time, energy, and money and end up wasting it on spoiled food! (yup my hubby tells me I tend to over-think things)

This year is different though! My garden is flourishing! I have had to give away cucumbers, eat cucumbers, juice cucumbers so I decided to make some pickles! I got out my jars, my seasonings, my utensils. I washed all the items and sterilized all the items. I followed directions for making the liquid brine. I cut up 8 cucumbers. I filled up hot, sterile jars with yummy, ripe cucumber slices, poured hot brine over them, wiped the rims of the jars clean, popped the lids and bands on the jars, put them in a hot water bath, brought it up to a boil and then timed it for 15 minutes. When all was said and done.....I got this....

Five pint jars of shelf pickles and one jar of refrigerator pickles!!!!!

I am mighty proud of myself and NOW I can't wait to get a bunch of tomatoes to make salsa!
AND I am scouring the newspaper for Ads for "u-pick" farms!

I can't wait to preserve some more foods. I even want to do some quarts of some of the soup recipes in the Ball Canning Book

Here's to making your own pickles!!!!!


Saturday, July 14, 2012

5K Maybe

Hello again my friends.

Whew it is so hot and sticky right now! I don't really like that feeling...The air is thick, your skin feels sticky, and clothes seem to stick to your body...Not to mention what that humidity does to my wavy hair...My hair looks like a big frizz ball right now. I am so ready for rain and cooler, more comfortable weather.

This weather has stalled my 5k training a bit.

Oh I forgot to tell you, didn't I?

Well in my younger years, before having my children, I was very active and athletic. I loved to play volleyball and softball. I did some cheer activities and tumbling. I was always doing something. That all changed when I had my first child. I was only 19 years old and I was pretty much STUCK inside all day taking care of my child. When she was 18 months I had my second child, 2 years later my 3rd, and 2 years after that, my fourth child came along. I have been stuck in the same rut since they were born. Inside taking care of them and the house. Not getting out and doing much. I have been going insane.

Well, now that my baby is 7 years old, we have been getting out more. We enjoy nature hikes, bike riding, swimming, neighborhood walks. We enjoy outdoors a lot. I have realized I don't HAVE to be stuck inside anymore. It is EASIER to get out and enjoy places.

I have always wanted to do charity runs. I want to do the Flying Pig 5k next year in Cincinnati as my ice breaker event. I would also love to do a 10 k, a half marathon, a full marathon, and a triathlon. I don't want to do it for anything but to enjoy myself and help raise money for various charities and organizations.

The down side to my dreams is that I never thought I could do it. I am so very out of shape. I have bad knees and hips from the abuse I put on them being active in my younger years. I also have disc problems in my lower back. However, I decided this summer I would TRY.

So earlier this summer, I began to train. I would use the track at our school. I only live 2 blocks from it so I would walk to the track and then walk one lap around the track. Then, on the next lap, I would run the curved parts of the track and walk the straight parts, the next lap I would switch it up and run the straight parts and walk the curved parts. I also would utilize the bike trail in our town. I would walk a while, then jog until I got winded, then walk, then run up the very steep hill that led away from the trail. I was committed.

I have learned some very important things about myself. For one, I am the biggest obstacle I face. I kept telling myself I couldn't jog for so long I had started believing it and I was afraid to try. I also learned that I LOVE to jog. I don't have to jog fast, I don't have to jog for a long distance, I can jog as I feel like it. I can take my time to build myself up to jogging 3.5 miles without stopping to walk. There is no rush! I also learned that my BODY LOVES jogging. My hips and knees felt better, stronger, less painful. My lower back would loosen up. I felt so much better afterwards it would affect my whole day. I chose better foods and better drinks. I would be more active. I was happier and ENJOYED life more.

Then a monkey wrench was thrown in. You see, I don't feel comfortable with jogging by myself or with one of my daughters. We have some not-so-good people in our little town and I am afraid for my safety. My partner in jogging was my wonderful hubby BUT he has suffered an injury. A torn tendon in his heel. He was on crutches for a while and he has to take it easier until the tendon rebuilds. The weather has also kept me from jogging. It isn't good to jog when you get up in the morning and the heat index is already to 90 degrees. I can't jog at night because I don't feel safe. I am STUCK once again.

As of this moment, it has been 2 weeks since I have done any kind of jogging. My body isn't reacting very well. My back is stiff and sore again. My knees and hips give me agony. I don't sleep well at night due to the pain. My mood is horrible because I want to be out there jogging around my neighborhood. My eating habits fell back into the unhealthy modes. I am not choosing what is best for my body anymore. I am feeding the cravings/addictions I have for junk foods. I have gained the 5 pounds I had lost back. I feel horrible about myself.

