Mother's Day 2013


Sunday was a fun day, part of a fun weekend really! The majority of the weekend was spent doing two things: walking & looking at a HUGE neighborhood garage sale in the town next to ours with various friends and family. The other part was spent changing clothes due to the extreme weather changes constantly going on around here!
Here are the kids last week on Tuesday & Wednesday:

Then here we are at T-ball on Thursday evening! Yep, Matt has his winter coat on and two fleece blankets on over that also requiring hot chocolate while sister played with her winter coat on under her team t-shirt.

Friday morning I was invited to a Mother’s Day tea for Haley’s kindergarten class. It was such a great hour with my daughter and I am so thankful to her teacher for putting the whole thing on despite being out of the classroom lately to be with her family. It was something I will never forget! Each child welcomed their mom at the door individually and brought us to the tea station and then we were seated at our special spot. Here was mine & you can bet I’ll be keeping this place mat for a long time!



Then the kids sang 4 songs for us, of course I was crying the whole time! So embarrassing and a good reminder NOT to wear any makeup to the Kindergarten graduation next month!
The songs were: “M-O-T-H-E-R”, “Happy Mother’s Day”, “I Love You Mommy” and “Picture Box”.

Next we had a “Mommy and Me Moment” which was really a question and answer game with M&M candies. Depending on the color you picked you would ask each other questions. Now normal questions would have been fine and even fun but when she looks at me (already emotional) and says “Blue is…Where do you see me in 10 years?” or “Green is…Name 3 reasons why you love me.” Well, that just isn’t fair. Who can start thinking about her girl in 11th grade at that moment?? I skipped ahead to “Brown – hum a tune and see if I can guess it” and we just ate the candy! We did agree on “Orange – If you could go anywhere with me where would it be?” Disney World!

Later that afternoon it was warm again and I hit up the neighborhood sale with my friend Charlotte and our boys. We ran into the “plant lady” who is a master gardener and has a garage/driveway/backyard full of plants she has grown to buy. Meanwhile, her husband is just serving ice cream to all the kids who are bored out of their minds looking at plants: good sales plan!

Then most of Saturday I was back at the garage sale (Yep, it was that big!) with my sister and her friend from work. No ice cream was being served today…it was super windy and cold! It seemed like a dud of a year at this sale overall. Nothing too big or a deal too exciting, but I did get a chair to practice upholstery on for $4. Hopefully more to come on that in the future. Otherwise I got some family games, kids clothes and books. Oh, I did score 4 beautiful antique metal frames made in Italy. It was fun, we ate at a few of the booths, making sure to check out the egg roll house that is a yearly staple. It’s always fun to walk around chatting and looking at things to buy for cheap (pulling a wagon)!

On Sunday I woke up to heart shaped almond muffins and a new ice bucket, I have never owned one before.

Then we were blessed yet again with a great message at church. I may be biased but I was amazed that yet again this year my dad came up with a new perspective for us on Mother’s day! (You can listen to it here.) Then we went to my parents, grilled, finally got the pool opened up and went on a walk. A very nice and relaxing end to a fun weekend! Hope everyone enjoyed their mother’s day weekend as much as I did.

A plentiful harvest


Back at the start of September we had a family get together at the garden. It was a fun morning, everyone came and the kids had a lot of fun digging up carrots, potatoes and onions. We also harvested the few beets we had and green beans. I have been very excited about how much has come out of our garden. It was a rough start on my part but I am already excited to make a serious plan with my dad for next year, maybe try out some uncommon varieties! We had an abundance of yellow pear tomatoes, that was a new item this year (thanks for the idea MIL!) Everyone was involved in the harvest and the kids loved it!


Matt was curious about the big potato fork, proably wondering if he could lift it and if he should try…



Mom is queen of the beets, her pickled beets USUALLY last us through the winter. Sadly this year the crop produced…six. Bad planting on my part!

The DeBoer men love their green beans, they always had a God made snack waiting for them in the garden.


The gardeners with some of our bounty!


The bounty! We left 2 rows of carrots and 1 row of potatoes for later since we had enough for the 3 families. You know, spread out the love.

Sadly on September 14th we had a very early frost here in MN. Dad and I headed out in the evening to cover some of the pepper and tomato plants that still had promise but the rest of the garden was lost that night. It was an interesting change, just over night, it was all dead! This past weekend JH & I went over and with mom we were able to harvest all the squash and pumpkins out to get them dry and in the sun for some extra ripening. We currently have 83 squash sunning on the pool deck next to their 30 sugar pumpkin friends! I look at them with a tiny bit of pride..wow, a plant that really produced even after bouts with fungus! and with some excitement about sharing and baking with them!


A weekend victory

Obviously I’m not talking about the MN Vikings! I’m talking about yeast…I finally made something that rose! I have had trouble over the years with yeast breads/rolls and the such. It has been a hate-hate relationship, me & yeast. I have come to the point where I just steer clear of anything that requires yeast & rising. BUT, I got an itch to make cinnamon rolls for the family this last weekend. I decided to turn to the Pioneer Woman for help. I had seen her blog posts on cinnamon rolls, knew there were step by step pictures and that she is usually pretty easy to follow. It was a two day process, although it didn’t have to be. I just decided to get up Saturday morning to assemble and bake them. It was so easy and such a success, I am pretty excited about it. Are the possibilities endless? I’m not sure about that, but it’s a step in the right direction!




