Friday, August 30, 2013

Visitors from Colorado

Dan's brother, Pete, and his family came to South Bend for a visit a couple weeks ago.  It's fun because all of the girls are pretty close in age and then there is Henry trailing behind.  We hadn't seen them since they came for a visit last August.  Its interesting to see how all the kids have changed over the past year.  And it's always nice when cousins can spend time together and get to know each other.

I was helping to organize a baseball outing to a local Silver Hawks ball game for our church and it happened to be the Friday that Pete and the family were in town so the whole fam, all 11 of us headed to the Cove for the game.  The stadium has been renovated and greatly improved over the last couple of years and has become a wonderful outing for a family.  Friday night's game was actually sold out!  There is a splash pad and playground behind outfield, a bunch of blow up bounce houses and slides near the entrance, and of course the game.  We spent 3 hours there before the kids were ready to leave and I think Dan and I were more tired than the kids.  There are fireworks after the game that we were trying to stay for, but it was just getting too late so we had to miss.

So that was Friday night, Saturday we headed up to a farmers market in Michigan in the morning and out to dinner at Hacienda that night.  The time in between was spend visiting and playing at Dan's parents' house.  And then Sunday was spent together some more with some family pictures taken in the afternoon to round off the weekend.  I can't wait to see them.  I didn't take to many pictures of the weekend because I knew we were going to have some really great ones from the professional.  The last picture in this post is a preview from that session! :)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Ballet Camp

Earlier this month, the girls did a week long dance camp at Southold called Princess stories.  It was nice dropping them off at 9:30 each morning and not having to pick them up for 2 hours, Henry and I could knock out some errands like it was nothing.  At the end of the week, the moms and dads could come watch their little performances.  Boothe was up first with the 3-5 year old group.  Magnolia followed afterwards with the 6-9 year olds.  There is something so sweet about little girls who think they are dancing like professional ballerinas.  I probably have just as much fun watching them perform as they do taking the dance lessons.

Saturday, August 24, 2013


Every year we try a new thing or two when it comes to canning.  This year we are canning all kinds of different pie filling.  So far we have made Strawberry-Rhubarb, Cherry, and Blueberry.  I'd like to add Peach and Apple too if I have time.  The recipes we have used are really basic and simple and are below the picture if you want to try them out yourself.  The extra that didn't fit in a quart jar to be canned we have put on ice cream and it is wonderful.  I'm hoping to try some other things like crisps and cobblers with these cans of pie filling to see what works and what doesn't for next year.  I have 6-8 quart jars of each flavor so lots of filling to experiment with this winter.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie Filling

4 cups rhubarb, chopped
2 cups strawberries, sliced
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine rhubarb, strawberries and lemon juice in a saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to a boil and simmer as the fruit softens and the juices are released.  Stir often.
In a bowl, mix the sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon and pour the mixture into the hot saucepan.
Bring to a simmer and cook until the mixture has thickened.
Pour into hot, sterilized jars and water bath can for 30 minutes.

Cherry Pie Filling

4 cups pitted tart cherries
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch

  1. Place cherries into a saucepan over medium heat, and cover the pan; heat cherries until they release their juice and come to a simmer, 10 to 15 minutes. Stir often.
  2. In a bowl, mix the sugar with cornstarch and pour the mixture into the hot cherries and juice
  3. Return to low heat, bring to a simmer, and cook until the filling has thickened, about 2 minutes. 
  4. Pour into hot, sterilized quart jars and water bath can for 30 minutes.

Blueberry Pie Filling

10 cups blueberries
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cup sugar
6 T cornstarch
5 T lemon juice

In a large stockpot bring the water, sugar, corn starch and lemon juice and to a boil.
Pour in the blueberries very carefully and bring the mixture back to a boil, stirring continuously with a long spoon. Keep stirring for about 5 minutes while the berries release their juices and the mixture thickens.
Pour into hot, sterilized quart jars and water bath can for 30 minutes.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Ohio Trip

It had been a couple of years since we had visited our family in Ohio and my cousin, Steve, was planning on coming in from LA for a couple weeks, so we decided it would be the perfect time to drive over for a long weekend.  Kathy, the kids, and I rode in one car while my mom, Brooke, and her kids were in another.  It took about 5 hours with stops.  We arrived at Julie's house late Thursday evening, spent 2 days visiting, and drove home after an early lunch on Sunday.  Dan was actually in another part of Ohio that same weekend for work so it was nice to get away and not have the kids all to myself for the weekend.

We all had a fun time seeing everyone and catching up.  Magnolia became a huge fan of Foosball.  Boothe enjoyed helping Brooke take care of Palmer.  And Henry tried to wrestle with Raife.  Maybe we will visit again next summer.  For now we will look forward to seeing the Ohio crew in Indiana this winter!

Thanks, Julie, for having us, chaos and all!  I remember when we used to visit years ago and it was you who had the 3 little ones running around...

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Behind the Scenes

Condo living for the past 2 months hasn't been too bad.  We have been keeping busy and summer has seriously flown by.  It always does though.

Here are some Instagram pictures that I have posted this summer of our day to day adventures.

When we are home for a morning or afternoon, we have built a few forts and the kids will lay in them and play.
Henry discovered the corner kitchen cabinet not long after we moved in and figured out he could easily fit inside.
I think this is what remains of a fudge pop.
Henry is completely smitten with tools, preferring the actual ones, not the toys.  Probably because they actually work.  He worked on this chair for at least a half hour that day and managed to actually remove a screw.  The naked butt just adds to the cuteness of him working so intently with Dans tools.
Not having a yard of our own, we have to get creative.  One hot afternoon, the sprinklers were going in the yard across from the playground on Notre Dame's campus, so instead of the playground, we ran through the huge sprinklers!  It was so fun.
One thing not everyone can say they did this summer is have a snowball fight.  Walking home one evening from the playground, I noticed a huge pile of snow outside the ND hockey arena. So in the middle of July, outside, we had a snowball fight.  Has to be one of the most unusual things I've ever done and I bet we will never that night!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Raife is 2

Raife's birthday party this year was at Clay Township Park.  The kids could play until they were blue in the face while the adults visited in the picnic shelter next to the playground where we had dinner, cupcakes, and presents.  The party was on July 28th at 4pm.  Now if you were planning an outdoor party at the end of July at the hottest time of the day, what would be your biggest worry?  Mine would be that it would be too hot, the cupcakes would be melting, and everyone would be wishing they were inside with the A/C on.  But if you notice in the pictures, everyone is wearing sweatshirts and jackets.  It was an oddly chilly day with temps only in the mid 60s!  For the end of July, I would say it was freezing!  But in the end we all had fun and there were no melted cupcakes.