Cherry picking, washing, pitting, and freezing.

We have been having a blast picking this summer now that the the twins are 3 and a half.  This is the first Summer that we have been able to spend some time picking with the kids old enough to participate a little.

Here is what we have picked this year:

  • Organic Blueberries at Minto Island Growers $1.74 ish per lb.
  • Cherries with Salem Harvest-Free!
  • Cherries at our generous friends the Askeys-Free!
  • Broccoli with Salem Harvest-Free!

It was a little hard to decide what to do with all the cherries, but in the end I decided to just wash, pit, and freeze what we could not eat immediately.

 

Here are the steps I used to “put up” our cherries…

1) After I read about some different techniques to wash fruit I got excited about using vinegar and water.  I figured that instead of a making a spray I could probably make a soak for them.  I put 3 parts cold water to 1 part vinegar and let them soak for a few minutes and agitated with with my hand a bit.  Then I fished them out with a shallow ladle type tool with holes in it.

2) After the soak I rinsed them in cold water for a bit to get the vinegar off and get them a little cleaner.

3) Next, I dumped them into my salad spinner to let them drip dry a little more without getting the counter soaked.

4) Now it was time to pit!  Little Miss woke up from her nap and was so excited to help me.  It was our first summer harvest we have gotten to work on together and a great memory.  She was very helpful and so eager.  Her job was to pull the stems off and keep my hopper full in the cherry pitter.  She took pride in her work and said some of the funniest things.  “Oh look at this tiny sad one Mama! You think she will be okay (cherries are obviously girls)?”  She also told me, “I am a Mama” and made it clear that she was feeling so very grown up.

This was my first summer using the Norpro Deluxe Cherry Pitter.  I bought it from Azure Standard and I have no idea how I would have done this job without it.

4) I then bagged the pitted cherries flat in zipper bags.  I got as much of the air out as I could and then stacked a couple bags on a cookie sheet to freeze.  After they were frozen flat in bags I rearranged them in our freezer.

These will be great for smoothies, baking, mixing into ice cream, and cobblers!  What a blessing to fill our freezer with free fruit!

A trip to Trader Joe’s and Fred Meyer

When I occasionally actually get into the stores (we have been swamped lately) there are definitely some deals to be found.  The Hubs and I loaded the 3 Littles up and did a Trader Joe’s trip followed by Fred Meyer.

At Trader Joe’s we shopped like we still didn’t have a local store.  You would think we were preparing for Y2K like pretzels and counterfeit “Pirates Booty” were going to save our life.  “Divide and conqueror” turned into divide and “double up”.  Pretty sure we won’t need to buy snacks for 2 months.  My kids were “those kids” and I blame those darn little carts.  Last time Hubs took the kids he let them use them.  This time mean mommy said we had too much shopping to do.   I did not want to spend 3 hours using my nice voice to try and protect other shoppers ankles.  We went with the push the double and single  BOB’s and drag a cart approach.  What we ended up with was 2 toddlers who wanted NOTHING to do with the stroller and know how to push each and every button of their twin counterpart.  But, lucky for us they offered our kids taffy and suckers (I think we were the suckers).  Only 3 minutes later daddy was crawling around the van looking for which crevasse the taffy fell into and revoking the sucker for being stuck to inappropriate surfaces.  Next time I think we might pass on the “Mojo” basket.

The next stop was Fred Meyer.  Needless to say I went in while the rest of the family stayed in the car.  I was happy with my trip. I came out to pleasant kids and a patient daddy and Buzz Lightyear sticking out from our mini van’s sunroof.  I love my life.

Here is a tiny snapshot of my FM loot (Hubs has the good camera and phone today).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Came home from with…

2 Crayola colored pencils 99 cents

3 Crayola 24 ct. crayons 39 cents

2 packs of Avery 3 ct (with bonus) glue sticks. On sale for $1.49 and had a B1G1 coupon hanging from price tag.

Johnson’s Natural body wash. Had coupon for $1.50 off. (Having a hard time finding a good price on a good natural baby wash. This will do for now.)

Cottonelle wipes (great for toddlers!). Coupon for free product, but the shelf price was more than coupon would allow for. Anybody ran into this before? I think this shows that Fred Meyer’s regular prices are a bit high. I just asked if I could pay the difference.

3 big organic peaches on sale for $1.48 (decent price)

Whoppers (yes I said whoppers) $1.49ish or $1.25 with in ad coupon

Kettle chips. $1.50 after $1 off coupon at coupons.com

Pantene conditioner. Coupon for free product

Total $13. 24!

I also noticed that they had their clearance toys an additional 50% off.  I was at the South Salem store.  I did not find anything amazing but they did have quite a bit.  Might want to check it out!

Happy Tuesday!

