Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Happy List ~ Our Garden's Products Plus A Recipe


This year we have tried a lot of new things in our gardens and the weather has been so different for Summer weather here in Iowa.  It has been a much cooler Summer, this and all the rain earlier in the Spring has hurt our tomato plants.  We did not get as many tomatoes as last year not even close to the normal amount in years past, so our canning was less.  The bright spot we were able to do the tomato canning in one day.

 29 Pints of Pasta, 12 Pints of Medium Salsa, and
12 Pints of Hot Salsa.

Of course we did have fresh tomatoes for dishes and enjoyed them as well as some fried green tomatoes.
This is our first year for spaghetti squash.  The plant was thriving.  This was the last picture I took of the plant while it was healthy.  The plant ended up taking the entire space and began to intrude into the beans on the left.  Problem with squash plants is Squash Bore bugs like them too and they typically find them and kill them off.   However we were lucky to have at least 13 nice spaghetti squash before the plant became infected and died.  Look at all those babies we have in storage.  I tried a new recipe with one for a meal a couple of weekends ago.  I adapted it from a recipe I found on Pinterest and basically made up my one.  It was delicious and the recipe will be posted at the end of this post.
We had yellow summer squash coming out of the wood work.  Todd was bringing home about a half a dozen to a dozen every time he went to the garden, which was about two or three times a week for nearly a month.  It is slowing down.  We have enjoyed adding them to stir fry, crock pot meals, salads, and side dishes.  I am going to try making noodles with them and our zucchini.  Our zucchini plant did not take at first so we had start over, the second planting was wonderful.
Our first year for turnips.  I never did find a great recipe for them.  Todd just ate them like radishes and we had a bumper crop of radishes as usual.
Our peppers did not fair as well.  I think it was too cool for them.  We only had two bell peppers, the rest were stolen as well.  We tried Yellow Roma Tomatoes this year as well.  We are not very impressed with them, they were very tiny.
Our eggplant did a great job.  This is a picture of our first one.  One of our favorite Summer garden recipe is Eggplant Parmesan. 

Our first planting of carrots have been harvested and we ended up having six cups of carrots to freeze for dishes at a later date.  We also used some in meals and snacks.  We have a second planting still growing.  Our carrots turned out great this year.
Green beans and yellow waxed beans thrived.  They started to produce early this year.  I am not sure if it is the cooler weather or what but we started to get beans early July which is not typical.  We have enjoyed eating them with many meals but we also have frozen some to use later.

 
This is not even the beginning of our freezing for the beans.
We are eating a lot of beans too. 

Sugar snap peas, we did not freeze any of these.  We originally planned on having two crops, a Spring crop and a Fall crop and planned on freezing our Fall crop, however the weather has been cool and our Spring crop is just now starting to die and it is too late to plant a new crop in it's place.  We have had a lot of sugar snap peas and have enjoyed them in many dishes.  My favorite is one of our side dishes where I cook the peas with bacon and balsamic vinegar.  You can find the recipe in my recipe tab near the top.
 
This was partial one harvest.  They are not prepped for freezing,
just ready to store in the refrigerator.
Green beans, cherry tomatoes, cabbage, kohlrabi, carrots, sugar snap peas, 
broccoli, and a small secondary shoot of cauliflower. 

We had cauliflower for the first time.  I think we definitely will do this again.  The cabbage was a success again.  Our new greens were successful as well except for the kale.  Todd wanted to start a Fall crop of these but he was not successful with finding seeds.
Our onions was very successful!  I am hoping we will be able to store them through out the Winter.  I still have to freeze some of them.  I think we have close to three dozen onions of a variety size yellow onions and white onions.  The white onions will be the onions we freeze because they will not keep like the yellow onions.

Over all, our gardens have done well this year and we are happy about it. Now for the recipe.  The person I adapted the recipe from adapted her's from someone else and the original person did not have a name for the sauce so she called her OMG sauce.  Her recipe would have been too spicy for my stomach, so I adapted it.  I enjoy spicy but my stomach does not.  My adaptation was amazing.  I tried this new dish and Ethan's new girlfriend had dinner with us for the first time.  I know a pretty gutsy move but it was a hit.  I asked everyone an idea on what to name the sauce since there is no name.  The decision was Wowzer.