The up side is...I KNOW I can pick it back up again. I know I will be able to get back to where I was easily. I just have to start again. I think I will start tomorrow. I think I need to buy some pepper spray so I will feel safe. I think I now have a plan.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Our Summer Vacation (so far)

I want to start off with an apology. My friends I am truly sorry I haven't been keeping up with my blog. I realize if I would blog more often I wouldn't write such LONG posts that keep you away from things you would like to do. Please accept my apology and I will try to find my bloggy voice again.

Now for the goods. LET ME TELL YOU...this summer has been so crazy. We have been going, going, going. We have been trying to stay cool in the CrAzY heat. We have had actual temps of 105+ degrees! We have been to several birthday parties (Yay for swim parties with the heat) and we have also been doing the summer reading thing at the library...OH and to help with the "Kids stay inside because it is too darn hot to be outside" by checking out toys and movies from the library. 

Now I am gonna get to the 33 yes 33 pictures of the stuffs we have been doing.


We went to Wilmington again this year to see the fireworks. My hubby works in Wilmington so we just met him up there that afternoon. IT WAS HOT! Over 100 degrees BUT we had to get the best fireworks watching spot.

Here is Eddie and Hope patiently waiting in the heat to watch the fireworks.

My poor hubby was miserably hot. Him being a redhead makes him prone to sun sickness so he wasn't a happy camper.

My daughter Faith and I sat in the back of the van to get some SHADE. The people behind her are friends of ours. We saved them a spot so their 2 daughters could have a good view too!

Here are all 6 children at dusk. They were getting really excited.

Sure was kind of fun listening to them all giggle. Our friends' youngest daughter laughed her little head off at my oldest daughter creating arm pit farts.

We did make it to see the fireworks and we were super happy to feel the cooler night air.


We have spent several afternoons at the skate park. My oldest daughter and my youngest son love to skateboard.

Here you can see Hope mastering her skateboard.

And Sj chasing his :)


We have spent several days fishing, hiking, swimming, picnicking, and playing cornhole at Paint Creek Lake.

Here is a tree my hubby carved our initials in several years ago. I am super happy no one has scared them over.

The hiking paths are so beautiful.

And full of bugs. My oldest Loves bugs.

A nice shot of the water.

My boys on one of the paths.

Paint Creek has a nice visitors center too. They let the kiddos get some freebies of coloring books and stickers. They also let you use the cornhole bags for free as long as you have them back before the park closes.

Here is a shot of my kiddos on a mock bridge in the flower/water garden at the visitors center.

The moon over Paint Creek was STUNNING!

Here is the top of the dam all lit up at night.


We also have played a lot of games to beat the heat. The boys and I love to play monopoly even though my youngest son who is only 7 years old beats us every time!

Roxy isn't thrilled with family game night. She prefers to sleep.


Our local fire department holds a water fun day for all the kiddos a few times during the summer.

They use the firetrucks to spray water on all the kids AND the local Community Action provides free lunches for all the kids.


My oldest daughter, who aspires to be an artist, drew this likeness of Joyce Meyer. I think she has done a wonderful job here.


I haven't had much time to crochet but here is a pic of my hubby with his Father's Day gift from me. I crocheted him a cute little groundhog club cover.

I have also been working on the "never-ending ripple blanket". I just keep finding colors I want to add. I have also been making wash/dish clothes and I am finding patterns and planning tons of baby items for a friend of mine who is now 3 1/2 months pregnant.


I am still using my coupons. I got the hair color below for free.

Ok I had to pay tax but I saved over $11.00..


We have visited Rocky Fork Lake a few times as well.

We love this dam.

It is so neat.

Love this shot of my family looking at the dam! L to R Hope, hubby, Sj, Eddie, Faith

The dam from the bottom

We also love to watch the sail boats on the lake.

And while I'm watching the boats....hubby likes to fish.


I also love to get these kind of freebies. This one was a facebook promotion...it came with a bunch of great target coupons.

And that is all for right now. Other than all the stuff I have already mentioned I have been taking care of a sick child, my oldest has tonsillitis and has been running a fever. I have been taking care of an injured child, Sj has a busted upper lip because his brother decided to head butt him. And I have been taking care of sick cats. Some of our kittens have an eye infection that we have been treated with prescription meds from the vet. All on top of all my household duties and keeping up with all the stuff going on! 

I am one tired but extremely happy momma and wouldn't have it any other way.