My Fab Fam

My Fab Fam
Photo by Thousand Hills Photography. Click on photo to visit their site.

Friday, October 10, 2014

This is How We Do Fall (Break)

I wrote this last night but couldn't get the pictures to upload. Technical difficulties. Just pretend it's still Thursday. Yes! That gives me another day at home with my girlies...

I know I've said it before momma is more happy than me when school is out! I love having my girls home. This week has been so good. Full of lots of good.

Fall break started at exactly 2:35 on Friday. I was sitting in the pick-up line to get my girl when the dismissal bell rang. Yippee!

First item of fun: welcoming home some friends who had been vacaying in New York. We had been watching their house and taking care of their lawn and pool (which might have resulted in a few swims). They brought home some New York treats: apples, apple donuts, maple syrup, aged cheddar, cheese curds...yum! The girls and I didn't get fifty feet from their house before ripping into the squeaky cheese curds. 

Friday night we drove to my hometown. My cousin was holding her annual bonfire on Saturday night and on Sunday my sister's church was hosting the second annual ALS bike ride in memory of my brother. We drove home late Sunday. 

Monday my man had to return to work, :( but the girls and I lounged all day. Amidst catching up on laundry, we watched movies, read books, and played. Monday night the Mr. took us out for pizza and wings and a movie - Dolphin Tale 2. 

Tuesday was more chillaxing at home, with a lot of time spent outside. We got yet another amazing harvest from the garden - sweet potatoes, lettuces, bell peppers, banana peppers, and cherry tomatoes. I wish I had taken a picture! Every time I think the garden is done, I wait a few days and find more!

Tuesday night was my big girl's usual riding lesson. Her sweet teacher remarked on E's growing confidence. The summer has brought a lot of growth. We only have a few more weeks before the-ever-earlier-sunset will snuff out our time with beautiful Cocoa and rambunctious Pooh. Until next spring. We may run over before then to help with an occasional feeding or to clean stalls, and if there is unusually good weather, E hopes she may squeeze in a ride here or there.

(Forgive the poor photo quality. I promise: I am going to buy a new phone soon!)


Yesterday (Wednesday) we went to library and got nine books, two of which were chapter books. We have already read eight. We read all seven of the easy reads yesterday and this morning's rainy weather gave us an opportunity to read our first Magic Tree House book, in one sitting. We think we may like this series.

We also went to the pumpkin patch yesterday. We went through a very loooong corn maze, the girls played in the grain bin, fed goats, and climbed on tires, and we all picked out a nice round pumpkin. I see roasted pumpkin and pumpkin muffins in my future! 

While we were looking for the perfect pumpkins, a worker talked me into buying a cushaw. I had no idea what it was, but when he said it tasted like a sweet potato, I was sold! So, now I am in search of recipes. Anyone?

We finished off our Wednesday with a movie, popcorn, and hot chocolate. Ahhhhh.

Today, the girls have played all day, creating "houses" in the living room, playing "sisters," and, of course, reading Magic Tree House. Meanwhile, I have made bread, canned pickled banana peppers and stewed tomatoes, researched cushaw recipes and how to cure sweet potatoes, and done laundry.

Which brings me to the un-fun thing I have been working on this fall break - washing all the winter coats. As it turns out, the stinky coat closet (we couldn't figure out why it had started smelling so yucky) has actually been growing some white mold. Can we all say GROSS!?!? I have been soaking the coats in diluted bleach water and washing, one or two at a time. Next will be all the blankets, hats, scarves, and gloves. And then the fun job of scrubbing down the walls with bleach water. There are only a few spots on a few of the jackets, but I'm washing everything! I'm so grossed out by this. Has anyone else ever had this happen or is this totally abnormal? I pondered throwing everything away. Is that crazy?

On to happier thoughts...

Tonight my babies are going to their Nana's. I'm sad. I really don't want to give them up. Oops. This is supposed to be happier thoughts! Okay, the happy part is they get time together - they are dying to go as much as she is dying to see them - and I will get to work uninterrupted in the kitchen, which is probably my most favorite thing to do, next to working in the garden. I will roast pumpkin and preserved basil this afternoon. Look at all this beauty!

And when the Mr. gets home, we will be sawing wood for a project he has been commissioned to do. This is how we do date nights.


**I just found out about this easy way to preserve basil in olive oil today. I'll let you know how it tastes later, but for now, just feast your eyes:


**Recipe for Pickled Banana Peppers:

I gleaned from this one and this one. I only had enough peppers to do one pint. So, I used...

1/2 c. water
1  1/2 c. vinegar
a squeeze of honey
1 pressed garlic clove

Brought water, vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper to a boil... Added garlic and banana peppers... Returned to a boil and boiled another couple of minutes... Ladled in jar, sealed, and processed for about 5 mins.
Why I processed, I do not know, because they will not live in that jar long enough to warrant it. 


**Curing sweet potatoes:

When I planted my sweet potatoes, I didn't know I would have to cure them.  Nor did I know that the ideal curing environment was between 85-95 degrees with approximately 85-95% humidity. A friend offered the use of her green house, but I really wanted to figure out a way to do it on my own. 

I dug up my sweet potatoes late Tuesday, and left them out in the sun yesterday to dry, but forgot them and last night's rain undid what the sun did. I brought them in this morn, toweled them off, and stuck them in my oven. I found out a while back that if I just turn my oven light on, it heats up the oven enough to make my bread rise. So I turned the light on and put a bowl of water and the food thermometer in the oven. Little did I know the light will keep the oven about 90 degrees if I open the door ocassionally. Perfect!! Here's to improvisation! 

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