The Mystery…..

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The evidence above…..an empty jar of something I have canned…..

The investigation begins as all culprits are in bed when I enter the house from the nightly barn chores…..

First…what did the suspect sneak up from the pantry to eat?

After further investigation (the sniff test) it appears to be some sweet summer peaches which have been devoured!

There are 3 to be pondered….the man of the house, the tween, and the boy

The man of the house would likely never take the time to go into the basement pantry to fetch himself a snack.  Even if he did, by some weird twist of fate, he would never finish off the jar….X he’s off the list

We are down to 2

Let’s see….the boy asked me after school if we were close to winter (today was unseasonably warm)…I say yes

Suspicion arises…was he asking as he knows we “can” special items for the winter???  Could it be the cute cuddly boy who snuck into the basement to grab himself a sweet summer treat??

But wait!!….if memory serves me correctly, when he wanted a new jar of grape jelly we made the other day, he had no idea how to open the top.  Could he have observed me so closely from his perch on the couch that day opening the jar that he now knows how to do it?

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Next up the tween….she came home early from school with a sore throat and not feeling well.  However, she ate many frozen orange juice ice cubes and some soup for dinner.  She was milling about bossing her brother around and complaining she wanted me to bake as I have been neglecting them on their homemade desserts when I was pushing them to get ready for bed before I went to the barn.

The suspicion deepens…she knows how to open the jars, she helped me can them and was eating them hot from the syrup.

BUT…..she would NEVER even at the age of 12, go into the basement alone at night.  This child has a certain fear of the dark and will not go upstairs to her room or into the basement which is an entertainment area with wet bar and bathroom in front and storage area in the back, by herself.

Mystery Solved….the tween coerced the boy into entering the basement with her in promise of a delectable summer sweetened treat before bed.  The final piece of evidence was their favorite bowls in the sink with spoons in them, both empty and pleasantly giving off the aroma of ripe peaches!

NEVER underestimate the power of a mother!!

 

Being Green 2

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These sandwich wraps are a great investment and a great way to get rid of all those pesky sandwich bags!!  I have used the first set I purchased for 2 years.  My son recently “lost” his, as in probably threw it in the garbage at school in a rush to get outside to play after lunch, so I had to purchase a new set.

I have seen these all over in supermarkets and department stores.  However, I believe these are the best around.  They are a little pricier from here but when you factor in my first set is over 2 years old, these are a worthwhile purchase.

I bought them from:   One Step Ahead.

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When they get dirty they can easily be wiped off and once a week I soak them in hot soapy water and scrub the outside with a sponge as needed.  When done, I hang them to dry.

I have used them for sandwiches, buttered bread, and rolls and never had a problem with them drying out.  The food is always fresh!!

Stalking??? Not Really

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I like to wait outside for the kids when they get home from school.  I specifically change my hours at work so I am able to drop them off in the morning and be home when they get home.

The tween informed me that it’s embarrassing for me to stand out there.  Well little does she know, I found a secret spot on the front porch that is not visible from the street.  BAM…..one point for MOM!!

 

Tree Fort

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I think most country homes have some type of tree fort in their backyard.  The man of the house decided about 3 years ago we needed one also.   So he set off to build it.

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Phase 1 took not too long and was planned around a beautiful oak tree

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Phase 2 was a little tougher.  Attaching the slide was almost as hard as adding the roof.  The boys sure didn’t mind waiting

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Phase 3 adding windows and a railing went smoothly.  Even the goats joined in to check out the materials and a baby making sure it was low enough for him to see out of.  The railing is made from larger sticks we collected from our woods

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A dutch door was made and some furniture accents were added.  There is enough seating for 6 kids and the bench blocks the opening to the slide so all the little children who visit are safe

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The views out the window allow the kids to see all of the action

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Next season it will be stained to match the barn and woodshed.  For right now it is the perfect escape for the children and a great hang out area for their friends!!

 

Blackberries and boy

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It goes like this: 

Me…Chance don’t eat the blackberries they are not ripe yet

Chance (9 year old son) …ok   (disappears outside)

** 10 minutes later I walk out **

Me…Chance what are you doing?

Chance…just checking to see if any are ripe

And I wonder why I never have enough berries to make anything with!!!

