June 29, 2007

Welcome Baby Nathan

We joyously welcome our newest nephew, Nathan Paul, born today, June 29th, the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul weighing in at a hefty 9 pounds 9 ounces and 20 inches long. Isn't he scrumptious?

Please say a prayer in thanksgiving for a strong, healthy baby boy!

June 26, 2007

Cloth Diaper Contest and Fair

For those of you cloth diaper lovers Fuzzi Bunz is having a summer baby contest! Here are the contest rules! You can win $1000 plus $500 in Fuzzi Bunz products! Be sure to use Julie's Stuff as the store reference!

Sadly I can't enter since I sell them but I think we've got a a cute baby who wears cloth diapers around here so I'm going to attempt a wee bit of a cute cloth diapered baby fair. I'm not sure I could go so far as to name it "The Loveliness of Baby Bums" So I must come up with a better name... anyone? Any cloth diaper would do for this one of course! Email me your submission by September 1st! (I'd do this quicker however you know the fun of summer vacation so plenty of time to get your digi-cams out!

June 23, 2007

Ugly Mixer of the Year Award

I bake bread just about every day, about 6 loaves per batch. We had a lovely KitchenAid Classic that worked like a charm, a couple years ago we sold that and upgraded to the 6 qt "Professional". Some 4 replacements later we decided to opt for their "buy out" plan. It simply isn't made to handle daily bread for the large family. So we bought this beauty from some good friends of ours. It's a very old Hobart but built to grind cement I think! In my excitement to make my first batch of bread I completely forgot the oil and salt! Woops! The nice thing is that we can still use all the attachments for things like cheese grinding!

Our Secret Swimming Spot

There is a park nearby that used to be a trailer park or mobile home park. Quite a few years ago that was all cleared out and is now a rather secluded park. Being in the 90's last week we decided to find a swimming hole and we discovered nearly no one is here during the week!

It's like having our own private lake.

There is quite a bit of seaweed a ways out but the children sure don't seem to mind that!
After the first day with Pippin at the lake, I got on-line and ordered a floatie swimsuit. He has no fear. Being rather long and lean he can actually run in the water.

The day I didn't bring my camera we had a big surprise! The children found lawn statues at the bottom. It was such a hoot that I am still disappointed that I didn't have my camera!

We brought them home and bleached them up. We plan to paint them again and put them in the play woods. There is Charlie with the Lantern, Benjamin Bunny and a dwarf yet to be named.

June 20, 2007

Well Welcomed Guests

We had a tremendous surprise when we found out the other day that my my Uncle B (dad's brother) and Aunt M were coming out to our territory for some meetings and had some time to spare for a nice visit! It's always lovely to have a visit with "Kindred Spirits". We look forward to visiting with them when we go to their territory later in the summer.
The children commented that Grandpa M is very funny but Great Uncle B is even funnier! It was a very enjoyable time, short but completely full of laughter!
Just before we took the group picture. There was a sudden bit of chaos as the cat found a baby bunny for lunch. The children promptly ran to look for the nest and found it just as the dog was getting his paws on another baby bunny!
There was a mad scramble and of course Frodo caught the bunny.
Ooooooh, isn't the bunny scrumptious?! But wow did he screech! He was not one bit happy to be caught. But alas this was only moments before he met his death. The cat was busy with the other bunny so we thought it safe to put this one down. *WAH* The bunny was off in a flash but the cat was after it in a second. We only ended up with a brace of dead coneys. *sniff*

Prayer Request

Please pray for friends of ours whose upstairs bathroom had a plumbing problem causing significant damage to the house.

Just Swinging

The littles are enjoying a swing on our partially constructed swingset monstrosity. More pictures at a later date... In a large family I wonder why we bothered with "baby" swings... the baby wants to be on the big swings with the big kids!

New Books!

I am spending my summer preparing my lesson plans for the 2007-2008 homeschooling year. The oldest 3 will be doing the Further Up, Further In Unit Study on Narnia. The Study is "Christian" so we are adding in the Catholic dimension with Saints and of course the Catholic Bible.

