Vac-ay Week!

I live for a nice long vacation!  Last week, I had just that.

My brother came home from Indiana for the week, and we all (my family & guests) spent most of the time down on the Island.

The weekend started out a little gloomy, but by Monday the weather cleared up and we couldn’t have asked for more perfect beach days.

We tanned, relaxed, swam, boogie-boarded, napped, ate, played cards, played volleyball, fished, ate, napped, laughed, ate and napped.

Here are a few pictures from our beach time:

Goofy Mr. Will


Fishing for dinner!

 

The Beach Cottage! Still standing strong after all of these years.


My sweet baby boy!Uncle Bopple and Will.


Intense volleyball matches!

Will and I headed home from the beach on Thursday.  We had some errands to run and things to take care of.

Friday was filled with errands – Target, Chic-a-lay, Joanne Fabrics, Aunt Paula’s salon for Will’s haircut appointment, a stop by the office, meeting Wes, TJ Maxx, and lastly a 2 hour trip to Publix. 

Saturday morning, I headed to Jacksonville to attend the Britney Spears Femme Fatale concert.  It was amazing, and I actually ended up meeting Larry Rudolph (Britney’s manager, who has not only turned her career completely around, but also manages a ton of other celebrities).  I had the nicest conversation with him, and it goes on record that he is the only famous person I’ve ever spoken to.

Sunday morning, I headed home to my guys and prepared things for the week.

Will starts his pre-school summer camp on Monday, and I will be sure to post to let you know how all of that goes.  I’m a little nervous. 

What if he freaks out when I try to leave?!

I guess only time will tell.

For now, I need to finish up this post…The Entourage final season starts tonight…actually in 15 minutes.  It is the perfect ending to my week off.

-EmJ

Fun With Food

We will be taking a vacation soon and heading for one of my favorite places on earth…St. George Island.

My brother, AKA Uncle Bopple, is coming home from Indiana for a week to go to the beach with the fam.  This trip will be the first time in a really long time that my whole family is all together again. I couldn’t be more excited!

We really don’t know how Bopple, became Bopple.  When Will was younger, for whatever reason Thomas came out as Bopple.  So we had Uncle Bopple and Bopple the Train.  Since, he has learned to call Bopple the Train, Thomas the Train, but Uncle Bopple has stuck and it is probably all he’ll ever know. 

Let me get on with it…

I have a few blogs I read on a regular basis, and one of them is The Homemade Parade.  Randi, the author of The Homemade Parade is amazing at what she does.  She recently started a second blog, Flying High Fun for Kids where she features fun and educational activities for children.  Her ideas are inventive, fresh,  educational and just-plain-adorable!!  I highly suggest you check out both of her blogs when you can.

At the beginning of July, Randi wrote a post titled, Summer School By The Sea.  At the end of her post she mentioned an Octopus and Sea Shell Supper.  Curious, I had to follow the link to find out more.  I’m so glad I did!

Randi made shells and cheese macaroni, strategically cut a hotdog to resemble an octopus, and gently placed it on top of the “shells.”  It was the cutest beach-themed supper I’d ever seen.

Directions, here.   (Scroll towards the bottom for Octopus and Sea Shell Supper, however, but be sure to check out all of the recipes listed.)

Low and behold, last weekend I was debating on what to make Will for lunch.  Then it hit me!  I would start putting Will in the beach-y mood by making him “Octopus and Sea Shell Supper.”

I can’t tell you how thrilled he was, and how excited he got.

He even announced to me every time he took a bite of his octopus. 

“I’m eating one of his legs, Mama.”

Giggle, giggle.  “I just ate his head.”

“I’m going to eat 2 legs now!”

It was so cute to watch his face light up and get excited.  It was also fun because we snuck in a little sea creature/counting lesson and he didn’t even know it.

He now reminds at least twice a week that octopus have 8 “legs.” 

I’ve tried to tell him they are tentacles, but to an almost-three-year old, ‘legs’ are all he wants to hear.

Here is a picture of my little beach bum and his Octopus and Sea Shell Supper.

Here’s a shot of our Octo-dog and Shells.

Lastly, here’s a cute picture of my little man.

