Healing Herbs and End of Summer Preparations

August 6, 2016 at 3:19 pm (Family, Personal, Photography, Uncategorized)

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Just a quick photo dump!  I took the kids out to a local plantation again for the kids’ program on healing herbs.  It was a really fun time!

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The kids started out by making little satchels of herb mixtures.  Baby girl used lavender and chamomile.  Little C mixed lavender, chamomile, peppermint, lemon balm, and spearmint.  It smells surprisingly good for all of the different scents being mixed together.

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Grinding up the herbs…

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Then we went over to the huge herb garden and the kids got to learn about different herbs and touch and smell the fragrant plants.

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Then we just wandered the beautiful grounds!

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Baby girl’s favorite flower because it was pretty and “soft”…

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Little C taking in the view…

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Freshly watered…

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The butterflies and bees were out in force!  It was wonderful!

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Bye, plantation…probably until Christmastime…

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And now some miscellaneous stuff.  I got three gorgeous sugar pumpkins out of our garden!

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Chopped, baked…

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…and pureed!  These pumpkins are amazing!  They are so tasty, even straight without a lick of seasoning or butter or sugar or anything.  They have this wonderful sweet taste that’s even better than sweet potatoes.  I’m looking forward to making some pumpkin bread, pumpkin muffins, and pumpkin oatmeal bars this weekend!

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I also got all of the new homeschool materials on the shelf and last year’s stuff packed away.  I’m almost giddy about this year of homeschooling.  I feel like after two years of homeschooling, I am finally hitting a groove of understanding how my kids learn best and how I teach best.  I put this curriculum together entirely from scratch rather than going with just one complete curriculum.  And I think it’s going to be an amazing year.  I’m most excited about cultural studies that include hands-on activities, a science experiment every week, and teaching the kids about famous artists with special projects each week!  I think the hands-on approach will be a nice break from the overwhelming book learning we did with Sonlight last year.

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I’m using ABeka readers for Little C’s 3rd Grade reading, but I also chose some fun books to supplement!  Love these books!  And I think he will, too.

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Baby girl getting into the school spirit playing with Unifix cubes while I organized!

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And now off to tend to the garden pests and Jimson weeds…  Tomatoes are ripening, so I’m super excited about that!  Oh how I would love to just be a stay-at-home homeschooling mom working my homestead!  Dreams, people, we all have to have dreams!  Have a blessed week!

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Sunday Memories

August 4, 2016 at 2:37 pm (Family, Personal, Photography, Uncategorized)

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Sunday started out with the usual flurry of activity, trying to get all of us up, fed, dressed and out the door in time for me to teach Sunday School.  I made a family favorite for breakfast, blueberry muffins.  And the blueberries I put in must have been extra juicy because I got myself ready for church and came out to this sight – baby K covered in blueberry – hair, ears, face, body, even his back and the back of his neck!  It was too cute, so I had to pause in the rush that is a Sunday morning and take a picture🙂.

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After church, I took the kids over to a local garden that was hosting an insect festival.  It was a really good time!  My kids, and especially my daughter, enjoy bugs.  So this was something that was fun and educational.  There were displays of all kinds of different insects from various places.  One lady had a live butterfly chrysalis  and taught the kids about the stages of butterflies and moths.  My brave daughter held a live Madagascar cock roach.  Yuck!  That was one giant cock roach.  My daughter is also a lover of all things “I Spy,” so she had a blast with the little I Spy game they had where the kids found various pictures in the art displays.

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They also had little LEGO stations set up where kids could make certain bugs out of LEGOs.  Both of my older kiddos had fun with that.

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And when I asked my kids what their favorite part of the day was, they both said petting the baby alligator!  They also got to pet a snake, but I wasn’t quick enough to get a picture of that.

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The event also had story time and plenty of craftiness!  The kids did a cute little beehive out of plastic applesauce cups with a yarn-wrapped Styrofoam peanut bee dangling from the center.  Then they made cute little insect headdresses.

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And we ended the trip with games outside.  It was a bit on the hot and humid side, but the games were fun and cute.

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Baby K looking forward to the day when he can join in the activities…

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Little C was really good at this ring toss game.  He rang the bells pretty much every time!

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Bowling fun!

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Back at home, the kids pulled out my oldest son’s light up cars and track.  Baby K was fascinated!  He tried to catch the cars, but no luck🙂.