Honey Candy

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Whenever we go to a farmers market or a craft show there is always a “honey” stand where they sell fresh honey, honey sticks, and honey candy.  The candy is very expensive.  A piece like the above picture is usually around $3.00 USD.  My daughter loves it and always buys some.  So this afternoon she decided to google how to make her own and she made it with a friend.

This is such a simple procedure and it made quite a few pieces.  The flavor is awesome!!  I am sure you could cut back on the sugar if you wanted but the amount of pieces this made, I don’t feel too bad letting the kids eat it.

Honey Candy:

1/2 cup honey

1/4 cup water

1 cup sugar

Put all in a pan and bring to a rolling boil.  Continue to boil for 5 minutes and 30 seconds.  Carefully ladle into molds.

You can add cinnamon also for a twist on the flavor.  We are going to try it with lemon also so the next time anyone gets a sore throat we will try our own lozenges.

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Strawberry Fields Forever…..

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Today was our picking day.  I started taking my kids when one was 3 and the other was 1.  It used to be just mommy and kids time.  Then as the children got older they always told friends about going and would ask if they could come.  Now it’s grown into friends and friends parents who come along.  Today we had 3 families and 2 kids who came along while their parents were at work.  I don’t like to take credit where it’s not due but 2 families today never went picking until their kids met my kids 🙂  I am very good friends now with both of these women and enjoy spending time with them when I can.

Well today’s experience was not our best…it’s about a week later than when we normally go so picking was not as fast as you had to search for the nice size berries.  It was also about 84 degrees in full sun with 80% humidity.  My son and his friend picked a quart each.  My daughter who is the best helper picked one quart then went to the truck for some water to drink, stubbed her toe on a rock and cut it pretty nastily.  It bled everywhere as toes do.  So her and the boys sat in the truck with the air on for almost 40 minutes while the rest of us picked.  But it’s done and we have the berries we needed.  Our strawberry plants at home are just starting to produce so we will have another 5 or more quarts in a few weeks.

As soon as we got home the kids grabbed a pack and headed out the door to play in the tree fort and eat their strawberries. They mark the quarts they pick with weeds so they know which is the one they want to eat.

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Tomorrow is something called Kidz Biz set up in our town hall and my kids have a karaoke booth so I will not be “jamming” until Sunday. For now I have the wonderfully sweet smelling strawberries in the fridge.

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Remember when….

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Yesterday was the last day of school.  I can still remember the feelings I would have when school was over.  It was a feeling of freedom.  Especially during the elementary and middle school years.  I loved not having a schedule, knowing I would be camping for 3 weeks with my family, riding my horse all over the place, swimming, boating, sleeping in, bonfires and so much more.

Then in high school that feeling started to change.  Responsibility kicked in if I wanted to have a car and buy nicer clothing.  Those cherished summer vacations were cut short so I could babysit and earn money for gas, car insurance, and clothes.  In my junior and senior year, I almost dreaded school ending for the reason of having to work more and also not seeing and flirting with the cute boys for 2 months.

So tonight while my children are still in their innocent years, years of summer vacation truly being a vacation spent doing what children should do, we celebrated with a toast while in the hot tub.  We had the bonfire going, Chance’s best friend Graer sleeping over and their happiness was contagious.  I love them being home for the summer!!

Cake Pops

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The kids had a half day of school today.  Normally grandma comes to hang out with them until I get home but today she was sick.  So they entertained themselves by making these pretty (and messy) cake pops in the cake pop maker Chase received for her birthday.  She loves it as you can see and so does Chance.  They made quite a few but ate most of them before I got home. 

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Drama…no thanks

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“If you can’t say it to someone’s face, don’t say it to anyone else. If you are upset, angry, or unhappy with a situation, face it head on, don’t be a “behind the scenes” person stirring the pot hoping someone else will join your battle.”  Told to me by my father in my teen years.  One of the wisest bits of advice he shared with me.  He was a very wise man.

I have always been a person who does not like drama.  I will avoid people and situations I know create or thrive on it.  Everyone has some drama in their lives but school age girls are the worst. I had/have many acquaintances that I consider friends but not close friends as I do not like the drama they drag around.  In school most of my friends were boys or other “cowgirls” as we had no time for drama in the barn focusing on riding our horses.

I have shared this information with my children over the years.  My 12 year old daughter is now dealing with the typical girl drama and is showing she has learned by example of walking away and avoiding the drama creators in her class stating “shallow girls are not worth my time”.  That makes me one happy mother!!