I’m not sure why there isn’t an actual picture of the finished product, other than my nephew Ben eating one. I will say that if you decide to try this recipe
found here: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2007/06/cinammon_rolls_/
I did half a batch and it filled 3- 9″ cake pans with rolls with a bit to spare. The full recipe makes A LOT of cinnamon rolls!

The Great Minnesota Get Together

Wednesay night we got out! Thanks to my parents, J & I were able to go with my sister and her husband (Kid-less) to the Minnesota State Fair! It turned out to be a perfect evening, free parking in a perfect local, awesome food but not too much, great company, good weather and not too many mosquitoes! We got a coupon book ahead of time and decided to “eat our way” through it, hitting the highlights of the fair. We didn’t have anything too crazy, ie: chocolate dipped jalapenos or kool-aid on a stick, just the good stuff. We decided to share everything, letting Al take the first bite each time, so we could try variety! Including drinks, we tried 19 different things in about 4 hours. We probably didn’t see all that the fair has to offer but we did walk through display or animal buildings if they were on the way to our next food location! I also got asked by a local news guy to be interviewed about my coupon book and being at the fair. He said I would “for sure” be on the news at 10pm last night, but…he lied. They used my voice for 2 seconds but none of my interview, guess I didn’t say what they were looking for! Overall it was a wonderful night out at the Great Minnesota Get Together.

Yummy cheese curds!

Gotta have the garlic fries.

Al & I shared some popcorn shrimp.


Strawberry-Rhubarb milk shake from the Dairy Barn ~ a top pick for all of us, so good!

The different area “Fair Princesses” get their faces carved out of butter each year.



White or Chocolate, they both went with white this time.

My interview.



Only one dessert, no one had much room. We all agreed next year we’d start with the sweets!


Thanks Oma & Opa, we had a great time!

Back home

We’re back home…we spent 10 days in CA and we just got in last night. There are so many pictures to share but so little time to go through them. I grabbed a few of the tops pics and here they are. We had a great time, got to meet our newest family memeber: Lainey Conner, go to the beach, the zoo and have a big family 4th Birthday party for Haley! We did so many fun things and always enjoy our time in California! I will find some time and more pictures will come….
 

 

 



Baking : Now and Then

Weekend before last was stressful but all in all, I was in heaven. Part of it probably had to do with the fact that all the food and desserts I had planned to make, came out great. But I also just had a great time back behind the decorating bag again after almost 2 years! I threw H her 4th Birthday Pool party with some girlfriends from school on Saturday morning and then I was in charge of the baby shower desserts for some dear friends on Sunday afternoon – lots of treats! Here are the results:
Haley’s part:
Strawberry cup cakes with cream cheese frosting:

And for the baby shower:
Italian Cream Cake:

(Red Velvet & White cake cupcakes with whip cream and strawberries on top – not shown!)
Iced Almond Sugar cookies:

My favorite were the rattles, I got to use some edible glitter on them that was a lot of fun!

Now for 2 past baking adventures: I got the book “What’s New Cupcake?” from my MIL at Christmas and I’ve gotten to use it 2 times so far this year. Once in Jan for JH’s 30th birthday and then in April for my sisters birthday. I think they turned out pretty well and the flowers for Jen were fairly simple. It’s a cute book with lots of different ideas, sometimes I just have to wait for a chance to use them.
Justin’s birthday, the 30th hole of the course called, Life!:

Jen’s birthday (A woman never tells her age!):

It’s so nice to be back into a bit of baking. Haley is going to have another pool party on her actual birthday so I’ve got a Minnie Mouse cake in my future!

Doughnuts


My nephew Ayden turned 6 at the end of June. I wanted to be a bit creative with his gift, not just another toy that would be left behind a week later. I remembered a “treasure box” he wanted so badly one day when we visited a craft store with him back in April so I got it and painted it for him. I thought most boys would love a box to keep their own “treasures” in. Then I thought of the real creative part of his gift…doughnut coupons!


This boy loves doughnuts more than anyone else I know. I made him a coupon for each month until his next birthday that will entitle him to a doughnut from me as long as he calls me with at least 2 hours notice. He started to ask his mom the night he got the gift if he could turn in the coupons but it was still June. Two days ago I was at the grocery and picked up his July doughnut. I called my sister and she got Ayden all excited! I told him he had to bring the coupon or it wasn’t a trade! So at Ben’s baseball game on Thursday he quickly got out the coupon when he saw us coming, I inspected the coupon for authenticity and handed over the long (not round) doughnut, no filling, chocolate icing and sprinkles. He was in heaven…for all of 60 seconds and it was gone. How many days until August he wanted to know….

Green, greener, greenest...