Spaghetti Squash and Wowzer Sauce
Ingredients:
  • 1 large spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 tablespoon Southwestern Mustard
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • salt, to taste
  • 3-4 cups spinach
  • 2 cups broccoli, cut into florets
       Wowzer Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1.5 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Southwestern Mustard
  • ½ tablespoon raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • salt, to taste
Directions:
  1. Take a knife and poke holes into the spaghetti squash and place in the microwave on a microwave safe dish for 10 minutes.  If the squash is not soft to touch cook an additional 2 minutes until it is soft to the touch.
  2.  Remove the seeds and use a fork to remove the threads and place in a large bowl.
  3. In a large pan add ground turkey along with 1 tablespoons of the Southwestern Mustard and 1 tablespoon soy sauce and cook over medium-high heat. Break up turkey into small pieces and cook until completely cooked through. Place ground turkey in the bowl with the spaghetti squash.
  4. In the same pan with some of the fat rendered from the ground turkey, add broccoli with a bit of salt.
  5. Cook broccoli until slightly browned, then cover with a lid to help steam. Once broccoli has steamed, add spinach and a bit more salt on top of broccoli and cover to help steam until spinach is cooked through and soft.
  6. Add turkey and spaghetti squash to pan, mix it all together and keep on low to keep warm.
  7. Whisk all ingredients for the sauce together.
  8. Pour sauce onto spaghetti squash mixture and mix together until completely coated.
Enjoy!

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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Halloween Party


Through Art@Home I have followed A Fanciful Twist.  She host a couple of parties during the year I thought would be simply fun to try to participate.  I really wanted to participate in the Mad Hatter Tea Party but my life was way too stressful and busy I did not have the time to join in.  The second party she host is a Halloween Party.  I only hope I am able to pull this off.  Ricki Jill makes it look so fun.  I know it is going to be a lot of work, but I cannot wait to see what I come up with.  I do not have any fancy tea sets but we will see what I come up with.

http://afancifultwist.typepad.com/.a/6a00d83451d99869e201b8d06b8d3e970c-pi

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Sunday's Song ~ Forever Young

My oldest is hurting right now.  This song is for my oldest.  It has been my song to him since he was born.  I wish I could protect his heart.  Enjoy!

 "Forever Young"

May the good Lord be with you
Down every road you roam
And may sunshine and happiness
surround you when you're far from home
And may you grow to be proud
Dignified and true
And do unto others
As you'd have done to you
Be courageous and be brave
And in my heart you'll always stay
Forever Young, Forever Young
Forever Young, Forever Young

May good fortune be with you
May your guiding light be strong
Build a stairway to heaven
with a prince or a vagabond

And may you never love in vain
and in my heart you will remain
Forever Young, Forever Young
Forever Young, Forever Young
Forever Young
Forever Young

And when you finally fly away
I'll be hoping that I served you well
For all the wisdom of a lifetime
No one can ever tell

But whatever road you choose
I'm right behind you, win or lose
Forever Young, Forever Young
Forever Young ,Forever Young
Forever Young, Forever Young
For, Forever Young, Forever Young

I will be linking up to Miss Angie's weekly party as well.

Musical Mondays at My So-Called Chaos></a>

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Saturday, September 27, 2014

Wilson's Orchard 2014 Visit


Last year we went to Wilson's Orchard for the first time.  You can read about it here if you wish.
A picture from last year .
We remembered how much Taj loved it and we enjoyed it as well, so we thought it would be fun once more this fall to go and visit the orchard again. This time Ethan and his girlfriend Maddy joined us this year.  Noah refused to go and Matthew, Joshua, and Emily had to work.

Taj did exactly what we thought and ran off through the field. He was so funny running through the pumpkin patch.  The boy ran and ran, he weaved to the left and then to the right and when made it to the end he turned and looked at us and yelled, "I ran through it."
 
We finally made it to the patches where they had apples ready for picking.  Only problem was a lot of the trees were picked over because the week prior there was the "Song of September Festival" (a type of apple I found out.)
Taj has a special relationship with his uncles and they enjoy playing with him.  Ethan and Taj love playing with one another.  I love the fact he still has fun with him in front of his girlfriend.
 
Let me introduce you to Maddy.  She is Ethan's first girlfriend where he asked out.  His previous girlfriends beat him to the question.  I like her, she seems to be a sweet girl and a good influence on him.  She takes school seriously and is a year older than he is.  She is attending the University of Iowa and is part of the marching band.  They looks so cute together.
Ethan and Maddy were the first to find a decent apple.  I loved how excited everyone was when we found a decent apple.
 
 He was so proud he found the first apple.  It did not matter how small it was, he was proud of his accomplishment.  I just love this kid.
After Ethan and Maddy found the first one, it was jackpot.  We found a row where others must have missed the week prior.
 I love this photo above.  Grandson and Grandpa picking apples with one another.
Taj kept running ahead and then laying in the grass.  This little boy cracks me up.
 