Catch you on the flip side,

-EmJ

26?

A few days ago in my post  And I Proudly Stand Up, I mentioned something about “all 26 of us.”

Most of you know we are a family of 3, so I’m sure the extra 23 count is still leaving you to wonder.

Well, never fret…Here’s the explanation:

We now proudly call ourselves, farmers. 

It’s more like the funny farm around here, but never-the-less we are officially farmers.

In one weeks time, we went from being a family of 3 with 2 dogs,  to a family of 3 with 2 dogs, 11 hens, 2 roosters, and 8 goats.

I know the phrase, “what were you thinking” probably comes to mind. 

Don’t be ashamed, Wes and I nervously laugh and think the same thing on a daily basis.

Truth is, we don’t really know much, if anything, about farming or raising farm animals. 

But we’ll learn.  And we will learn quickly!

One might wonder how this whole farming thing all came about…especially, for two city raised adults with no real farming experience what-so-ever.

Here’s how this all got started:

The Chickens

My husband has a favorite hobby of searching Craigslist at every change he gets.  He found the chickens listed one day online and decided to pull the trigger.

In all fairness, I had been saying I wanted to get a FEW chickens so we could have fresh eggs.  I had mentioned to him that I’d heard there really wasn’t much to owning chickens besides keeping them fed, watered and giving them shelter.  I was sure it wouldn’t be a big deal to take care of them.

Well…What baby wants, baby gets!

By me making a simple statement that I wanted to get a FEW chickens to have farm fresh eggs, lead my wonderful husband to purchase, not 2 chickens, not 3 chickens, but a whole freaking flock of chickens!

I mean, 13 chickens!?! 

Why does it make me a little nervous that they out number us?

The Goats

The goats we’ve actually had/shared for a while.  Wes did a fence job for someone who had more goats than they knew what to do with.  So we somehow acquired 3 of them.  Until recently, the goats were living in our neighbors pasture because our pasture fencing wasn’t complete.

The goats have been doing what they do best; eating everything in sight and pro-creating.  After twins, triplets, a death and a single baby, there are now 8 goats total.  Five more goats than we ever planned on having.

Now that Wes has completed our pasture fencing the goats have a job on our farm; to clear approximately 2 acres of wooded pasture. Our plan is to eventually have a big open pasture, so that my dream of having horses on our farm can come true.

Horseback riding is one of the things I miss most.  It was such a fun hobby growing up, and I’d truly love to get back into it.

So call us crazy…I would, and do!  But we’ve got our little farm going out here and it has been quite the comical project.

Meet some of the newest members of our farm family:

Two Thumbs Up

Last Saturday, Wes and I decided to finally make good on a promise we made to Will.

For the past 3 or 4 weeks we’ve been promising him that since he had been accident free (with potty-training), that we would take him to see the new Cars movie in the BIG theater.

We somehow always managed to emphasise that it was a BIG theater.  So whenever he would ask us when we were going to see the movie, he’d make sure to remind us that it had to be at the BIG theater. 

Will had never been to a movie before, at least not at the BIG theater.  We’ve watched plenty on movies here at the house, but the BIG theater is kind of a BIG deal…at least to an almost 3 year old.

We set off mid morning for a quick-lunch and to see the motion picture.

Will got to choose the lunch spot, so  naturally, we set our course for Chic-a-lay. 

That is not a typo; Will has renamed Chic-fil-a.  It is now known in our house as, Chic-a-lay.  Don’t try to tell him otherwise, because he will assure you it is, Chic-a-lay.

After we finished lunch, our next stop was the BIG theater.  We arrived in just enough time and bought tickets for our 12:15 pm showing of Cars 2. 

Did you know that children under the age of 3 are free at the movies?  SCORE!

The nerd that I am, I made sure to take along my camera. 

I mean, it WAS his first movie experience.

Here’s my 2 dudes walking up to get tickets for Will’s first ever BIG theater movie.

What a face from that little stinker.

Before taking our seats, I took Will for a pre-movie potty break and Wes headed for the snack counter to get pop-corn and candy.

Aside from not letting us forget about out promise of taking him to see Cars 2 in the BIG theater, Will also reminded us frequently that we promised him pop-corn and candy to enjoy during our movie outing.

