Saturday, August 24, 2013

Pick Your Own

One of the many things we've loved about Connecticut and Maryland have been the 'Pick Your Own' farms.

Last weekend one of our friends texted us about a farm they just went to where you could pick your own peaches for what turned out to be about 60¢ per pound.  She said they had a fun little tractor ride to the orchard and a box that you filled as high as you could for $19.  The catch was that this weekend was the last weekend for it.

So on Friday we loaded into the van and headed north.  Matt had work and had to miss out on the fun.  I've decided it's a whole lot more fun when everyone in the family is there because I kept thinking, "Matt would love this place."

It's a family farm that's going on 100 years of producing peaches and apples as their main crops.  When we pulled up we were greeted with a farm house with a large fruit stand building that had all the fun touches that these places often have: apple cider donuts, heirloom tomatoes, home grown produce of every kind, hand dipped ice cream cones, flavored honey sticks, jams, jellies, honey jars and such.  It was the first hint of Fall I've felt.

Off to the side there was a huge old tree with three tire swings that were made to look like horses and two Corn hole games with bean bags set up.  It was so much fun!

We loaded up on the wagon and set off for the orchards.
(Joshua had just woken up from a nap and wasn't happy about me not holding him)

Some of the peaches were larger than softballs!  They're still pretty hard but in a week or 10 days they'll be perfect for bottling.  If Matt went with us I'm sure we would have come home with four boxes and not two.  He's the bottler in our family:).

It's definitely a place we'll return to.  Our friend said they do the same for apples and then have fun pumpkin and corn maze activities later in the Fall.

Mushroom City

This year has been the year of bugs and moisture.  When we moved here the peninsula we kept hearing talk of the drought we were in.  But it was still raining occasionally and so to us Westerners, we balked.  But now we understand what the natives were talking about:).

We had a beautiful, cool Spring that actually lasted like a Spring on the calendar says it lasts, and really have only had 2 or 3 weeks of hot, hot weather.  Because of all of this pleasantness though, our lawn is like a fairyland of mushrooms.  Here's a shot of one group, with my foot's portrait, to give perspective.

These are small compared to some my friends have posted, but there are scores of these in our yard.  
Kind of makes you want to write a fairy tale about the miniature cities that probably dwell down there:).

It's coming along

One thing Matt and I have noticed about ourselves is we were much better home remodelers when we didn't have children;).

We've been in our home for almost 2.5 years and we've only finished our laundry room and are mid-way through our dining room.  We start and stop so much that it's hard to get into an even flow of things.  But that's how it goes, I guess.  I've stopped telling my mother of ideas we have and future projects because I think she's tired of hearing about the progress we HAVEN'T made:).

But here are some pictures of our dining room progress. We decided to go with a bold, dark color, with wainscoting and crown molding.  I almost pulled out the roller to put on a lighter shade after Matt said, "now all we have to do is put a big 'A' on the wall and it will be our USU Aggie room". But since then I think it will come together nicely after we put up curtains and accessorize.  Our joke is that we don't buy things so we don't have to move them, but I think after nearly 14 years of marriage, we're tired of bare walls and a college dorm appearance.

Here's the before.  I guess it's not the true true before with the wallpaper and wallpaper border, but I forgot to take that picture.  I'm sure I have one in our files somewhere, but I'm not going to find it tonight:).

Last summer we had a painter come paint our brown trim while we were gone to Utah.  That was about the same time I started taking down the wallpaper.  Yeah, it sat that way for over a year.  Then I finally finished with the wallpaper and Matt had to sheet rock compound the heck out of it after all the gouges I'd put in the walls during removal.

Next we painted down two-thirds of the wall with our dark blue and up 1/3 with the white.  Then we put up the chair rail and the boards down, to mimic wainscoting.  Then it was crown molding.  I'm too tired to go into detail but that's the condensed version of it.

Here's pretty much where we are now, with everything installed and painted twice.  (I took this before the crown molding was finished)
We have to caulk and paint and then hopefully get out of this room and onto another project before October;).

