Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Back to school ...

We are back into the school mode.  It crept up so fast that we were not ready to say goodbye to our late summer nights nor to our sleeping in mornings!  We kept thinking of how fast our summer went by but honestly, getting back into the school routine has been good so far!  I can't believe I am saying that because I was wishing for just a few more weeks of summer yet!  Somehow though, getting back into earlier mornings, having the kids leave the house before 8 AM, it makes me feel now like Fall is right around the corner.  Even though the tempts are still warm outside, in my mind I kinda change seasons when the first days of school begin.

Little Miss cried when the bus left with her older siblings.  I can not count how many times I said, "You must be at least five years old before you can go to school."  She knows it but still wishes she could go along. 

Hadassah is always ready to go back to school to see her friends.  She does well in school with her grades and I hope she works hard to reach that A Honor Roll again!  She is looking so forwards to the volleyball games coming up soon with the school teams!  I have confidence that her school year will be great!

Matthew is never ready to go back to school to say the least!  :)  He loves the lazy warm days of summer but we all know that getting this boy into reading and books is a necessary duty!  I was hoping to have him read more this summer or at least do some math facts now and then, but I did not reach my expectations!  It seems that the kids work hard in their studies at school and so then during the summer, we just don't want to think "school".  That's a terrible excuse ... I know.  :/  The first day back to school was great for Matthew though.  He has a new teacher and seems to be fond of her already!  Reaching new goals for Matthew in school will be fun to see!  Again, I have confidence that Matthew will have a great year learning!

For me, having the two older kids out of the house early gives me a little bit more quietness.  It brings a new independence again.  Ashlyn does very well playing with toys alone or with me by her side.  The house seems so quiet without Adventures in Odyssey playing constantly.  Or without Matthew making things out of paper or clips or nails or hammers, balls, rubber bands, etc.  :)  I miss the children not being home all the time but at the same time I am enjoying being home with just Ashlyn and I.  Being all together in the evening as a family is my most favorite time of the day!!!
Today, the kids had their first full day of school and I am anxious to see how it went!!!  They were both excited and that is the best feeling a mom can have when sending them off to school!  I am ever thankful for Christian's schools and wonderful education!  We are officially back to packing lunches, going through lots of school papers and filling in the school schedule into our family calendar.  May God bless us with yet another fun, learning year!!!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Peach Salsa!

I love recipes!!!!!!!!!!!

I collect recipe books!

If I receive any magazines through the mail, they are cooking magazines.

I search online for foods.

When I realized that I have ripe peaches around here that need to be eaten, I went searching for a PEACH SALSA recipe!  We have thoroughly been enjoying the abundant peach season!  It's one of our families favorite fruits!  We love it with yogurt and homemade granola.  Hadassah often cuts some up throughout the day to enjoy as a snack.  Peach smoothies are yummy but we've kept them to a limit so far because Mike is trying to go without sugar.  (In hopes it will help with his seasonal allergies.  He's been all clear so far ... except for this morning.  The sneezing has begun ... but he really hopes it won't be as bad!  Or better yet, just a hiccup and no more sneezing fits!)  I was planning on making a baby meal last night for friends, but then that got canceled, so now my peach dessert is still stewing in my mind.  :)  Peach pies are always refreshing!

Anyway, with the peaches around here that needed to be used up, I decided to search the web and find myself a canning peach salsa recipe!  I did find a recipe!  I read the reviews and after jotting the original recipe down, I made my own small tweaks. 

As I was chopping up peaches, onions, mango, etc., I was excited to see the final product!  I chopped and mixed all the ingredients together and then cooked it to a boil for about a minute.  The salsa smell was awesome!  I filled 12 jelly jars plus 4 pints!  I kept just a small bit in the fridge to chill for me to try later!  I really think we are going to enjoy this salsa and I was all smiles when Mike tried it last night and gave me thumbs up!!!  This salsa is tasty with chips and used as a dip!  I can't wait to try it with chicken or fish too!  I think it's gonna make a terrific topping for both!!!

So, if by chance you have extra peaches on your kitchen counter, or if you feel the urge to add something new to your canning foods, try this recipe! 

We love peach season!  