After dropping $275 on popcorn and candy at the refreshment stand, we headed in to find some seats.

I’m obviously exaggerating slightly on the cost of movie snacks, but can anyone believe what they charge for food at a movie theater!?  Seriously, $5 for a small bottle of water!  I could get a whole case of water bottles for that!

We found some good seats on the top row, and got comfy.  When the previews began Will’s eyes doubled in size and he got the biggest grin on his face.  Naturally, I was too busy stuffing my face with popcorn to remember to take a picture of his first reaction. 

Recreating that moment wasn’t going to happen…so I had to settle for a picture of him attentively watching previews.

Our movie experience was overall positive.  Will loved the movie.  We only had to take him out for 2 potty breaks, and there were only a couple of times when we had to tell him to pipe down.

The family sitting next to us definitely got a kick out of Will and his questions and comments.  The mother and father looked at us a few times to giggle at whatever just came out of his mouth.

Luckily, they were amused and not annoyed.

Before the movie even started his comments were, “I need some more pop-corn” and “Can I have some more M’s?”

When the movie finally began, and at the first site of Mater he said excitedly, “There’s Tow-Mater!”

He followed quickly behind with, “There’s McQueen!”

Then throughout the movie….

 “Where’d Mater go?”

 “that was funny!”

“why’d that car do that?”

But what really got to me, is when he looked up from the screen at Wes and I, gave us each a big kiss and hug and said, “I love you sooooo much.”

Suddenly, the $275 popcorn tasted better, my movie seat got more comfortable, and my heart melted like the M&M’s Will had been clenching in his hand for the past 10 minutes.

I would take him back to see another movie in a second!!  It was a great family outing, and was well deserved my our little accident free ‘Mater.

The only part of this outing that  Will didn’t seem to like was leaving.  This was due to 2 reasons.

1. Because there were games in the lobby area of the theater that he wanted to play, and

2. Because when we went outside it was so bright, and such a shock to his eyes that he could hardly see.

Naturally I had to snap a picture of the whining that took place on our way out.  Can someone say, NAP-TIME!!

Two thumbs up,

-EmJ

Sunlight, Water and Blisters…and the hidden benefits

This year, we harvested a garden. 

Wait.

Does, “harvested a garden” make sense?

Let me start over.

This year we planted a garden.

There, that’s much better.

We live on 6 acres, so we have plenty of space for a nice size garden.  Plus, the idea of planting and eating our own produce sounded like such a healthy, economical idea. 

Little did I know, that getting into the gardening business would actually have more benefit for our family than just putting wholesome food onto the table.

Yes, the vegetables we pick from our garden are nutritional and delicious, but more importantly, the time we spend as a family out in the garden is irreplaceable.   

We use the garden as a valuable educational tool for Will – teaching him about how things grow and the importance of sunlight and water.  What’s best is that he gets to see it all unfold first hand. 

His excitement in seeing the tomatoes turn from green to red, or the cantalope getting bigger by the day is infectious.  His enthusiasm for something so simple, brings utter joy to my heart and really puts everything into perspective.

Our garden work has become a regular part of our family routine, and it is a part of our day that I enjoy the most.

Our typical weekday garden routine goes something like this:

6:00 PM  –  Get home from work and prepare dinner while the munchkin plays.

6:45 PM  –  Eat dinner.

7:00 PM  – Toss the dirty dishes in the sink and abandon them.  Head into the garage to put on our boots.

Will usually hops in his Gator so he can put everything we pick from the garden in the back and drive it back up to the house.  It is one of his official chores.

Side Note: If you garden, or do anything outdoors frequently, I HIGHLY recommend Hunter Wellies.  My neighbors that occasionally stop by, and I mean OCCASIONALLY since we’re all spread pretty far apart and don’t talk to each other much, probably think it is the only pair of shoes I own.  Seems like every time one of them stops by, I’m in my Hunter boots.  I’m also usually wearing a very heinous outfit to go along with them – which is kind of embarrassing.  But no ones outdoor, ruin-able clothes are cute, right?  Anyway, Google them, find a good deal on them (good luck…they’re kinda pricy!), and hit the purchase button.  Money well spent, I promise.