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Parenting 101: Redirecting

Joshua likes to dismantle our IKEA stools and turn the legs into weapons.  It's been a challenge to redirect his intentions but I think Matt may have come up with a winner.  Here's the result ....

video

Someone get that boy a real tee:).

Friday, August 2, 2013

Summertime

Yesterday I took a video of Joshua - which I'll share soon, it's pretty hilarious - and as I sat on the couch next to Matt to show it to him, I got to scrolling through the 538 pictures I have on there since we moved here. It made me realize how quickly children grow and how many summer activities I haven't documented:).  So here's a fun one ...

THE WARD CAMPOUT

Never in a million years would I have imagined, as a 10-year old girl growing up in Ephraim, Utah, that some day my ward campout would include beaches, wild horses and dophins, all in an 18-hr period.  But then again, I don't think I would've imagined that my small-town loving best friends would have lived in and traveled frequently to other parts of the world either.  Going to Provo on our own was the thrill of a lifetime!  Let alone living in Japan and traveling to the Far East and extensively through South America.

The Primary (children's organization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) was in charge of the major planning and so we got kickin'.  I've got the best. counselors and secretary. EVER.  It made it a really fun and easy activity.

We gathered on a Friday afternoon, set up tents, and started cooking.

We ended up having just over 50 people come, which is pretty good taking into account our average Sacrament Mtg. attendance is 95, half of which are seasoned citizens.

After dinner we had a variety show where each auxillary was in charge of a segment.  They included a rock version of "Popcorn Popping", a solo guitarist, the background of Coast Guard duties and history, a skit which included a Mormon version of "Are you going to Scarborough Fair", and a lip sync of "I Will Survive" by the Primary Presidency.  The Bishop rounded it out with some thoughts and a marshmallow attack.  It was pretty fun.

After that, we packed up and a little more than half of the people went home.  Those who stayed behind got ready for bed and started to settle in tents.  Then the wind picked up.  We halfway expected this, just because that's what it does at night when the cool air meets with warm air on the beach line.  But then a storm popped up out of seemingly nowhere and we had a roller coaster ride for a good 15 minutes.  It was gusting so badly that tents started collapsing.  At one point Sophie was lying down on her sleeping bag with her head at the back of the tent and with a wind gust she looked like the wicked witch of the east, with only her trunk and legs visible.  The tent side dipped in with such force that I couldn't even hold it up to get it off her face and shoulders.  She screamed like a banshee, complete with legs kicking and arms flailing.  We made a quick decision to pack up the big tents because their high-profile was where most of the problem was.  After packing up with two of them and seeing the families on their way (at 10:15 p.m.) I went back to our tent to find three of our four children sleeping.  The wind had died down considerably and so Matt suggested we just stay.  The small tents stayed too and it ended up being fine.  

The next adventure started at 2 a.m. when I awoke after hearing a pawing noise.  The beach island where we were is home of wild horses, so I peaked my head outside the tent and saw the profile of a horse pawing at our three coolers.  It had knocked one of them over and was busily eating some of our breakfast.  I think the activity and busyness of the night before made us forget logic and pack our coolers away in a vehicle or tent, but there it was, eating our bananas and bagels.  I woke up Matt and he spent the next hour or two chasing horses away.

Just like any other camping it's pretty hard to sleep past when the sun starts to come up, and for us on the beach that was just about 5 a.m.
 That's been one of our beach life bucket list items: to see the sun rise over the ocean.  It's pretty incredible.  Matt and I walked to the water and marveled at the beauty for a bit then looked back and found our little ones still in slumberland.

After a breakfast of what was left untouched by the horses we packed up the tent and the campsite, said goodbye to other campers and headed out to the beach for some play and swim time.  A little later Matt pointed out something in the ocean and said he thought they were dolphins.  It took me a while to see and believe what he saw, but then sure enough, there were two pods of three dolphins each swimming and jumping off the beach about 100 yards.  Totally awesome. 

Such a fun memory and good times to look back on during one of our 2013 summertime adventures.