Taj found a stick.  He is so into sticks lately.  He could have sat there for hours digging if we would have let him. 
On our way back we stopped at the pumpkin patch and Taj found a "Taj pumpkin", of course his Nana and Papa just had to buy it for him.
Our haul from an enjoyable afternoon at the orchard.  We wanted just enough apples to enjoy through out the week because Taj and his daycare will be going on a field trip to the orchard this Tuesday and Papa (Todd) will be able to join him.  Lucky Ducky.
On our way back to the store to pay for our pickings and purchase other yummy items, such as Wilson's Apple Cider, Apple Slushy (The very best ever!!!), apple donuts, and Ethan, Maddy, Kera, and Taj had their famous apple turnovers as well, I had to take pictures of everyone with the Wilson's Orchard sign.
 After picking up everything in the general store, Ethan, Maddy, Todd, and Taj went on a tractor ride.
Kera and I enjoyed the beauty.  (Okay Kera was enjoying a couple of turnovers and I was enjoying the breeze and slushy.)
 
 
Last year I had planned to pick up enough apples to make apple sauce and apple butter again this year, but with the new job and all the Noah drama, just enjoying time works this year.  I am hoping to make this an annual tradition with our children and grandson.  Next year, I hope the other three will be able to make it as well.
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Friday, September 26, 2014

Friday Confessional ~ Random Style


Well, well... Look at here... It is Friday too!!!!



It is Friday and you all know what that means?  Yep you guessed it, time to fess up.  Come join the fun over at Aubrey's High-Heeled Love.  She host this little party every Friday. 

I confess...

Sunday we had fun.  We went to Wislon's orchard.  I will post about it tomorrow but here is a sneak peak.


I confess...

Sunday I also did not have fun when my dryer broke.  How awful!  I have been without one until last night.  The laundry has piled up too!  We had hoped it was just the belt but nope the motor.  Now I have a new dryer and I LOVE it!  Nothing fancy but it works and I can dry everything in one dry cycle.  No more two drying cycles or three in the dead of the Winter.  Laundry time will definitely be faster.

I confess...

Tuesday when I went to work, we had nearly 2-3 inches of water sitting in the middle of the garage.  I had to walk through it to get into my car.  I then called my husband, who had the day off and tell him about the water.  We were afraid it was the water heater but nope.  The pipes were clogged and we had to have a sewer guy come out and clean the pipes.  It is not a permanent fix.  It appears our sewer pipe has some how worked itself where it is not aligned with one another, so we had to change our toilet paper and all until we can have someone dig it up and fix it. 

I confess...

It has been an expensive week.

I confess..

TODAY IS MY LAST DAY WORKING FOR THE COMPANY I CURRENTLY AM WORKING FOR.  I am going to miss some wonderful people but I am so excited for my new job come Monday!

I confess...

I am loving the Fall weather.

I confess...

No changes with the family yet.  

What do you have to confess about?

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

My Family Is Broken

My children are my world!  Each one brings me something different.  Each one brings me frustration the others have not, however each one of us make up my family.  Family I love.  I never planned my last two children but they are definitely gifts just as much as the two I did plan.  I know as a parent you always want your child to have more than you did.  I came from a broken family and wanted to be united for my children.  Early years, although their Father was abusive, the boys and I were close.  They were close to one another.  Teen years come and each one has their own set of challenges when learning how to deal with their hormones and wanting their freedom to spread their wings.  As a parent it is also hard to set them free sometimes.  Those wings may be damaged and not as strong as the child may think.  I know I have made mistakes, but I try to learn from my mistakes.  I take everything as a lesson to learn, sometimes I grow and sometimes I wear egg on my face.  I am not perfect but I do love them with all of my heart.  I truly believe I am a good Mother.

