Sunday, October 30, 2011

October Snow

The historic snow storm that has hit the northeast has been a lot of fun up here. We took Stomper out for a very quick romp in the snow. He loved it. His mitten fell off right away, but he didn't mind. He was rubbing the snow with his bare palm. This winter is going to be a blast I think. We borrowed a snowsuit from Grandma's Daycare so all we need now is a pair of boots to keep his toes warm.

The horse really stands out with the snow on the ground, he was fascinated.

Papa showing him how to make a snowball

We did attempt to put his mitten back on.

(The little bit of snow in the air is a bit that he threw)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Big Brother

This week-end we welcomed a baby girl into our home as a Foster Child. 

She is healthy, smaller than Stomper was, and sleepy all the time. 

Stomper has been hanging out with his Mimi this week-end while we all adjust to a little one being in the house so we are not sure how he will handle sharing his Mama. He has been enjoying giving her kisses and pats, watching us care for her.

Many people have been asking if we will be adopting her. The hope is that she will be reunited with her birth family before too much time passes. In the event that she cannot be reunited with her family and she become available for adoption, then we will be thrilled to "officially" welcome into our family. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Stomper Videos

Stomper took his first steps at Blueberry Mountain Bible Camp where I was visiting one Saturday afternoon. This is the same place where my brother and sister learned to walk many, many years ago. He took his first steps to his Aunty Teeny, not his Mama or his Papa!

At the fair in September Stomper had his first taste of cotton candy. He wasn't too sure what to think of it.

Harvest Party

This past week-end we had our Harvest Party at my Mom's house. It went rather well. Twelve people attended and brought many delightful canned goods to swap. M & G brought Kosher Dill Pickles, R & T brought Tomato Soup, T & K brought Pickled Beets, Z & J brought Apple Sauce, N & J brought Pear Butter, and I brought Apple Butter. We had tasted the goodies and then voted for Tastiest and Uniquest. The Kosher Dill Pickles won Tastiest and the Tomato Soup won Uniquest and the winners took home a beautiful mum.

Tasting Homemade Tomato Soup
We had potluck with beans being the theme (unintentional), two different baked beans, a chicken chili, hot dogs, and summer squash casserole. Of course no meal is complete with out dessert so I asked my Mom to make her famous Blueberry Pudding Cake and M brought Apple Crisp.

Everyone had a good time and we all went home with a box of goodies we didn't have to make ourselves! I will definitely be doing this again next year. If you want to join us, let me know!
Selecting some goodies to try

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Baby Shower Knits

I made the pattern for this sweater. I hope to have one size available for free in the next week.

New doll I can now knit.
I call her a Pocket Pal, more hair and clothing choices coming in the next month!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Busy, Busy

We have been keeping a busy schedule these days. Seems like if we aren't visiting or running errands then we are working in the kitchen canning, cooking, and cleaning; which is why my Yarn Along isn't all that exciting. I've been referring to my Blue Book Guide to Preserving quite often. My mom and I recently made pear butter, and I made some apple butter out of it, not to mention it's helpful handy hits on canning squash—don't. My next canning recipe to use out of it will be “Apples for Baking” that is if I decide not to freeze them.

Stomper has been busy working on a new skill, walking. He took a few steps to his Auntie Teeny on Saturday and since then he's been letting go and taking a few steps on his own. I'm not sure if I am ready for walking yet, but I guess that's not left up to me. He has also been enjoying a new found freedom, roaming. We recently opened up the rest of the house for him to explore (we've been keeping him corralled in the baby-proofed living-room) as he has been listening and obeying the instruction “Don't touch!” with regularity.
Teething seems to be finished for the time being. He cut 16 teeth in 7 months, that's roughly 2½ teeth a month. I keep expecting to see his second year (yes 2nd, he has his 1st years already) molars poking though, but his mouth appears to be resting for now. Thankfully the teething didn't seem to bother him, and if it did then his already sunny disposition will only become brighter.