Most weeknights, we spend a good 40 – 60 minutes in the garden after dinner; pulling weeds, picking produce, watering plants, and conversing.  Most of the time the conversation is regarding what’s growing, what’s not, what’s being eaten by our garden predators (stupid deer!), what happened that day at work, etc.

By around 8 PM we are over the garden. We’ve picked what we could, pulled the weeds we cared to, and witnessed one little boy become completely covered, head-to-toe in dirt.   

That same little boy, the one covered in dirt, has also now had a second meal consisting of sugar snap peas and cherry tomatoes that he’s picked right from the vine.  It’s healthy and we use no pesticides, so we don’t really mind. 

I swear that kid is a bottomless pit!

After we’re done with our garden work, we usually head up to the house for bath time, bed-time stories, and kitchen scrubbing.

Here’s some things we planted this year in our garden:

Cantelope:

Tomato (all shapes and types):  …I am so annoyed this pic is sideways.

Peppers:

Ocra:

White And Purple eggplant:

another sideways pic; I’m too lazy to fix them. It is kind of a process.

Collards:

Also in our garden, but not pictured:

  • watermelon
  • Strawberries
  • red potatoes
  • squash
  • cucumber
  • Romaine Lettuce and
  • sugar-snap peas

I feel like I’m missing some things…but you get the picture. 

Now, if we can just keep everything alive and protect it from the deer who like to feast upon our hard work at every chance they get!  

Signing off to mend my garden induced blisters,

-EmJ

Really?!

My husband = wonderful.

Seriously, he is a wonderful father, a great husband, an extremely hard worker and the love of my life.

I even think he’s hot.  Still.  After 100 years of dating and 4 years of marriage, I STILL think my husband is a good-looking, hot individual.

See…

I even know that my husband is intelligent.  The triple threat; Good looking, smart, great father, and a hard worker! 

(Is that 4 things?…does that make him a quad-thread?) 

Anyway…

Even triple threats sometimes have lapses in judgement.  I get it.  I too, sometimes bring a little less than my A game. 

It’s ok.  It happens, right?

Well, the following story happened.  And as I think my triple-threat is somewhat embarrassed by the events that I am about to unfold to you; I just can’t resist sharing. 

So here goes…

Friday night, the Friday night before my big test, I was confined to the office studying my brains out. 

My Triple-Threat, was in charge of the munchkin.  The potty-training munchkin, who is finishing up week 1 of strictly big-boy underwear.

As I am studying, I hear the TV on…re-runs of NCIS (my triple threat’s favorite).  I also hear my ipad blaring a sight-word spelling game, then Dora, then Talking Tom Cat, then Dora, then Wonderpets, then Dora. 

My munchkin switches between apps about every 3 minutes.  His attention span allows for concentration on one thing for approximately 3 minutes and then it is onto the next.

At about 9PM sharp, I hear my Triple Threat tell our munchkin that it is bath time and I hear the movement of removing himself from the couch begin.  I hear him get up from the couch and make his way to our munchkin’s bathroom, to presumably, start the bath water.

This is where it gets interesting.

The next spoken words I hear, are, “WILL!  Did you poop in your big boys?!”

We call Will’s big boy underwear, “big-boys.”  It’s just our thing.

Then I hear, “ohhhh, Will.  Come here.  Come here right now!”

Yes, folks.  I couldn’t make this up if I tried.

Apparently, my triple threat walked into our munchkins bathroom, to discover that he:

  1. had a Number Two accident 
  2. removed his soiled underwear
  3.  left the, aforementioned soiled underwear on the floor in his bathroom, and then
  4. continued out to the living room, naked, where my triple threat was relaxing and watching his favorite TV show, and played with MY ipad for approximately 20 minutes.

It wasn’t until bath-time, that this whole debacle was realized.

As I heard this unfold, I couldn’t help but to feel my face get red with anger.

I mean, is Abby and the NCIS gang all that interesting, that you don’t realize your only child has dropped a deuce in his pants, removed them, and then shown back up in the living room, dirty-bottomed, and sans underwear?!

I love you, honey!  But, REALLY?!

-EmJ