Every week we spend 3 days studying the Catechism, 1 day studying the Mass and 1 day studying the Bible.

This book is a keeper!

Maps of where the various biblical stories took place with clear overlays to what the names are now during our time! We will be using this and our Bible to study from for our weekly Bible History class.


Sam is beginning is 3rd year of raking hay.

There is no greater joy that a boy has when they have legs long enough to get behind a *real* tractor! He just barely reached the brake when he turned 9.

Aragorn loading the 500 pound round bales on the trailer.

Sunset at the end of the day.

Cranes Change Color

The cranes have changed to a lovely rich light brown!

We just discovered the local deer just had a baby and I'm dying to get a picture of them ... long shot but here's hoping!

Green Eggs and Ham

You do not like them. So you say.
Try them! Try them! And you may.
Try them and you may, I say.
Sam! If you will let me be, I will try them.
You will see.
Say!I like green eggs and ham! I do!
I like them, Sam-I-am!
And I would eat them in a boat.
And I would eat them with a goat...
And I will eat them in the rain.
And in the dark. And on a train.
And in a car. And in a tree.
They are so good, so good, you see!
So I will eat them in a box.
And I will eat them with a fox.
And I will eat them in a house.
And I will eat them with a mouse.
And I will eat them here and there.
Say! I will eat them ANYWHERE!
I do so likegreen eggs and ham!
Thank you!Thank you,Sam-I-am!


Tis the season for Mulberries and purple children! We discovered on our property Deep Purple Mulberries (native of western Asia), White Mulberries (native of China) and Grayish Mulberries... which we aren't sure about, looks like a cross between the other two! All are now in the freezer ready for being made into jelly when the weather turns cool!

Busy Bees

Aragorn is about to put on another super and we'll soon be extracting fresh honey! YUM!

June 8, 2007


After 2 days of trying to capture my little friends I finally got a few nice (enough) shots!

How irresistable is a hummingbird?

Too precious!

I put our our hummingbird feeder well over a month ago. I dangled it from the peg in the clothesline. What a mess, I had to re-wash an entire comforter because it got twisted up in the feeder and dreadfully sticky!

We noticed a hummingbird by our petunias on the porch so I made another batch of "food" (1 cup sugar to 1+ cup water, bring to a boil, cool, pour in feeder) and set it just outside the big back windows on top of the bee houses (the ones currently not in use as we don't keep our bees right outside the house of course!). Every few minutes someone now hollers "I see a hummingbird!" I tried for 2 days to try to capture these darlings on camera (thank goodness for digital). First the batteries died. Then every time I gave up, out flew another one! The children counted about 25 visits to the feeder in about 15 minutes and I couldn't get a shot! Quick little witty birdies. Finally I just perched myself in a chair and sat with camera ready. I won!

I was fascinated to learn that their nests are only about 2 inches in diameter! I (make that Sam) must find one of these needles in the haystack!


Some hobbits may have a passion for mushrooms but mine is for strawberries. This spring I discovered the local farmer's market. What a fun place to go to! This week's best find was strawberries. I kept out 2 quarts for eating with scones tomorrow morning, 1 quart to make my mom's strawberry rhubarb pie, I ate quite a few (pints) and washed and froze the rest for juicing for jelly come fall. Strawberry jam reminds me of my grandma, she had a lovely patch of strawberries and made *the* best jam (with the wax on top!). I can still taste it. The children prefer jelly but I'm all about jam! Maybe that's why my maiden name initials were JAM!

Our Wee Gardens

We were due to get a "gi-mendous" storm (as my 7 year old would say) so I thought I'd take some "before and after" shots of our little gardens (growing inspite of my lack of green thumb)

Mary Garden

Sacred Heart Garden

St. Michael Garden, this statue was in thanksgiving to the angels for preserving Rosie from one of her many haphazards when she was a rather precarious toddler. She has pretty much outgrown these ways... though she did just lop off her bangs today!

Inspite of the impending tornadoes and horrendous weather predictions for yesterday, we got buy with sunny skies and rolls of clouds all around the "edges". So thankfully there are no "after" pictures to share. I'm really quite pathetic at growing things but I'm tickled just the same!

