Friday, September 12, 2014

Tomatoes, Tomatoes...Oh My!

Our tomato plants this year just went crazy! I knew I was going I have way to many to just use them for salads or something. So this year I'm making my own tomato sauce. Next year I'm planning on planting onions and cilantro so I can make my own salsa. I know I could buy onions and cilantro and make it this year, but I really want everything to be from my garden when I make homemade stuff. 

Ella was more than happy to help me pick tomatoes.

Look at this started taking over the yard!

Zeke helped too by taking the ones I picked and putting them in the colanders. Of course he picked a few that weren't quite ready!

My little helpers and our wonderful bounty!

Tons of tomatoes!

Next was washing and cutting out the cores. This took longer than I thought it would.

Afterwards I had one giant bowl of tomatoes.

And here were the few that weren't quite red yet. I'm going to let them ripen up on the window sill.

Then it was time to bring out the ol' Oster food processor and get to work! Lots and lots of batches later and all the tomatoes were pureed.

That's a lot of tomato puree!

The next day I borrowed the big canning pot from my friend Kim. I was also steaming the jars in a little water so they would be warm when I put the hot tomato sauce in them. I ended up cooking the tomato sauce for 90 minutes to thicken it up. The house smelled so good even though it was just tomatoes. I thought about adding things like garlic or basil, but I figured that could be done later and this would be more versatile. 

I ended up with enough sauce to fill 7 jars....thanks for those jars Becky

Time to process! It took 45 minutes and when it was time to take them out the lids were popping as I was setting them on the counter. That is the sound of success!!! 

I gave one jar to Kim as a thank you for her letting me borrow the canning pot. So now we have 6 jars of goodness. I probably won't have to buy tomato sauce at all. We don't go through a ton of it...mainly for pizza sauce and taco soup. I'm hoping that next year my tomatoes will be just as good and I can...hahaha get it can do this again! Sorry I couldn't resist!

I'm so happy that two things that grew in my garden this year could be canned. I'm hoping that each year we will be able to do more and more so we'll become more self sustaining! I just need Michael to put in the other raised garden beds!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Ella's School!

Since we have a lot going on this month I'm not going to get too in-depth with Ella's school, but I did want to get it all set up and ready to go. 

 I went to the library and printed out a bunch of stuff beforehand. The chart on the left is her months of the year. The one in the middle has a clock, shapes, colors and weather. The one on the right is her calendar. 

I took one of the end tables from downstairs and moved it up to be her work desk. At first I was going to do school in the dining room since that's the hub of the home and all the supplies are in that room, but there just isn't enough wall space. My second choice was the playroom, but when the sun is shining it's an awful room to be in and I was going to hang some of the charts on the actual window so closing the curtains wouldn't work. So her room it is! 

While I was setting up I brought out the link cubes so Ella and Zeke could play with them. 

Monday was our first practice day of school. We started out with the pledges and then moved to calendar time. Ella cuts out the apples, then I help her write the numbers on them and she gets to glue them to the calendar. If there is one thing Ella loves it's cutting paper! We sang the days of the week song and then the months of the year song. Of course right now it's just me doing the singing, but eventually she'll know all the words. 

After I took the first picture of Ella's room I remembered that I needed to put up her number chart so that's on the far right. Also my mom bought Ella the ABC chart that is up by the ceiling. Of course we sang the ABC's together. 

Then I thought where else should be start but writing her name. This is the first time Ella has written her name. She did so well! There is an extra 'l', but I'm so proud of her. After this I asked her to tell me how to spell her name and she told me correctly for the first time. E-L-L-A! Can't wait to share many more first with her! 

As for Zeke he ended up spending about half of the time we did school in his bed since we was causing all sorts of issues. Hopefully he'll get over that quickly and just start having fun with us. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

First Day Of School 2014!

Prepare for picture OVERLOAD!!!

Owen Michael - 7 1/2 years old - 2nd Grade

Goof Ball!

Jackson Daniel - 6 years old - 1st Grade

Equally goofy goof ball!

We intentionally let the kids make a silly face and get it out of the way so then we can move onto nice faces.

Handsome boys!

Jack wearing his shirt with his graduating year on it. Look mom I'm SO big!

Wow 2026....I'll be 45 when he graduates!

Look how BIG I am mom!!!

2025...I'll be 44 when my first born graduates! Seems like forever, but I know it's just moments away!

These boys crack me up!

Best buds!

Got his coat on and his backpack and is ready to go. Did his coat make it home the first day....of course not! I have a feeling I'll be visiting the lost and found often!

Ready to rock 1st grade!

My miracles! How did I get so blessed! Love!!!

Crazy kids!

Zeke was ready to go too!

The neighbor kids followed us since they didn't know where they were going. We always drive to school for the first day.

Walking to Owen's class!

Waiting in line with his classmates....he already know two of the kids. Koby on the left used to live across the street from us and Mya was his classmate last year. In fact I asked Owen if he could pick one classmates from 1st grade to be in his 2nd grade class and he said Mya! 

And you know 2nd graders are too cool to stop for pictures with their teachers! This was as close as I got. That is Owen's teacher Mrs. Golden. All summer long I've wondered who he was going to have and he kept saying Mrs. Golden. They didn't assign the kids to classes until later in the summer and sure enough he was right. 

We had to walk around to the back of the school to wait in line for Jack's 1st grade class. Jack knows 3 of the kids that were in his kindergarten class. It's nice that they get to see familiar faces. 

This is Mr. Heintz...and this is his first year teaching. I was a little apprehensive when I found out that Jack had a guy for a teacher since it seemed like most guys teachers were for the older grades. He is so sweet though and he loves the kids. 

And now it's just these two cuties home with me during the day. It's been a bit of an adjustment since they are used to traipsing around with the big boys, but I'm sure we'll find our rhythm.

And just like last year I get a big smile on my face when I see the bus coming around the corner knowing that my boys are home. 

Jack is always getting into his backpack the moment he gets off the bus so he can show me something. 

Donald and Dominic weren't far behind the boys. It's fun having a couple more boys to walk home with at the end of the day. 

Here's to a great year! 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Back To School Bash!

The night before school started we went to Red Robin to celebrate with Ga-Ga & Pa. We did this last year and I think this will be a long standing tradition that the kids will come to look forward to! 

It's so much easier taking the kids to a restaurant now. They are so good and we never even had to say quiet down. Also the lady next to us said, "Your kids are so well behaved" as we were leaving. That always makes you feel good! 

This was his happy face about getting a lot of boxes during his dots and boxes game with Daddy! 

Back to focusing on the game! 

Zeke man ate great! He just kept chowing down on chicken, fries and apples. Finally he's starting to eat! 

Handsome 6 year old boy! Can't believe he's a first grader! 

Pa and my Owen boy

My love! So happy to be together. Man I missed this guy while I was gone! 

Cute middle kids! 

At the end of the school year Owen got a free milkshake coupon from school and I figured that we should use it before the new school year started. He ended up only drinking a tiny bit. Thank goodness it was free!