Happy Birthday Baby Girl

 

 

 

Sweet Baby,
What can I say? You are amazing.  God blessed us with you on June 23rd (is that your birthday? we keep having arguments over that).  You were born 6 days after your due date at Providence St. Vincents in Portland at 8:42 a.m.  You were born by c-section after a very long labor.  Mama tried her hardest to have you “the old fashioned way.”  But it did not work out.  Was the full reason the VBAC didn’t work because you were a sweet chunker? Because I did not push hard enough for a Dr. who was actually supportive of our choice and not just “willing to try”?  We will never know.  All I know is that I am glad I did get to try.  I feel more a part of the mothering experience being aware of what happens during labor.  I now know what it is like to be “overdue,” have my water break, go into labor, think my contractions were “very strong” and then realize that was nothing.  I remember feeling like I was not sure I could do it without drugs in the beginning of our hospital stay, but then feel like I could do it forever if it was what I needed to do to get you and keep you safest.  God made us for this.  You and me.  You are my precious babe and I would do anything for you.  I am very passionate about birth, but not so focused on the “what if’s”  that I have exhausted myself thinking over what happened.  Honestly, there was never much time or energy to put towards it.  But, coming up on your birthday has brought back many memories of the experience.

 

 

Random remembrances of your early days
-You were a screamer in the hospital.  You only wanted to nurse or be skin to skin with daddy or I.  In the hospital we joked that we might never be able to wear shirts again. You had a job to do and took it very seriously.  They could barely complete your hearing test.  A sweet Russian lady bounced and shh’ed you like I have never seen before to just calm you down enough to get it done.  I never wanted you back in my arms so bad.

-I remember talking about adoption philosophies with my anesthesiologist right after you were delivered.  What a time for a deep conversation.  Not sure how I had any mental energy at that point.   Moments after my failed VBAC and your sweet arrival she wanted to know if we would be having more kids.  Apparently adoption was sounding like the most appealing option.  She needed work on her small talk skills.  Maybe she should have asked what color your bedding was rather than asking if you would be our last baby.

-The room we stayed in at in the hospital with you was tiny and quite dated.

-Most of the clothes we brought for you were too small.

-You were strong and sturdy.  None of the floppy newborn stage for you.

-You spent very little time in your hospital bassinet.  You preferred to sleep on daddy or me, and we happily obliged.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-You lost 10% of your weight and they wanted me to supplement you.  You might have had one drop of formula (literally) at a weak point to get them off my back.  I quickly regained my confidence and said something like “that is ridiculous.”

-Most all of our nurses were great.

-Our labor and delivery nurse (Jeanie I believe) asked me if I liked my Nike’s while she was starting my I.V.  I responded with a convincing “yes” thinking she was asking for a recommendation.  She replied with “Sorry. I just got blood all over them.”

-I remember watching a lady who had just had her baby walk back from the hospital coffee shop with her new baby, husband, latte, and 2 year old.  She clearly did not have a c-section and lived locally.  Touch jealous.

-I actually took pain real pain meds this time and wow…they worked.

-The drive home from Portland was actually quite nice and allowed us to unwind for a bit.

-Your brother and sister met you for the first time at home.  We brought them Starbucks chocolate milks with lots of whip cream to soften your arrival.  Luckily they loved both their Starbucks AND YOU!

 

At one year you are still our joy.  You are passionate and strong willed.  You still know what you want.  Your personality has only been multiplied by having an older brother and sister to study at all times.  You can imitate sounds and emotions amazingly well.  Sometimes I have to look to see if the sound is coming from you or your sister.  You are a wiggler and a mover.  You like to just GO.  You don’t like to be squished (have not since you were in my belly) or restrained.  You are sweet as pie and love baby dolls and your special duck.  You don’t like to be left out and are fully aware of your surroundings.  You used to smile at everyone, but now you are a bit more conservative with them.

You still nurse quite a few times a day and throughout the night.  You still have strong ideas about your food and just because you turned the “magical age” of a year we will not be rushing to wean you.  You are still my baby and we will take that slowly as you are ready.  You love cheese, raisins, yogurt, and anything you can get your hands on from the garden.  We are slowly introducing wheat to your diet and you love a good hunk of bread. Your favorite meal is a piece of quesadilla and some black beans from Uncle Dino’s restaurant.  For your Birthday meal we got some pizza from Wallery’s.  You ate almost a whole small slice!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your sweet words

First word-Mama at 6mo 3 weeks

Next words soon after-Dada, Du du (duck-duck her favorite lovey), Bubba, more, Papa, Ma, Da (dog), che (cheese), Mommy, Yeah!, yea, obey, no, nigh nigh (night night), and you are working on a word for your sister but have not landed on anything yet.

Signs-more, please (often signed against mamas chest).  Because you seemed to be ready to talk before signing we have been pretty relaxed with teaching you signs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You have a killer princess wave and will reserve it until you are sure people are actually leaving.  You love to give air kisses.  Since you were tiny you would hold perfectly still for kisses from Mama and Daddy for a long time (when you need them). You will even hold Mama’s hand against the side of your face when you need a good snuggle.  Although you wake often during the night you go down for your naps and bedtimes like a champ.  If your “love tank” is full and you have had plenty of time with Mama we don’t hear a peep from you…until you want to eat.

You are a precious blessing and we love you to pieces.  Happy Birthday sweet baby of ours!