Our Garden on June 18:

I have a new hobby, another hobby. Not that I need one, but this one is more outdoors so that is exciting AND it involves spending time with and learning from my dad which is personally very exciting! I am helping my dad this year in his huge garden. He started the planting when I wasn’t free to help and then he left on a mission trip and a group of us (mom, Justin and I) were left to figure out and plant the remainder of the garden – reading seed envelopes and using mom’s experience. Needless to say, I’ve already learned a lot this summer about gardening!
Two things that come to mind right away: Always have the “Deep Woods Off” handy – I wore shorts one of the first evenings I went to weed and ended up with 29 bites on one leg and 21 on the other. The second thing is that the “strings” on an onion bulb for planting are the roots, they go down. We ended up with a whole row of onions that had to work extra hard to make a u-turn and grown back up out of the dirt!
It has started to work out that I go over to my parents each Tuesday evening and Justin watches the kids. Some nights my dad has meetings and other nights he joins me. Tonight we tied the pole beans up, trimmed the pumpkins that were taking over, spread grass as my mom dropped it off from the tractor and did some hoeing. The garden looks great to me and it’s amazing how proud you can be of a zucchini when you’ve put so much time, thought and sweat into it. We had our first “harvest” tonight of 12 zucchini and it was exciting!

Just some details about our garden: It has an electrical fence around it for the deer. We are growing 12 different vegis and a few different varities of some of those. I tried to plant beets (my mom cans them every year) and they need to be right on the top of the soil. I’m not sure it wasn’t my fault but either my heavy finger or the strong rain we had for 3 days after planting sowed the seeds too deep. Out of 2 rows I think we’ll end up with 10 beets if we’re lucky. My dad picked up some Hokkaido pumpkin seeds for us in Austria in May and they are going strong, these were the pumpkins we used when we lived there to make pumpkin puree for soup and desserts! We’ve even overcome a new breed of potato bug that required special treatment to kill! ~ A bug the “potato lady” at church hadn’t heard of!
Our garden tonight, July 12:

Tonight my dad commented that due to my added efforts the garden hasn’t looked this good in the last 5 years. It makes me proud but also very excited about next year when our efforts will be increased by my dad’s knowledge at planting time! He grew up on a farm and “just knows” so many things about gardening. Often saying, “my mom did it this way.” He lets me use her small hand tool and it’s fun to think we are doing the same things she did with my dad when he was a young boy, a woman I never met. Did you know you should brush the dirt off your gardening toold with a metal brush and then dip them in used car oil and drain so that they don’t rust?

A garden sure does give you lots of “thinkin’ time!”

Indeed


This Easter seemed more special, more meaningful for me this year. I felt closer to my savior and was more emotional about His sacrifice than in Easters past. I think a lot of things factored in, reading more outside literature along side my bible and attending a personal walk through the stages of the cross on Good Friday were some of them. Two other people who affected my outlook on Easter this year were my kids. As I reflected on the cost my God paid with the life of his Son, it hit home a little closer now that I am getting to know Matt as he grows. It seems a bit weird to compare the two but the sacrifice made resonated with me in a different way than before. I have a feeling as Matt gets older and I have him longer it will mean even more. On the other side is Haley, she made this Easter very fun and brought it back to the basics. She was being bombarded by Easter stories at school, church and Wednesday night church. This lead to asking a lot of questions which lead to reading bible stories constantly. It was so fun to see what she understood (and what she didn’t – see the last post on her Easter Prayer!) It was refreshing to simplify my answers to her and break it down to the basics of what Jesus did. I am already excited for next Easter with these two! He is Risen, He is Risen Indeed!

We had a breakfast and attended church at my dad’s church and then headed over to my parents for lunch with the whole family. It was a great time although we did think of our yearly walks over the hill from Haus Edelweiss to a family restaurant and missed our friends from TCM. Haley wore her Austrian durndle for Easter, it brought it all full circle!  I went a bit overboard on the easter eggs for the hunt and the 3 kids who could hunt (Matt had to nap) each found 40 eggs! Needless to say that when we got home the majority of Haley’s candy dissapeared and she hasn’t noticed yet.


Making progress!

We moved into a new home earlier this year and have been slowly chipping away at the to do list. It has constantly felt like one thing gets checked off the list and 5 more things get added to it. We sold most of our furniture and household items before we left for Europe 3 years ago and slowly replacing some the necessities has added to our “start up” time quite a bit. This weekend we had a “family work day” at our house and checked some big items off our list! We can’t say thank you enough to my parents, sister and brother-in-law for all their hard work! It was the first time that I have felt like we are getting an edge up on “the list.”

Here’s what we got done:
Garage door opener installed
Keypad put on the garage door
Mailbox put in the ground (we’ve had it in a bucket until the ground thawed!)
Painted Haley’s room! (our first painted room)
Shelves built & a closet organized
Stairs built off the back door
TP & towel holders put up
Light in Haley’s room installed

Everyone wants to help:

Oma loves to paint, the before color…same as the rest of the house:

Notice the snow behind Al that we got Friday night:

Measure twice, drill once?

My dad…he knows it all and we constantly benefit from his wisdom!

She seems to love it, the color & the new light:

Of course the list goes on but things are looking up! I can’t explain how much work got done, esp. with 4 kids playing and being entertained at the same time! It would have taken us a month of weekends to get all this done! Thank you family! Wanna plan another one?