12 cup fresh peaches, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
2 Mangos, chopped
1 cup chopped red peppers
1/3 cup cilantro
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 tsp. cumin
1/2 cup white vinegar
2 limes, grated lime zest plus the juice
1/2 cup raw sugar
Mix all the ingredients and bring to a boil.  Boil for 1 minute. 
Pour into jars and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes. 
Yield:  12 jelly jars plus 4 pint!

* The original recipe came from allrecipes.com..  Here are some changes that I made to our liking:  I didn't add as much onion.  I had two ripe mangos in my fridge, so I added them.  The recipe called for jalapeno peppers but I opted to keep them out.  It also called for fruit pectin but the reviews said that that makes the salsa more like a jam, so I kept that out too.  The sugar amount is up to you!  The original recipe called for way more than I used!!!  Some reviews said they used none at all!  I decided to add just a little to give it the perfect taste for us!

Peaches are yummy!!!  I am thrilled to now have some peach salsa to last me much longer than the peach season can give us!  I give this a five star food!!!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Making the most of our SUMMER days!!!

We have been craming in as much as possible before school begins ... well, so it seems!  School will begin in only a few days and we are not at all ready to say good bye to summer.  The summer vacation went by so fast but I am so happy to look back and see that we had a wonderful summer!

Last week, Ashlyn and I went to a tea party for girls.  She looks a bit timid because she was.  I'm not sure what her problem was at first.?.  She wanted me to be right beside her.  Eat with her.  Everything.  I enjoyed being her side kick but I was finally able to join the other moms while the girls had their own little party.  Thanks Anne and Sierra for the fun time! 

Sunday morning I went into Matthew's room to wake him up and open his window blinds.  I quickly told him that there were eagles right outside!  Two of them!  Matthew jumped out of bed to see.  Mike said to get the camera!  They didn't stay long because they were scared by the road traffic.  Neat!!!

With it being the last week of summer vacation, our calendar kept filling up!  Not that we tried to leave fun events for this week, no, it just happens that way.  We've said on and off all summer about doing something with my mom and sisters.  It happened that if we really wanted to get it done, then Monday it would have to be!  After our very busy weekend with helping at the Nicaragua Fundraiser, church, baptism service and then ending by a camp fire with friends ... Monday came fast!  I got the laundry going early and then met at mom's to go to French Creek Pool with family!  The kids had a blast and the sunshine was nice and sunny for us to all get another dose of that good ol' Vitamin D!  :)

We made the most of our day and did not rush home.  Thank you ladies for sharing the day in the sun with us!!!
Tuesday we were home for most of the day catching up with house chores.  We are still picking some green beans and our tomatoes are doing well.  The green growing lawn needed mowed too!
We were up bright and early again on Wednesday morning to head to the shore!  We have not taken a family trip to the beautiful ocean this summer and so Hadassah, Matthew and I were excited to get our toes in the sand!  :)  (Thank you Jody for keeping Ashlyn for me!  And thanks to hubby for keeping her in the eve!)  The mom's and their girls (some from Hadassah's school class) planned day to all go the beach together.  We had it planned for last week but it rained.  We rescheduled and what a lovely day it turned out to be!!!  Full sunshine!  Wild waves!  Tanned skin!  Appling plenty of sunscreen!  Pizza! 
The girls had a total blast in the water all day! 

I took Matthew along too and he had fun with Andrew.  I'm sad that I forgot to get a picture on the boys together!  :/

Once again, Hadassah and Courtney had a fun day together!!!

When it was time to leave, the girls requested that we pick them up at the curb!  :)
We stopped for pizza on the way home.  Mike and Ashlyn beat us home after watching the final ballgame in town.  It was late when we got showered up and finally to bed.  We had a great day at the beach and with school friends!

Now today it's a day at home cleaning and trying to take a breather!  I'm tempted to make some peach salsa with the extra peaches we have right now?.?  The kids are playing with cousins one more time before school begins.  Our weekend is still open and event free ... and that sounds just perfect to me!  Enjoy the few mornings of sleeping in and the summer free schedule for a few more days!!!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Lapp Family Day!!!

Usually, we do a three day mountains trip with Mike's family but the dates got mixed up and the cabin was not available.  We decided to just do a day gathering at a local pond and recreation fun! 