He continues to be a joy to everyone he comes in contact with, everyone remarks “What a happy boy, you are!” At church he loves to greet people with a smile, a laugh, and then a lunge for them to take him. He has also become quite the singer-dancer during worship singing. It is so nice for me to go there and let my son be loved on by other people. It give me a break on those long week-ends when Jason is working.
Jason and I stopped at a local orchard and bought two boxes of Utility Cortlands for $16 last week. I think I may have bitten off more than I can chew or preserve. So far so good, none of them have gone bad. I am, however, eyeball deep in apple puree. I hope to can several quarts of sauce tonight, then employ Jason to apple peeling duty so we can freeze the rest.
The rest canning and preserving is coming along nicely, even if it is not as much as I would liked. In addition to the relish, pickles, and tomato sauce I can now add apple butter and apple sauce (soon). My freezer is full of shredded zucchini, blueberries, and pumpkin puree and my Mom's is full of summer squash casserole. It is comforting to know that I have food “squirreled away” for the long winter months. I look forward to filling the house with the smell of blueberry muffins, pumpkin cookies, zucchini cake, hearty soups, and spaghetti.
Saturday we have our Harvest Party Can Swap. Six people are participating which will be a nice group for our first swap. If I am remember correctly there will be pear butter, dill pickles, pickled beets, apple butter, and tomato soup. I'm not sure what my sister-in-law is bringing she didn't have time or space or items to preserve so I suggested frozen brownies. Who doesn't love a brownie? Especially one you didn't have to make! There is only one other kiddo coming other than Stomper, but I think that next year there will be more. I know of at least two families who have expressed interest for next year, so maybe next year we'll play games and have a hunt or something.

We have been trying to spend as much time outdoor as possible. Even if it's just on the front porch. This “second summer” has been nice this past week. It's been warm, breezy, and perfect so I'm sure it will rain tomorrow. Maine can be pretty fickle with it's fall weather, so we are enjoying the warmth while it is here.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Harvest Lasagna & Easy Bake Tomato Sauce

These are two of my favorite recipes. The Easy Bake Tomato Sauce I make all through the fall and can or freeze it for the winter. I hope these warm your house this fall!

Harvest Lasagna
350 1hr

       16oz ricotta cheese
       2 Cups mozzarella cheese
       1 pkg lasagna noodles (I use the kind that you don't need to pre-cook)
       1  zucchini sliced
       1 summer squash sliced
       2 tomatoes sliced
       1 quart easy bake tomato sauce* or one jar of your favorite sauce.

  1. Spread several spoonfuls of sauce down in the bottom of a 9x13 pan, enough to lightly coat.
  2. First Layer: lasagna noodles, ½ ricotta, ½ cup mozzarella cheese, then all of the sliced summer squash, and several spoonfuls of sauce
  3. Second Layer: lasagna noodles, ½ ricotta, ½ cup mozzarella cheese, then all of the sliced zucchini, and several spoonfuls of sauce
  4. Final Layer: lasagna noodles, the remaining sauce, sliced tomatoes, and the remaining mozzarella cheese
  5. Cover with foil and bake for 45mins, then remove foil and bake until bubbly and the cheese has slightly browned. Let set for a few minutes so the noodles will firm up some.

ready to be de-skinned
*Easy Bake Tomato Sauce
400 2-4hrs

      30 big juicy tomatoes (at least -- more is better)
            or 35 small fleshy tomatoes (like roma)
      time 3hrs or more
      2 9x13 pans

ready to eat
  1. Cut the tomatoes in half and remove the white “core” at the top.
  2. Place the tomatoes cut side down in the 9x13 pans. Squeezing them in is fine, they will shrink.
  3. Bake in oven for 1hr on 400 or until skins are wrinkled and have pulled away from the rest of the tomato. If they blacken they will still be fine.
    Remove from oven and allow to cool to the touch. You don't have to wait, but your finger tips will thank you. Remove skins by pulling off the tomato. A fork is useful to assist, because the flesh will still be hot.
  4. Place skinless tomatoes back in oven and bake for several hours. After the first hour I peek in on them every 30mins or so to see how they are progressing. They will be done when most (but not all) the water has boiled away.
  5. Remove from oven and mash with a potato masher or fork.
  6. I can my tomatoes, but you could let them cool and freeze them, or use immediately.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Quickie Update

Just a quick update as to how things are here in Maine.

I'm going to start posting once a week either on Monday or Wednesday, and if you are really lucky Sunday too.

Since I last wrote we:

More Photos
Went to friends 1st Birthday where we tried our hardest to not steal the show and open up all his presents.

We went to the Franklin County Fair and saw a lot of animals and played on the tractors.

Learned to suck our thumb (I won't let him have his bink when he's up and around, but he found a way around this rule) and we don't care which thumb it is!

More Awesome Photos
 Had a photo session with Nicole of NicoleleePhotography

More Photos
Had our First Birthday!

Made 5 Summer Squash Casseroles with my Mom, shredded a LOT of zuccini (20-30 quarts) and froze it, made pear sauce and pear butter and canned 9 quarts of tomato sauce.

Tried maple cotton candy for the first time.

I have started on some Christmas projects, worked on some hats for customers, and just recieved a large Christmas order for a family friend.

Things are busy here, how are things with you?

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