Our First Produce

The first radishes were ripe on June 2nd. Aragorn's culinary input is that they are best plain, crisp and fresh with salt.

Now That's a Big Leaf

My friends in Texas would have to admit even we have big leaves... but we'll let the Texans keep those big bugs *shivver*

A Trek to the Zoo

The end of the school year brought us to the local free zoo... note to self: never go to the zoo the week after Memorial Day... every school was on a field trip that day!

Gotta love a penguin!

The penguin pool, it was so hot that day it was tempting to just dive on in! I'd imagine it must be fun to actually get to play with penguins!

Future playstructure at the zoo. There are some rather intense future plans for the zoo!

The Polar Bear probably didn't feel much at home on this particularly warm day!

There is a neat life-like indoor rainforest.

The parrots were showing off.

Grizzly Bear

Some kind of mini-deer.

Just one monkey comparing his size with the other monkeys!

Black Bear

One highlight was the carrousel!

The merry-go-round is quite large and the animals are really nice!

Pippin really enjoyed it. When the ride stopped he kept trying to pump it to go some more.

Now, I can't say this looks like a comfortable way to take a siesta!

Our little group. Note to self: never take the group shot at the end of walking through the zoo on a hot day.

New Chicks

We bought 50 new little baby chickies, they are just way too cute for words!

The post office called at some ridiculous hour like 4am or something for *Aragorn* to go pick them up. I didn't volunteer! The little peepers sure make alot of racket! Since we don't have the heat lamps they needed they were brought over to the barn at my in-law's. We are in the process of building a chicken house. We have the bigger chicks at our place since they can handle the elements.

St. Paul

A funeral brought me to the St. Paul area a few weeks ago. St. Paul is where I lived until I was 7. There is something so fond about remembering back to when you are 5-7 years old. I wished I had time to visit my old neighborhood.

Galadriel, Pippin and I had a completely paid "vacation" in a rather lovely hotel, not a luxury a mother of 8 usually enjoys! After the longish car ride we wound down with a bee-line to the hotel pool. It was really nice, a bit of a tropical feel to it as it was very warm inside.

Just enjoying the water.

Pippin made a friend!

But his friend had over-stepped his bounds when he was wearing Pip's shoes! This was by far the funniest "event" I had seen in a while. If one can truly ROFLOL, this is exactly what Galadriel and I were doing. Pip proceeded to "play" with his new found friend and then suddenly discovered the mirror-door opened, he promptly peeks his head around to find out where his friend really was... it was a confusing moment for a 1 year old! But ever so hilarious for his audience!

The hotel happened to be across the street from the Mall of America which I had always wondered what it looked like. I can't stand malls and shopping in general (on-line ordering is a lovely thing) but we were hungry and I thought we'd just pop in to the Mall of America and grab a bite of pizza or something. I never saw anything like it. I spent 15 minutes driving around the desolate building, seeing only a few people and gate guards at every door. I am not sure where the people were, where the cars were but I came to the conclusion that one doesn't simply walk into the Mall of America for a bite of pizza any more than one would simply walk into Mordor. So we went back to our hotel as there wasn't a restraunt in site.
This brought us to the dine-in menu... OUCH! $50 for 1 adult, a 9 year old and a 1 year old. (I did mention this was a paid hotel stay but my guilt for such extravagance was almost unbearable... but not quite... it was a very good meal!)
Their idea of the "Large Cheesecake" and *my* idea of a Large Cheesecake aren't the same, but it was delicious! We took a silly delight in the cute little bottles of condiments....

which we brought home for everyone.. but praytell, what is the *thing* in the somewhat thick mesh bag? It was either a green lemon or a yellow lime, but we never did figure out what we should do with it!
This of course brought us to plundering the hotel room for fancy freebies. Tell me these aren't the cutest little bottles of toiletries. Adding just a few pieces of hotel stationary we had a lovely set of gifts to bring home to the rest of the family!
As we were leaving to head back home we noticed the Harley's were all perched outside the Mall of America.

Then to my delight we drove right into the city to see the lovely capitol building!

And best yet St. Paul's! It's such a grand church!