The problem I am seeing from my oldest child to my youngest child (only a nine and a half span) is the times have changed in just the gap from the time my first born was a teenager to now with my last child.  Children now feel they do not have to listen to their parents.  Okay, let me re-word this, SOME children think this.  I think society has some input on this.  Even now, you hear debates about how children should not be spanked or disciplined with punishment of such.  This post is not about that but is some ways, these debates just encourage the children who have problems even more.  The people debating all of this is not looking at the flip side...What happens to the parent when the child absolutely refuses to obey?  They have no respect to boundaries.  They feel they have no consequences for their actions because society tells them they have rights and should be able to express their views too.  Now, by no means am I saying it should be the day when children should be seen and not heard.  They do have valuable opinions and views but we are in a society where a parent is afraid to discipline due to fear of abuse charges.  Seriously, there has to be a happy medium.
My life has been such a roller coaster.  I have dealt with depression myself from time to time.  My oldest had depression and was on a path of self destruction.  My move to Iowa City saved him and was exactly what he needed.  His issues were totally different than my youngest.  Noah is way out of control. I have been reflecting back and Noah has always thought he could do whatever he wanted.  I thought it was because he was the baby of the family and his brothers always gave in.  I also thought it was because his father would make promises and never follow through, he basically abandoned him, even Noah has accused him of that.  Noah not respecting authority and consequences started young and simple he would sneak and get up to watch television every time I put him to bed.  He never showed remorse when he did something wrong.  He does know right from wrong and when he sees his brothers be disrespectful or out of line he does not have any problems at all speaking up to them.  He has watched his brothers test their boundaries when they were at this age and see they were disciplined as well, grounding and things being taken away.  He always commented how he was never going to act that way.  The older Noah has gotten the more he believes he has total say over his life, he feels no one has authority of him.  Noah can be so kind hearted to some, like Taj he has a sweet spot and some friends.  I just wished Noah would see and respect all of his family members.  His brothers are really trying to help him.  Ethan and he fight off and on, as any most sibling do.  Two teenagers under the same roof, "y" chromosomes trying to show who is superior.  One will be rotten to the other and then automatically the other thinks of something to retaliate that was until May when Noah tried to hang himself.  Ethan backed off a lot. He still is a little turd to him but he also tries to show Noah he is there for him, but Noah refuses to see it.  Ethan will give him advice but Noah constantly tells him off and he has no right to give him advice. Ethan has matured a lot.  Ethan has told me a few times he does not know how I do what I do for Noah.  I just looked at him and told him, "I love him and because I am his Mother.  I do not have a choice.  I cannot give up on him."
His brother Matthew, my oldest has been his "go to person" his safe zone.  Matthew keeps getting pushed and pushed as well because it does not matter who tells Noah what he should do or advice him on how to make it better, Noah does not listen.  Noah keeps pushing those who love him and care for him away and Noah states he is fine with it, although I know it is just a front.  I see the pain in his eyes when he tells me how this friend or that friend no longer likes him.  My heart aches for him but he is making this all happen to himself.  I wish he would just open his eyes and see this.  Joshua has been there as well, but has his own issues and is unreliable from time to time. Noah has truly broken my heart.  I never thought I would have a child who would want to cause harm to me, a family member, or him self.  He does not see how easy he really has it and how loved he really is.  We all have chores in the house we are responsible for.  The boys do not have a lot.  They both have two nights a week they are responsible for the dishes.  They take turns with taking the trash out.  They mow the yard and occasionally help remove snow.  They work on the recycles.  They take turns on who cleans the main bathroom and the small bathroom on the first floor every two weeks.  That's it, oh and I expect them to do their school work, but if you ask Noah, he would say I expect the world from them.  Lately when I ask him to do what he is supposed to it is a NO!  He calls me names I would not even have thought to speak to my parents.  He digs deep to try to hurt my like throwing up how horrible my father was or how he would not approve of me.  I know what Noah is doing.  I do not let him see how he is hurting me, but it is killing me inside.  I love this child but I do not know how I can forgive him for his actions any more.  He is definitely crossing the line in more than one way a very unhealthy way.
Last week we had to involve the police.  This person he is being catfished by, this person and this person's friend are the person who has encouraged the destructive behavior my son has, stated she was going to kill herself once more.  She is the main contributor when Noah will act up.  Noah has been grounded from the computer until his grades are up.  He asked to go to a friend's house to pick up his notebook, I told him no I can pick it up or later when his friend is home I can take him to get it.  Noah disobeyed and went to the house to get it.  When confronted it was responded that he does not give a shit what I say, he does not respect me he will do whatever he wants.  I took his phone privileges at that time.  I kept going to his room to make sure he was doing his homework but all I say was he was listen to what I thought was his Ipod, later I found out it was a smart phone and Noah admitted that was what he went to his friend's house to get and he and this so-called person was in a fight and now she is going to kill herself in 24 hours unless someone can change her mind.  