Friday, August 30, 2013

The Garden : End of July

//Lots of beautiful lettuce and swiss chard

 //Pickled radishes - look pretty, taste really good...but smell like farts.
   Don't think I'll make them again because, really, even if it tastes good, who wants to eat
   something that smells like fart?

 //The raspberries never last long. I'm lucky to sneak some in some muffins or a smoothie. Most of  
   them go straight from the bushes to our bellies.

 //Black currants from Uncle Simon, and picked by Gracie Jo, Silas and Grandma, make THE BEST
   'bessen sap' ever. We got this amazing contraption and now we're crazy juicing machines!

 //The tomatoes are commmmminnnnng!!!

 //Lovely echinacea in my wild flowerbeds

 //Pete's mom got me a beautiful yellow climbing rose for the arbor...and I haven't killed it yet! :)

 //Canteloupe - Pete's 'favorite' fruit. He will eat it and he will love it!

 //Oh, lovely cukes. So excited for lots of my favorite cucumber salads!

//The front porch is the perfect spot for drying garlic. Thanks, Mom, for the garlic and the 
  recommendation. Living in the house that was previously your in-laws has many, many perks!

July was such a good month in the garden! Lots enjoyed and so much promise ahead...
 "Then God said, “Let the land sprout with vegetation—every sort of seed-bearing plant, and trees that grow seed-bearing fruit. These seeds will then produce the kinds of plants and trees from which they came.” And that is what happened. The land produced vegetation—all sorts of seed-bearing plants, and trees with seed-bearing fruit. Their seeds produced plants and trees of the same kind. And God saw that it was good." (Gen.1:11-12, NLT)

Lil' Stinker

 These pictures, from the middle of July, are a little peek into the personality that's starting explode out of our Wee One. She LOVES wearing hats (or any kind of object that will stay on her melon) and at 16 months, while she climbs everything in sight and confidently pulls herself to standing, she steadfastly refuses to walk. From the twinkle in her eye I'm guessing she just enjoys being a little queen and having her siblings dote upon her every whim. Why walk or talk when everyone else does it for you, right? Oh, the life of a stinker-ish fifth child. But don't worry, Katie Shalom, I've got my eye on you...except for those 30 seconds when I run to the bathroom and come back to find you on the kitchen table. Sigh.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

July 14th - Happy Birthday, Beautiful Girl!

And just like that, our Gracie Jo is 9. I'll spare you the cliches because we've heard them all and, obviously, they're true (Where does the time go?) but the one thing I was asked several times that always made me smile was "Can you believe she's NINE!?!". Actually, yes, I can totally believe she's nine...mostly because she seems so much older than that most of the time! Whether it's being our first born, her God-given personality, having four younger siblings or, most likely, a combination of all of these, Gracie is an incredibly responsible, servant-hearted, mature, and delightful nine year old. This girl just blesses our socks of from the moment she wakes up until she goes to bed at night. Before we had any kids I always thought I'd like a house full of boys. I was never much of a girly-girl myself and boys just seemed a lot easier and fun than the drama-filled escapades of raising daughters. Man, am I thankful that God had better plans in store for me! "Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge!" (Rom.11:33) Gracie Jo's name means "God's gracious gift", and that is exactly what she has been to our family. Through this beautiful daughter I have been given such a precious blessing - a picture of GRACE as I stumbled through my first years as a mother, making so many mistakes and, yet, fully and completely loved by this little one who bore the brunt of my failures. Being given a daily example of what a SERVANT-HEART looks like as Gracie Jo gladly takes on the tasks of oldest child. Whether it's working with Pete out in the barn, standing at the kitchen sink alongside me with a dishtowel in her hand, or shepherding her siblings (I'm always amazed at the amount of trouble the boys get into when Gracie's not around!!), she is so eager to serve and delights in opportunities to help others. Of course we still have our moments and challenges but, the truth is, most of the time I am humbled to have been given the task of raising this daughter when so often it is she that is teaching me. Gracie Jo, you are such a blessing to each of us and we are so proud of the beautiful, young lady you are becoming. Your heart for the Lord,  your fierce love for your family, and the way that you bring joy to those around you as you consider others before yourself is not only a gift but an example to both your dad and I. We love you so much and are grateful beyond measure to be your parents. Happy birthday, sweet girl! xo

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

July's Flowers

July is always when I give up on the flowerbeds. Between the haylage, the garden, a multitude of family birthdays and anniversaries and, oh right! the matter of five children who need to be fed, cleaned up after and loved on? Ya, the flowerbeds are not just on the back burner - they've fallen right off the stove, people! Thankfully, while they're definitely kind of on the wild side, they keep on growing beautiful flowers :) And if you pick the flowers out of the weeds you can get some quite lovely bouquets to share with neighbours, friends and the most awesome librarians that ever existed. Thanks Barb and Andrea for your cheerful phone calls to remind me about the stack of books that are overdue (but you renewed for us) and keeping anything and everything StarWars on hold for Silas. Y'all are the best! So here's to the flowerbeds that, despite my neglect, are still full of beauty and library books that 'magically' renew themselves *wink*. Isn't July wonderful?

Monday, August 12, 2013

Silent Valley - July 12th

I have the best memories of spending summers camping with my Oma & Opa. I'm so grateful that our kids get to continue this special memory making with my mom and dad. Gracie spent two nights with them at Silent Valley and on the second day Pete, the kids and I were able to sneak away for a few hours in between chores to swim, play and share a delicious lunch together. When it was time to leave, Jude got to stay with Gracie and the two of them had one last special night camping with Oma and Opa. In the busyness of summertime on the farm, going away is a very special treat for us. So this little getaway to Silent Valley - swimming and playing in the sand together, hanging out at the campsite, spending time with my parents, playing badminton and blowing bubbles and sharing a bbq picnic lunch was such a gift. It's incredible how, with a little change in scenery and a some time to just play together, a little break during a busy week can become such a special time. Thanks, Mom & Dad, for bringing your trailer up and sharing an afternoon of camping fun with all of us. Gracie Jo and Jude had such a wonderful time and we're thankful the kids are able to make these special memories with you. And thanks, Dad, for sharing your pictures with us! Looking at them put big smiles on all our faces and we love being able to treasure the moments we shared together. Silent Valley, we love you and are already looking forward to next time!!