We started early with all meeting for breakfast and that got me stepping in the morning with frying bacon and sausage.  I enjoy breakfast so an all out breakfast spread is yummy to me!!!  After that, it was swimming, games ... even a baseball game with most of us helping!!!  (We had mom watching the littles!  We had dad be our pitcher!  :)  )

Mom brought each of the children a swimming gift.  Lot's of splashes and ball throwing after that!

Ashlyn learned to love the water and swim! 

Sitting around the campfire always makes good memories!

Mommy Lapp loves the water too!

There were two different slides.  Ashlyn chose the smaller slide to go down!  :)

Matthew is going up the big slid!

All a board ... why not all go at once?  :)

Ashlyn loves babies ...

James ...

Janessa ...

Hunter ...

Hunter wanted so bad to go down big slide ... so he did!!! 

"Trash Can Supper" was fun!!!  Everyone dug into the shrimp and yummy foods!
Family gatherings are always a blast!  We missed Steve & Linda and their cute kiddoes but we hope Texas is going well for them!!!  Thanks to everyone for coming!!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

More canning!!!

My day of much canning ...

We load up all the ingredients into the Yukon.  We unload at sister Jody's.  We measure.  We mix.  We cook.  We time.  We stir.  We fill tons of pints and quart jars.  We put on all the many lids.  We label if necessary.  We put all the jars into a water base and time again.  We set all the jars on a very large table.  We smile.  We tired!!!  :)

That's the simple version!  :)  Our original plans today were to spend our time at the beach.  But the weather changed our plans!  It was a rainy day all day long ... perfect for the lawn and garden!!!  Mom called me and said that if I don't go to the beach, she could help me with some canning!  Again, perfect!!!  I wish on anyone to have a mom like me and it's a huge blessing to have her help!!! 

When Matthew and I had our "school date" on Monday afternoon, I grabbed some ingredients for all my foods!  (Matthew and I had such a blast together getting his school supplies and new clothes.  We ate at Red Robin for lunch!!!  It was great to have some one on one time together!  I love this kid!!!)  Meanwhile, the girls were at Jody's and she said she wanted to can some soups while I do my tomato canning.  So we decided to use her huge garage to do all our canning together.

I got the kids up earlier than usual and we got right to our chore!  We started with my pizza sauce.  Then salsa.  Then marinara sauce.  Then tomato juice.  Then vegetable soup!  I'm telling you ... we don't have the slightest clue how to do things simple when it comes to our foods!!!  Every time we seem to always do tons and tons all at once!  But why not do it all when the helping hands are available and the supplies are all there?  :)

We had three cookers going at once.  Jody did two soups while mom and I mixed all my different recipes!  We filled dozens of jars!  The kids played well else inside or out in the rain!  Two, five gallon buckets of tomatoes were all used up!!!

The tomatoes were huge and great for my recipes!  We washed the tomatoes and then started the cookers!

Salsa ...

Pure tomato juice ...
 Pizza Sauce ...

I thought I had all my ingredients but we kept having to send Hadassah and Morgan right next door to the grocery store.  We asked them one time to go for more peppers and onions and three boxes of pint jars.  They decided to push the shopping cart right over to our canning area and then took the cart back.  It was a good laugh!!!  :)))

I only wish I could send this Marinara Sauce smell along with this picture because it smelled so, so good!!!  Yum!

LOTS of filled jars!!!

We mixed one batch of vegetable soup for me and one for Jody.  Here's what goes on my shelves!!!

After our hard working day of tomatoes, I came home to a basket of soft peaches.  I cleaned them and cut them in small pieces.  The peaches got mixed with sure gel, sugar & fruit fresh ... then put in small containers and now are in the freezer for an easy lunch add in!!!  I think the kids are really going to like these!!!

It's funny to say that my day was much more rewarding doing all that canning than sitting on the wet beach, but it's true!  Our beach trip got changed to another date, so we hope to still get a beach day in before school starts!!!

Now my hands still smell from peppers and onions but I will sleep well knowing that my canning shelves will be well restocked!!!  I am thankful to God for our fresh foods and knowing how to preserve foods!  Peaches, apple sauce and a few more small items are still be done! 

Enjoy the harvest time of gardening!!!  There comes such a fulfilling feeling when the cellar shelves get filled up!  We are so blessed!!!