I told him I wanted the phone.  I was very surprised he handed it to me.  He asked me if I could charge it for his friend and I told him no, not until his homework is done.  Noah did not finish his homework until it was time for me to go to work the next day.  I told him I did not want to see the phone again in my house.  Next day is when the nightmare happened.  It is the day I realized my family is broken.  We had Taj that night after day care and Noah did indeed bring the phone home again.  I kept telling him to give me the phone and Taj would stand in front of me and tell me to be nice to Noah.  I was not yelling but I was firm.  I would guide Taj out of the room and tell him to please leave and then say it again to Noah.  This happened five times and then I realized the time was not now.  I told Noah that we can disconnect the router if he does not hand it over.  He tells me he will just run away then and he called Matthew.  He then told me Matthew was on his way over he was going to stay the night there.  I told him no, he can talk to Matthew but he needed to learn, he cannot run away every time he does not get his way.  Todd asked me if I have the phone I answered and said no.  Todd was upset and mentioned how I am just letting him carry on and have his way.  I told him not now, I will deal with it later and went to my room to call Matthew, but before I did I told Noah dinner is ready.  (My mistake.  I should have communicated with my husband first.)  While I was on the phone I suddenly heard wrestling in my kitchen.  Noah had the phone out and Todd tried to take it from him. (Mistake number two) After my pantry door was taken off the track I was able to grab the phone thinking it would end there but no, it was just the beginning of the nightmare that night.  Noah charged after Todd swinging and Todd took him down and pinned him and telling him several times as soon as he calms down he will let go of him.  During this time Taj was crying out for his Papa and Noah confused at what was going on.  I was crying out to stop it this is not worth it.  Todd was being bit several times by Noah and then kneed in the head.  Finally Todd let Noah up and Noah ran away once again.  This time with no shoes just socks.  I found him walking with a gallon of apple juice.  He refused to get into the car and only dropped the apple juice.  I let Matthew know where he was, then suddenly I saw this crazy driver turn into the parking lot and drive up on the sidewalk. It scared the crap out of me and Noah.  Noah jumped trying to get out of the way.  It was Matthew, he jumped out of his car yelling at him to get in and Noah said no and then Matthew tackled the kid down.  (Mistake number three: Matthew will not be his safety zone any longer.)  I could not believe what I just saw happen.  People came after Matthew to rescue Noah and Noah ran off, now without a jacket too.  Prior to finding Noah I stopped at his friend's house and shared what was going on and asked for his Mom to call me if he stopped over.  We went looking for Noah but could not find him.  I went back home sick. Sick to my stomach.  After Kera left with Taj about 9 pm we went looking once again for Noah.  I received a call from that mom telling me Noah had come and gone.  I stopped at her house again wanting to know if she gave him shoes or a jacket.  No, he refused.  I told her I was going to have to get the police involved.  11 pm now, and we call the police, sad thing is that means Todd has to call work.  We have an officer stop over.  I told him his past, what happened. and what caused him to flip out this time.  I also told him what he said when I found him that he planned on stabbing Todd when he sees him next.  As soon as the police officer left I received a all from the principal of the high school  He told me Noah was caught trying to break into the school to spend the night.  They called the police because Noah told him what happened and he was not safe at home.  I called the police officer who left and both our officer and the one called to the school brought Noah home.  The other officer heard what happened from us.  We never showed the mark huge mark from Noah's bite or he would have been taken to the juvenile home.  They asked if I wanted Noah to stay home or go to the hospital for an evaluation.  I told them what Noah said about the knife, the other officer said he took a small knife from Noah.  The mother of his friend gave it to him.  (What adult would give a knife to a child who is mentally unstable?  If you think they need protection, call the police.)
All said and done Noah and I was at the hospital until 2:45 am when he was released.  They and he thought it was a heat of the moment situation.  I do not know what to say or think of it all.  We ended up buying a lock for our bedroom closet and lock everything dangerous in our closet and hide the key since there is only one key.  Kera told us that Taj would not be able to be here when Noah is here.  I was surprised, yet happy to hear what Todd told her only two hours after being bit my Noah.  He told her this is Noah's home, he is going to be here.  As I said before, I think something is wrong with Noah more than depression.  His therapist is trying to work with the psychiatrist who we do not see until October 16th and assess him further. I believe my son is one step closer to being placed in residential.  I just want him to be healthy again.  This has to be more than depression!  The biggest mistake of all of this was on Noah, he has to own his mistakes and follow the rules, he has to come to realization getting help is not when it is getting his way.  Noah has hard feelings towards everyone.  Two of my other children have hard feelings on him.  My husband is at his wits end but also wants to support Noah.  The girls are very concerned.  Poor Taj is so confused.  My family is broken and all I want to do is fix it.  Noah has given some moments I see my old Noah, life is about holding onto your good memories and looking for one moment to give hope that any dream is possible.  I cannot give up on him but I have to watch out and protect my other family members.  I am going to hope my dream is possible we will be united as a family again.

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