Sunday, September 30, 2012

Crockery cooking, Canning & Company

Holy SMOKES! It has been a while since I updated our blog! Can ya blame me? I've been a single parent every other week since the 1st of August... and there doesn't seem to be any chance of a slow down in life!

Ruby is LOVING preschool! She's still a tid bit apprehensive when I drop her off, but she seems to not think of me the minute Elias and I leave. And she always has a HUGE smile on her face when I pick her up! I wasn't able to get any info out of her the first 4 classes but she has since opened up and is a chatterbox all afternoon long (on school days!) 

Elias is enjoying his time with Mummy one on one. He helps me clean, or we bike ride into town for a coffee and a play at the park. Last week we were fortunate enough to stumble on a cement truck pouring a new basketball court. He was mesmerized!

Nick is here there and everywhere. It is trying in every conceivable aspect. He went hunting last week and came home skunked without ANYTHING, and the fiasco of picking him up from his brother's at 1 am didn't bode well. There were many a word said on the truck ride home, and I was completely grateful for my mother visiting so I didn't have to disturb the children.

So now we're broke, gonna starve and have a massive credit card bill. But hey, we're still all together, healthy and living in the Valley! God himself was merciful, I left at 11:45 pm to head south, fuming, and near tears and then I turned on the radio and heard; Lee Brice's 'Hard to Love' followed up by Jason Aldean's 'Why?'  So I smiled and kissed my hubby when he finally pulled in, weary, bleary and broken hearted.

Yes, I know we listen to country music!

So home for the weekend with a gigantic'To Do' List. There is SO much to get done before the rains come and I can't possibly get it done without him home. We tackled quite a bit, and made a great team doing it!

Alex the dreamy tree guy was back to grind out the massive tree stumps. Poor fellow spent all day in the blazing sun with this enormous lawn mower looking machine, that has gnarley looking 'teeth' and must weigh 250 lbs, grinding down the tree stumps, flicking dirt up in his face for 8 hours. Must be how he keeps so svelt! He had to come back to complete the job... I know 'poor' me!

But the yard is AMAZING! It's truly hard to fathom how just a few short months ago there were 3, 40+ ft maple trees standing, and now there are just leveled patches of dirt waiting for the grass to grow next spring. Nick and I were so pleased we'd asked Alex to come back to grind out the stumps. The machine is rentable but watching it done really made us appreciate being able to pay someone to do it! Well worth the money! (And the view ;P )

While Alex was grinding out the stumps Nick was making and canning, 'Carrot Pepper Salsa.' Our jungle of tomato plants yielded 20+ lbs of tomatoes that needed to be dealt with. The plants will probably yield another 15 if not 20 lbs ~  near 40 lbs of tomatoes total , not bad for not knowing what we were doing!

Nick was able to get 16 ~ 250ml jars of the salsa but had a bunch of tomatoes still left over. So he made tomato sauce, and had the BRILLIANT idea of breaking out his virgin 'food mill' to process the fruits. He cut them up, boiled them and then put them in the food mill, pressing out the flesh. All that was left in the end was maybe a cup full of seeds and skins. It was impressive! In the end he has 8 ~ 500 ml jars of tomato sauce canned.

While Nick was gone I had the chore of feeding children a minimum of 3 meals per day and tidying up the messes. SUCH a chore! But I have rediscovered my crock pot and a friend turned me on to 'Get Crocked' blog. Made life so much easier!!!! I made German Goulash and the next night Sweet'n'Sour Chicken. I LOVE my crock pot! I was able to make dinner, while I cleaned up lunch and it made those lonely nights go by a little easier with minimal clean up. I fully intend to use the crock more often as Ruby starts swimming in a few short weeks at 5:30 pm smack dab in the middle of dinner hour. Oy vey! Mrs. Crock Pot to the rescue! The blog even boasts crock pot cinnamon buns and other baked goods! I'll try it out!

Mum came up to keep me company and break up my single parent week. She brought with her GF muffins and cookies, which the kids devoured, and Ruby still asks for every morning! I had to promise her tonight that I'd bake muffins with her tomorrow or she wouldn't go to bed! Had to laugh, she'd walked in the door, kiss me and made a mad dash for the loo. (3 hours in the car will do that to a person) But apparently before she knew it she was sitting down and the dog was licking her knees, while Eli was trying to climb up onto her knees and Ruby was telling her ALL about the new shower curtain we'd bought and then proceeded to advise her on proper body washing protocols...."Want to try it out Grammie? I could help you wash your hair! We, we have to have bath before bed you know...."  I was splitting a gut!!!

Nick came home and the work began. He picked out all the large rocks by hand, filled in the tree stump holes with wood chips, covered them with dirt, and made a giant 'dune' out of the left over wood chips (Ruby had fun playing in it and was filthy dirty when she came in!)

His Mum Brenda and her hubby Rob came up Saturday afternoon, bringing with them a GF lasagna which was YUMMY and both kids had 2 helpings! I made a sweet potato pie for dessert. Nick raised and eye brow but I'd always wanted to try making one... and it turned out fabulously! It has a similar flavour and texture to pumpkin pie but is much lighter and less greasy? Sometimes pumpkin pie can be very heavy and greasy, I think it is just the nature of the sugar pumpkin squash. But the sweet potato pie was marvelous! I highly recommend trying it as an alternative to this coming Thanksgiving weekend's traditional pumpkin pie.

We're off to Country Maples in Chemainus to meet up with my sister's family and my folks for Thanksgiving feast. We're having a 'Bean Off' on the Saturday night, my Ma is making her famous beans, and Nick is making his 'Venison and Beans.' Winner gets bragging rites for a week! We'll be bringing our RV obviously and an older stove/oven from a dismantled camper, plus my sister's RV oven ~ we're hoping to make a Thanksgiving feast for 12! I'll be making brussle sprouts with bacon, and GF sweet potato pie and a GF pumpkin, caramel pecan pie. Yes, I will take pics and blog about it!

I'm hoping the festivities don't hinder my progress. After 3 years of pregnancy and child rearing I'm finally able to put on my skinny jeans!!! ...I can't do them up, but I can get them ON! Bike riding, towing 50 lbs of kids 4 times per week has made my hips and rear end shrink!!! YAY me! So I'm going to keep it up (as if I have a choice!)

I'll see about posting pictures! TTYL!

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