Friday, August 22, 2014

Chatting with the C-Man

Ready for some more of Colter's wisdom? Here's what has made us smile recently.

Colter: Elliott had big hands. Now Elliott has little hands. Elliott took off his big hands and Elliott put on his little hands.

Colter: I'm just growing horns.

(Conversation about carnivals going on at the dinner table.)
Colter: That's what Carmela has in her belly. There's a carnival in her belly.

Colter: (to me) I'll get taller and you'll get littler and then I'll babysit you.

Colter: (after sneezing several times in the yard) Sometimes I just put my snot right in the grass.

Colter: Horseradish mustard? That's what the horses put on their cheese sandwiches?

Colter: (watching a truck pull a tractor backwards) The truck is going forwards and the tractor is going backwards. They are going in both directions at once.

Me: Look, that's a picture of your baby cousin in Carmela's belly.
Colter: I think Carmela just ate my baby cousin.

Colter: (stops in his tracks while walking) I just ran out of walking.

Colter: Dear God, please keep my family safe and happy and healthy. Almonds.

Colter: (slapping his forehead with his hand) I am just cracking my head and I will be a pistachio!

Colter: Why are your toenails red?
Me: Because I painted them.
Colter: Why did you paint your toenails red?
Me: Because I wanted them to be pretty. Would you like me to paint your toenails?
Colter: No, my toenails are already pretty.

Our friend Mego: How old are you?
Colter: Old enough!

(While at the pharmacy)
Colter: Who is that man?
Me: He's the pharmacist.
Colter: A farmer?
Me: No, a pharmacist.
Colter: He has hair like a farmer.
(The pharmacist had dark hair and a beard like Popper, the #1 farmer in Colter's life.)

Colter: (building a pillow castle) Elliott, come in! We'll cover ourselves with pillows and live happily every after!

Colter: (looking at Elliott's belly) He just has another baby inside him.

(Colter has been using the word "love" a lot..."I love this pickle. I love this cartoon. I love this tractor.")
Me: Do you love Elliott?
Colter: A little bit.

Me: (tucking Colter in) I love you.
Colter: Ok.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Here it is.

I do not like canning.

I don't hate it, but it is not anywhere near the top of my list of ways to spend a day. Or an afternoon. Or even an hour. It can be tedious, and time consuming, what with all the washing of jars, chopping of fruit or vegetables, cooking things down, heating things up, bringing to a boil, keeping at a simmer, packing and wiping and tightening and loading. And then you still have to do the dishes.

On Sunday, Keith and I worked on peaches together, which was a nice change from doing green beans, carrots, pickles, tomato sauce and chopped tomatoes on my own. And I'm not picking on him about that, it is just that he's at work and though he is more than willing to help when he gets home, who wants to still be canning at 9 at night? So I do it during the day, often to the music of small boys yelling at each other.

Maybe if I had the house completely to myself, I would settle into a rhythm as I worked my way through whatever produce needed to be dealt with. I would be able turn on music I enjoy and actually hear it, I could work my way through the dishes as the canner bubbled away, instead of attending to the needs of little men, I could grab a handful of crackers instead of needing to stop and fix lunch. (I bought a book of recipes for small-batch canning, thinking it would be easier to do in my days of frequent interruptions. Except I found myself doubling and tripling the recipes to use up cucumbers and tomatoes. I foiled my own plan.)

But truly, though I do not enjoy canning, I am always left with a smile when I survey shelves full of the fruits (and vegetables) of our labors. Things from our garden that, without canning, we would only be able to enjoy for a short season. In the winter, I am glad to have vegetables close at hand and easy to heat up and fill our bellies with. I am happy to know exactly what is going into our mouths and nourishing our bodies. At least we can be responsible for a portion of the food we eat, and Colter and Elliott will grow up understanding where food comes from, how it grows, and just how much work it takes.

So the tomatoes are still going crazy and I see more chopped tomatoes and salsa in our near future, and of course there will be applesauce in the fall, but things are winding down. I will say that canning was a bit more pleasant this year, as we didn't have as many hot and humid days when the steam from the canner makes it feel like it is going to rain inside. Maybe by next summer, Colter will be big enough to wash the jars...

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

More Dirt

Leave it to Popper to one-up us on the dirt pile...

Then Keith got in on the action with some smaller-scale equipment and built roads with Colter.

Who knew good, clean fun could get a kid so dirty?

Monday, August 4, 2014

Cabbage Salad

My mom-mom shared a new cabbage salad recipe with us, and I'm kind of in love. Keith likes it too, but says it's still a tie with the coleslaw I often make. I think this salad actually holds up better over the course of a couple days, and soaks up more of the flavor, which is nice because it usually takes us that long to get through it.

4th of July Cabbage Salad
from my mom-mom's friend Jane

Toss together:

1 head of cabbage, chopped or shredded, or 1 bag of coleslaw
4-5 scallions, sliced
1-2 cups toasted almonds (I went with about 1 cup slivered almonds; Mom-mom says peanuts work too)
2 Tbsp sesame seeds (optional – I put in sunflower seeds because I had them on hand)
1 package chicken-flavored ramen noodles, broken into pieces

Mix dressing together:
Flavoring packet from noodles
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 Tbsp white vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper

Pour dressing over cabbage mixture and toss together.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Turning Tables

A friend recently offered us a plastic picnic tables his girls had outgrown, and we were pretty excited because we have been on the lookout for a kids table for the patio. The only downside was that it was pink. And purple. A little too girly for our little men.

Lest you think color would deter us from accepting a freebie, we had a remedy for that. Keith was off to the hardware store to pick up some spray paint for plastic in some tamer tones, and had that table painted in no time. So fast I never got before pictures.

Ok, not quite that fast. I just didn't take them. Colter and I scrubbed everything down really well, and the following weekend Keith got to painting.

The can recommended letting it sit seven days to fully cure and prevent chipping, so we waited a week to put it back together. It isn't totally chip-proof, so we'll see how it holds up in the long run.

For now though, we have seating for the little folks. Even if one of them refuses to look at the camera.

Well, C, if that's the way you are going to be, we'll bring in the second string.

When did E get so big?

Friday, July 25, 2014

Boy + Dirt

A few evenings ago, Colter got a haircut. While I was cleaning off the clippers, he headed to the dirt pile. Bedtime was only moments away, but I just couldn't interrupt him, he was so happy. I just sat back and enjoyed the show. And took a zillion photos so you can too.

Who cares how dirty he gets on bath night?
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