Love, Mama, Dada, Bubba, and Sister

 

3 Big Steps Towards Creating a Healthier Home- Part 2

Making slow healthy changes with our food and home has been a gradual progression around here for quite some time.  The changes largely started when we had kids.  Hubby and I joked that we had to get the Cheetos out of the house before the kids were born.  When you are building a person from the ground up why not make every bite count?  It was also greatly spurred on by a litany of food allergies that worsened after the twins were born which got me reading labels.  Some days we do better than others with this stuff .  We are by no means perfect (the twins coincidentally might have even had Cheetos this weekend on vacation).  Here are some more changes we have been striving for around here…

See the first 3 steps I wrote about  HERE.

4) Ditch the lunch meat.  We try to not purchase lunch meat often.  Most of them are full of nitrates and other preservatives, have tons of sodium, are often made with questionable cuts of meat, and quite possibly have MSG.  When I am craving a good grilled panini we splurge on high quality meat (without most of the scary stuff in it) and only occasionally as a “treat.”

We have replaced lunch meat with other forms of protein like hummus, eat leftovers for lunch rather than sandwiches, and made sandwiches out of home made chicken salad (amazing!) or other non “slimy meat” ingredients.

5) Make your own baked goods.  We try to have healthy whole wheat muffins on hand for breakfast, snacks, or cravings for something “sweet.”  Our current favorite is pumpkin chocolate chip.  The kids gobble them up and the whole wheat makes them much more filling than a regular muffin made with white flour.  We also love to make scones, whole wheat cookies, and cinnamon rolls for a very special treat.  Although, most of these would not qualify as “health food” they are much better made from home where you know the ingredients and can make some healthy substitutions.  Most people know that there is some scary stuff (mainly in the form of weird oils and tons of preservatives) in the boxed and wrapped baked goods, but even much of the grocery store baked goods have a lot of weird ingredients.  The fresh baked bread is not always too bad, but things like the plastic clam shells filled with neon cookies and cupcakes are probably pretty questionable.  Check out this link on the wonders of supermarket baked goods.

If you find that you are baking a lot you might even want to consider investing in a grain mill.  I love my Nutrimill!  Fresh ground flour is tastier, but best of all is much more nutritious.  As flour sits it loses nutrition and much of the flour in stores could even be rancid.  Even the way the flour was ground initially can affect its nutrition.  All you have to do is buy wheat berries and run them through the mill and you have flour (you can grind other grains as well).

6) Get the plastic out of the kitchen.  Plastics often contain BPA and other harmful ingredients.  Some of the new plastics are labeled BPA free, but I still prefer other materials when possible.  Glass, metal (stainless steel is great), and ceramics (Fiestaware is lead free) are just so much more attractive and whimsical.  Since the kids were little we have avoided using plastics with BPA in them.  When they were young we had to do a bit of looking at labels, now it is a bit more common to find clearly labeled kids products from big name brands.

*We do however use Ikea’s plastic children’s bowls and plates.  I was told they were BPA free and they are very affordable.

 

I never mean for these posts to make anyone feel like they are not doing enough for their family.  Being a mom is hard!  This is just our SLOW journey.  Some days we do great on these types of things, and other days we are just trying to hang on and survive.

Hope your day was splendid! If not, tomorrow will be a fresh start.

Blessings!

 

What changes have you made in your home?

 

The Twins 3rd Birthday-A Peter Pan Party

Back in February we celebrated the 3rd birthday of our sweet twins.  I had such a great time planning their party.  It is not always the easiest task to find a gender neutral theme that everyone can agree on when you have boy/ girl twins.  I have been dreaming of this party since they were very little and thought 3 would be the perfect age to have this party.  Three is such a magical age.  I figured they would be old enough to remember it, but young enough to let mama dream and scheme.  I have loved Peter Pan since childhood and am thrilled that the tots love it as much as I do.

This post will be picture heavy!  I figure if you have a double birthday you need to have double the pictures.

Come along on a journey to Neverland…Here we GOOOO!

 

Peter getting some last minute booty at the store

This Peter Pan birthday banner was SO cool. Unfortunately I did not get a very good picture of it.

 

Mama and our little Wendy

Peter Pan, little Wendy, and Tinkerbell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tink getting her very long awaited pink uke from Unc D. What a special gift!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Party details:

-We kept it small to try to prevent Little Man’s famous phrase, “OH NO! Too many people.”

-Booty for the little attenders included; Crayons and star stickers wrapped in bakers twine (love this stuff), a roll of paper to trace their shadow, and some “Lost Boys trail mix” for the journey home.

-We held it at our neighborhood clubhouse which the kids call the “Birthday House.”

-Little Lady was quite hesitant to wear her Tink outfit.  She was pretty sure she wanted to wear a “Pretty dress.”  How do you explain that mama kicked her pirate booty to keep it all in theme and that it would be most delightful if she would oblige? She paired it with some polka dot leggings and sparkly shoes and was satisfied with the outcome.

-Little Man wore some of our favorite “Saturday Market pants”, his favorite boots, a green polo, a “Peter Pan belt” (that he wore for days after), and a mama made Peter Pan hat (which he still wears daily).

Thanks for coming along!