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And now I’ll add some Wednesday pics.  The weather cooled considerably and the humidity is down, thankfully.  The dog wanted nothing more than to sit outside with her nose in the gentle breeze.  Baby girl sat out with her for a while.

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And our latest science project…

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So apparently, if you leave the kiddie pool out filled with water, you will attract frogs that spawn a ridiculous amount of tadpoles.  I seriously think the frog plague could have started with our little backyard pool if we hadn’t emptied it.  But we did save seven of these little cuties to watch them grow.

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While out veggie picking, we also spotted this gorgeous cardinal…

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He stuck around for a while, hopping and flying from one place to the next at the edge of our forest.

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Black-eyed susans from the porch…

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The tomatoes seem to be taking forever to ripen!  I’m really looking forward to getting these in the kitchen!

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And mini-pumpkins…

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I picked some sugar pumpkins yesterday and baked, pureed and canned them last night, so that will be the next post.  I hope everyone is having a very blessed week!

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Monday Break

August 1, 2016 at 7:03 pm (Family, Personal, Photography, Uncategorized)

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It’s August already!  Wow, summers seem to fly by faster every year.  But this week, it just really hit me how much I have to be thankful for this summer.  Baby K was only a few weeks old this time last year, and now he’s a healthy, happy 1-year-old bringing smiles, laughter and blessings into our home.  This time last year, my uncle was in the hospital fighting for his life.  Yesterday, he returned from a 2-week cruise to Iceland. When times get tough, or the weather gets oppressively hot and humid, it’s important to remember all of those blessings in our lives.  I got to work from home most of last week because of the heat wave and poor air quality, so I took the opportunity to capture some memories of my sweet little kiddos.

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Baby K is all about being in the playroom with his older siblings these days!  And my older kids love having him around, especially my son.  He’s constantly telling me to let baby K play with him, and he’s teaching baby K about cooking with the little kitchen play set.  It’s adorable!

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Baby K is also all about putting objects in things.  You never know what toy you’re going to find in a box, bowl, basket, or even your shoes!

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But his favorite thing right now is still the birthday balloons that are hanging in there, slowly deflating.

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Hanging with big sis…

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We celebrated my baby girl’s 6th birthday last week.  I can’t believe she’s already 6!  She got plenty of fun crafting things and, of course, some LEGO sets.  She kept herself busy working on her LEGOs for a good part of her birthday.

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She also got a Jake and the Neverland Pirates talking spyglass that all of the kids have been enjoying.

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And some more garden love…

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The pumpkins are starting to turn orange!  I am so excited to pick some sugar pumpkins this week and can some yummy pumpkin puree!  We have some big pumpkins growing, too, getting ready for some Halloween carving.

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There are quite a few mini pumpkins starting to pop up, too.  I can’t wait for fall decorating!  But the plant that’s taking over the garden is the little spoon gourds.  I may have to actually cut those back because that one plant is producing like crazy!  These are just the ones we’ve picked so far, not including the ones we’ve given away…

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There’s probably about a hundred more growing.  They’re cute though.  The tomatoes are starting to really pop up, too.

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We’re growing several different varieties of tomato this year – some for salsa, some for pizza and marinara sauce, some for chili and some for slicing.  So we’ll see how all that turns out.  But they’re looking happy so far!

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The squash and zucchini are still producing, though not quite as prolifically as they were.

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The Black-Eyed Susans seem to be the only flower enjoying this awful heat wave…

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And finally, a yummy snack of Ricotta and bacon stuffed mini peppers.  My dad gave me these little peppers last week, and we all enjoyed them!

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More to post, but it will have to wait.  Have a blessed week!

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Plantation Field Trip

July 23, 2016 at 9:46 pm (Family, Personal, Photography, Uncategorized)

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Our morning yesterday included a trip to a local plantation.  They were having an informational thing for kids on organic gardening, so I thought it would be fun.  The kids didn’t learn much that they haven’t already learned from helping with our garden, but they still had a good time.  They got to pick some smooth squash and plant little biodegradable pots of broccoli and carrots that we can put in the big garden when the weather cools down.

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Plus I got to get some fun pictures of flowers, a favorite pastime.

