The End of Summer





We are trying to make the most of the last days of summer.  Tomorrow the beach...





Our First Barn Party

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(shirts from great aunt Mary Jo)

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This morning we are still feeling the high from last night's barn party.  As the five of us (yes, I'm counting Nora's "ahhh's" and "baaa's" as conversation contributions) went over the unfolding of the night at the breakfast table none of us could stop smiling.  It was that fun.

I have to confess, the idea wasn't ours.  My aunt suggested it as a place for all the family (who is in town from Texas and Massachusetts) to hang out for a night.  I was on board right away but it wasn't until my sister and I begin planning everything that I started to get really excited.  But even then I'm not sure I could have imagined just how fun it would be.

There was grilling and farm food.
Smores by the bonfire.
And then (what the five of us have unanimously agreed was the best part) there was the dancing.  Even my Grandma danced.  Looking around at all the happy faces singing and stomping there feet I decided that there is just something magical about a barn.

As I was finishing the clean up at the end of the night after all the kids were in bed I concluded three things
1)  That was hands down the best night of my summer.
2)  I (we) need to take more advantage of this space.
3)  There will be more barn parties in our future.  Lots more.

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Weekend Highlights


~ Swinging on the new swing.
~ Sunny and beautiful.
~ Going running.
~ Working on the barn to get it ready for our first barn party.
~ Making chalkboards (I do love me some chalkboard paint).
~ Eating our edamame that's now ready.
~ And green beans too!


Back To Our Beach





Dance and Dinner



This summer Grace asked if she could take a ballet class.  Some of our friends recommended this cute little ballet school that offers a three week mini dance course and we decided to give it a try.  Other then her first swimming class this summer Grace has never taken any classes so this seemed like a perfect chance to see if ballet is something she's really interested in (so far after four classes her answer would be "yes!").

What I love about her class is that it gives Jackson, Nora, and I some time to explore Stillwater- to try out a new dinner spot, or watch all the big trucks working on the renovation areas (Jackson loves this), or peak in one of the cute little shops.

What I also love is the time after dance class when we sit by the river and eat our dinner.  If I'm lucky Grace shows me some of her new ballet moves and Jackson works on his runs and jumps.


This Year's Garden

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 The Bad... ~ Our tomatoes don't look very good at all this year and I have no one to blame but myself. They were never staked properly when I got them and then when I did do it I think it was kind of too late. Thankfully I am still getting some. I have gotten enough so far to make both pasta sauce and tomato soup so I'm happy about that. ~ We have had multiple pest problems this year which is kind of new for us. We have been picking potato bugs (now those are some ugly bugs) off our potato plants all summer. The Japanese Beetles have also been horrible. Thankfully our chickens LOVE all bugs.

The Good... ~ Aside from the tomatoes and potatoes everything else is doing pretty good. Our watermelons and Minnesota midget melons are getting bigger everyday. Our beets look great. The broccoli is beautiful (12 plants this year, I think I'll do that again). Squash and pumpkins- good. The kale- awesome (never stops). The onions- great. Despite being attacked by the Japanese beetles I think the edemame is going to make it. Corn- so far so good. But maybe what I am most proud of in the garden this year is our beans. They are our first attempt at seed saving... and it worked! And these beans were the best last year.

Still to come... ~ We did plant another round of lettuce (which should be popping up any day now), carrots, and kale.



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 My birthday...
~ I woke up in the morning to Jackson crawling into bed with me (like he does every morning when he wakes up) and then I heard Grace whisper "it's mama's birthday, let her sleep in."
~ When I did get up (I didn't wait too long... didn't want to ruin a good thing) Grace had made my breakfast for me.
~ Then Kirsten, Tyler, and Maren went to Secret Beach with us. As always it was sunny and peaceful with the most perfect warm breeze.
~ They brought zucchini cake. Yum.
~ After the beach we came home, met Ryan and went into Stillwater for a picnic by the river (yes the river twice in one day).
~ My birthday gift was a gift certificate to the Aveda Spa.. My most favorite gift. ~ I couldn't have asked for a better day.



026 In a few short days Nora will be 7 months old. It has been a busy month for this little lady of mine. In the last few weeks she has had two teeth pop through, she is sitting (but still needs some assistance), and has started eating food. It's still so amazing (even the third time around) to see all the growing that happens in the first year of life. 025


Seven Very Simple Dinners From My Garden Last Week

Enchiladas- I placed cut up (baked) chicken, cheese, and fresh tomatoes in rolled up tortilla shells and baked for 20 minutes or so.  I served with sour cream and more tomatoes

Sandwiches- ham, cheese, tomatoes, mayo and kale on toasted bread

Turkey burgers and broccoli salad- broccoli, currants (or raisins) sunflower seeds with mayo/cider vinegar/sugar dressing

Pasta bar (I am learning that for salad type meals my kids eat way more of it if I set things out separately  and they get to put it together themselves)- I made pesto and pasta and also set out feta cheese, olives, pine nuts, and tomatoes.

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Eggs- (our) eggs with cheese, and fresh basil and tomatoes

Chicken Devon- I placed (already baked) cubed chicken, cut up broccoli in a 9x12 dish and covered with cream of mushroom soup and shredded cheese.  I toasted some slivered almonds for a few minutes and sprinkled on top then I put in the oven for 20 minutes (I think).

Spaghetti- I sauteed minced garlic in 1/2 cup of olive oil for a few minutes then added to a big pot with 16 chopped tomatoes and a bunch of chopped basil.  I simmered for 2 and 1/2 hours.  This made enough for dinner and a jar for the freezer.