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The view…

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I love living in a rural area!  It’s so gorgeous…

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We also spent the night at my parents’ after the aquarium, so I got to take some pictures of my dad’s beautiful hibiscus…

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And the fairy garden my parents are creating for my daughter and niece…

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And pretty hastas…

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My mom got some baby K snuggle time, too!  He’s one tuckered out little fella after this weekend!

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Aquarium Birthday

July 23, 2016 at 9:33 pm (Family, Personal, Photography, Uncategorized)

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This weekend brought a fun trip to the aquarium for my daughter’s birthday present from my parents.  She was looking so forward to it, and the kids had a blast!  Lots of pics to share!

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My son has taken a liking to sharks…

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Reflections…

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Baby K’s first trip to the aquarium!  I’m so thankful for family to come along on these trips.  My dad and brother-in-law carried baby K the whole way since I didn’t know we had to check strollers at the beginning.

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Activity center…

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Love this fish!

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The jellies…

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My oldest son even touched one!

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The three-legged turtle…

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Seahorses…

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Puffins…

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Baby K got super tired and slept part of the way!

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This fish was letting other fish clean his scales apparently…

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Pretty coral…

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Feeding frenzy!

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My niece making fishy faces at a fish!  Love that girl!

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My daughter’s favorite part, the dolphins!

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View from the dolphin arena…

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Hanging jelly fish display…

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My oldest son wasn’t too keen on the crowded displays, but he did enjoy the kids’ play area, and especially putting on a puppet show!

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Shark jaws…

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It was a really fun trip!  We also did a plantation trip that morning, but I’m doing a separate post for those pics because this one’s getting long.  Have a blessed weekend!

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Miscellaneous Life

July 21, 2016 at 11:22 pm (Family, Personal, Photography, Uncategorized)

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Ok, time for a quick rundown of the happenings around here because it’s been crazy, as usual.  First, we had pipe issues in the kitchen.  So, of course, hubby had to tear out the bottom cabinets, do a bunch of work, and install new countertops.  We’re still putting the kitchen back together.  But I am really grateful that hubby is willing to put the time into doing home improvement projects right.  He painstakingly leveled the floor and walls, cut the countertop himself, and installed everything.  I think I would have been one to just say, oh well there’s a gap in the countertop.  But he took the time to make it right, and I’m grateful for that because it looks much better than the gapped countertop🙂.

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My daughter got this cute little Colonial Poppet Doll from my uncle for her birthday.  She hand-sewed a good portion of it, which I thought was awesome!  By the time it came to the dress though, I decided a machine sewing lesson was in order, too🙂.

Fun baby K bath time shots!

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Neighbor horses!

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The garden is going crazy!!!!  Hubby wasn’t too thrilled that I way overplanted the squash, zucchini, and gourds.  But the kids and I have been enjoying this year’s garden so much.  We go out every day and check for more veggies.  I actually find it kind of fun wading and digging through the greenery to find the latest fruits of the garden.  Gardening may be becoming my new favorite hobby, especially since it’s one the kids and I enjoy together!

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Baby pumpkin…

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A day’s harvest…

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I was concerned about my bumpy squash…until I took the time to look at the seed packet and realized I ordered a bumpy breed of summer squash….um, yeah.  They’re good though!  We even got some Siamese squash!

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I’ve also been canning a lot of relish with the abundance of cucumbers…yummy!

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And some pretty flowers from the front garden…

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Loving the summer evenings!

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Some more fun baby K shots.  This little guy just keeps us laughing.  He’s gotten into the stage of putting things in and on other things.  And he’s so cute when he dances to any music he hears.  He says dada, mama, hi, dog, and he tries balloon and ball.  He also grunts uh-oh, too adorable!  And he’s started saying ouch every time someone says ow.  Such a ray of sunshine, this little guy!

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I haven’t been tracking this pregnancy all.  But here is the baby bump at…um, I think I’m at 27 weeks now…I’ll have to check that.  Life has been so insane…

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Zucchini bread noshing!  So glad the kids love zucchini bread because we’re eating a lot of it!  Really just eating a lot of zucchini in general – zucchini lasagna, curried zucchini soup, sautéed zucchini and squash, parmesan zucchini crisps.  Feeling like Bubba from Forrest Gump…

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Another day’s haul…

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And the great ladybug release!  When I thought our squash were diseased because they were so bumpy, I ordered live ladybugs to help do away with garden pests.  They came yesterday, and the kids released them into the garden.  They had a blast with these little buggers!

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Sweet little Morris

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The melons are growing!

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Fun little gourds.  Between these and the cute little mini pumpkins, we’re going to have fun decorating this fall!

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Pumpkins!

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A random pumpkin bush even started growing in our backyard…and producing…

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The tomato plants are starting to bear fruit.

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And this…  Yeah, this is apparently called Jimson Weed and is growing at various places throughout our garden.  It’s not a good weed, but it sure does produce pretty flowers.  Eventually I’m going to have to get these out, but for now I’m enjoying the blooms…

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And tomorrow brings some local plantation fun and a trip to the aquarium!!!  Have a blessed end of the week!

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Baby K in B&W

July 15, 2016 at 1:06 am (Family, Personal, Photography, Uncategorized)

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More pictures I uploaded and forgot to post.  Baby K in black and white!

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Summer Fun

July 15, 2016 at 1:03 am (Family, Personal, Photography, Uncategorized)

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And now some pics from yesterday. We planned on going back to the same beach with other friends, but the forecast was calling for rain.  It ended up not raining, but we got in some sprinkler time.  And mama got caught up on laundry and house cleaning!

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Sweet Libby dog…

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I also got around to some gardening.  Our gorgeous hydrangeas blooming…

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The veggie haul…

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I was slacking a little on picking the zucchini, so a few got really big.  Perfect for loaves of zucchini bread and chocolate zucchini bread….yum!

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I also used one of the big ones for zucchini lasagna.  Um yeah, this might be one of my new favorite dishes.  Just slice the zucchini into thin strands about the width of lasagna noodles (hubby got a fry and chip slicer a while back that worked perfectly for slicing the zucchini).  Then you just substitute the zucchini for noodles in your favorite lasagna recipe.  It’s so ridiculously good, even my daughter had seconds and she’s pretty picky about veggies.

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The rest of the garden is starting to produce, too.  Though I think we will be eating a whole lot of creative zucchini and cucumber dishes for a while!  I can’t wait for the sweet corn to be ready!

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The cucumbers looking great…

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More zucchini about to be ready for picking…

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A ton of squash is almost ready!

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And the gourds and pumpkins are starting to form…

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Fall decorating is going to so fun with all our cute gourds this year!  And that’s about it for this week so far.  Today was a rough one with a nasty commute in super hot humid temps.  But I’m home now and was able to enjoy some time with my kids and some yummy zucchini lasagna!  Life is good.  And I will leave this post with a silly frog that made his way into the kiddie pool when it rained…

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Happy almost Friday!

 

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Beach Day!

July 15, 2016 at 12:47 am (Family, Personal, Photography, Uncategorized)

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I didn’t even realize I hadn’t gotten around to posting this one yet.  These are some pics from a fun day with friends at a small local beach.  I love this place because there’s hardly ever anyone else there and we just have a nice relaxing day.

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My daughter got a custom-made sand mermaid tail – LOL!

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And my son tried to replicate…

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He’s a quiet soul, but he does love a good beach adventure!

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The water snake that made them all a little nervous…and more than a little curious.

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This sweet girl holding my cutie!

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And playing with him…

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Grass on the nose…

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And tiny toes…

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So my oldest was playing with a water squirter…

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Filled it up…

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And came right over to mama…soaked me with water and seaweed, that ornery little boy did.

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A lovely view…

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So that was our beach day.  And my daughter also got to paint and decorate one of her birthday presents, a fairy house….

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Hope you’re all having a blessed week!

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Wedding Cake Weekend

July 10, 2016 at 1:23 am (Cakes, Family, Personal, Uncategorized)

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Another wedding cake in the books!  And a really beautiful wedding for a wonderful couple!  Even though the past couple of days making this cake were stressful and exhausting, it was well worth it for the sweet young lady who got married today.  Hubby, baby K and I had a great time celebrating with our church friends.

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The kids at the wedding had a blast!

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The cutie flower girl…

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The beautiful bride…

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The bride and her friends made most of the decorations, and they turned out amazing!

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Proud bride’s mama…

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Hubby and baby K…

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Hubby and me…

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Some great friends…

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The bridal party…

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Celebrating with sparkling cider…

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And yay!  This cake is finished and enjoyed!

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Now to get some sleep….

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