Friday, June 27, 2014

Blueberry and Blackberry Picking

I love taking the boys to pick fruit, it was one of our favorite things to do in Virginia with the boys. They just have such a blast every time. I just happen to see a picture that a friend posted on Facebook about a blueberry/blackberry patch and I clicked on the link and found the most amazing little blueberry/blackberry farm nearby. It's really close to where my parents live and they charge 1.25 for a pound of blueberries and 1.50 for a pound of blackberries!!!! Can you believe how cheap that is?!?

So, Wednesday, we met my mom and took the boys out to the farm to check it out. It's run by an older husband and wife who live there and they were so sweet. The woman told me over and over that the boys could eat as much as they want (just so you know, we didn't let them eat as much as they want, that poor woman had no idea the massive amount of berries those two could put away) and she was just so friendly and helpful. We were the only ones there for a long time.

We got three buckets and started picking. It had rained quite a bit the night before, so I put rain boots on the boys since I wasn't sure how muddy it was going to be.

I felt like the boys did really good about picking the berries and they seemed to get the concept of which ones to pick and which ones not to, but they were all about helping Mamaw, so I didn't see much of what they were picking. Evan learned early that it was much easier to sneak a berry out of Mamaw's basket and eat than it was to pick one off a tree and eat it--such a stinker!

We got so many blueberries and blackberries and we only left because the boys were getting tired. It was hot and we were there for a long time, but there was so many berries!

My mom and I are going to go back without the boys one morning and get some more. We have big plans for these berries. Pinterest has given us all kinds of ideas on what to do with these berries. Greg and the boys LOVE blueberries, they like to eat them on cereal, in yogurt, or just plain, so I have to go back just to get some more to use in recipes.

It looked so pretty out there, but it was hot and humid. We were all a sweaty mess when we got done.

The boys pretty much stayed with Mamaw the whole time.


This picture doesn't really show just how many we got, there's so many in that huge bucket.

When we were leaving, I looked up and saw this. I'm so glad I was able to snap a quick picture of it.

They were just standing there like this waiting on us. How cute are they?!

I got home and washed my berries. I froze some blueberries for my overnight oats, and almost all the rest is for the boys. I did sneak some for my salad that I made for lunch, it was amazing. Lettuce, blueberries, sliced salt and pepper almonds, goat cheese, topped with  lowfat raspberry vinaigrette. It was so good and filling.

I also made a batch of Paula Deen blackberry jam. I can't wait to try this, how could it not be good?
I'm so glad we found this perfect little berry farm. They're so nice and family friendly, the boys enjoyed it and the prices are unbeatable. I can't wait to go back next week and get some more. I'm also excited to find some more "U Pick" farms around there because I know the boys love doing stuff like this and I love getting fresh picked produce to bring home.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Projects and Summer Days

Last weekend, we went to Lowe's to get some wood for another project that I'm doing. I'm pretty sure that my entire family is about tired of my projects. I somehow get everybody involved in my Pinterest projects, between painting things, putting them together and putting them up, but I'm going to get as many projects done as I can before they all have an intervention and put a stop to it. :)

We went to a Lowe's that was further away because the one close to us doesn't have the car carts, and with the boys, the car cart is a must. They love those things.

Greg even helped pick out the wood and got it cut for me while I took the boys and looked for paint. Such a trooper.

Afterwards, we went to Applebee's with the boys for dinner, I can't believe they're at an age where we can go to sit down restaurants on a whim and it's actually enjoyable.

We used to only be able to go to places that were super fast, we had to bring snacks, toys, etc. to keep them entertained and we felt so rushed. Obviously, they only have so much patience before they start getting antsy, but it's so much easier than it was.

I spent Sunday working on my projects for the house.

It involved a lot of painting.

I also did some canning, pickles, blackberry jam, pineapple jam, and banana peppers. I bought the blackberries at a Farmer's Market before I found out there was a pick your own place close nearby, so we went there on Wednesday (I'm doing a separate post on that)

I got my framed book covers up and my painted letters hung. I still want to add a couple more book covers, but I like the way the reading nook is coming along.

Monday, I let the boys watch a movie and eat popcorn. They think it's such a fun treat to do this.
The boys also put on a party in their room. They prepared their play pizza, cookies and birthday cake. They put on their "birthday hats" and came down to invite me to their party. They said "want to come to our party, it's a really cool party" how could I say no to that? When I got up there, they gave me a present (one of their toys) and then Carter said "we need decorations for this party, I'll go to the store downstairs, I'll be back" and came back with a craft they made at VBS and said put it on the floor and said "I think these decorations look good here" The whole thing was just so cute. They were being such cute little hosts and making sure I was well fed with their pretend food and having fun. I love their little imaginations and the things they come up with together.

I spend a lot of the days breaking up fights, telling one of them to stop taunting the other, to quit touching each other, etc. But, when they're not fighting, they're being super sweet. Like when they held hands going to their summer program, just because.

I spent a few naps getting this thing done for their playroom. It has 41 pictures, so I had to go through all their pictures, pick some, order them, etc. I love having this in the playroom. I love looking at pictures of them when they were younger.

The boys are such troopers about taking a picture when I drop them off at their summer program. I can never get pictures before we leave the house, but we always get to school early and have plenty of time. The boys are always in good moods, there's not many people there and it's the best time to get a picture of them.

This evening Greg hung another book shelf in the reading nook. After we got the first 5 up, we realized it'd look better with another one, so my parents went to Lowes, got the wood, my mom painted it and then her and my dad put them together for me. See what I mean about everybody getting involved? I'm very lucky to have everybody so willing to help, I definitely couldn't have done these shelves without them.
Tomorrow, I'm going to do a post about our trip to the blueberry and blackberry patch.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Riverbanks Member's Night Out

Friday night, we went to Member's Night Out at the Riverbanks Zoo. Normally, they close at 5:00, but they have 3 Friday nights over the summer where they open from 6-9 just for members. They have a theme, with crafts, a show, all the rides and attractions are open and I just thought it sounded like something that would be really fun. It's only an hour drive up there, I figured we'd get there at 6, spend an hour, and then be home in time to put the boys in bed around their normal time. Well, they ended up having so much fun, we stayed longer than I thought we would, got home after 9, and after baths and stories, it was close to 10 before the boys went to sleep. They were such troopers the whole time and it was so worth it.

When we first got there, we started off with the carousel like we always do. I stood with Carter and Greg stood with Evan.

The boys were so excited to be there. They thought it was so fun going in the evening and they were excited that Greg got to come with us to the zoo.

The boys love feeding the birds, since it was so late, they were really hungry like they are when we go in the mornings, but they were able to get a few to come over and eat.

It's so cute to hear them talking to the birds, they say the funniest things.

Next we went to see the penguins, there's a flamingo exhibit right outside that Evan was super excited about. I didn't realize until we were half way to the zoo that I forgot the stroller. There's so much walking and it's hot, that I always bring the stroller with me for them to ride it. I wasn't sure how they'd do, but they did great. They were so excited that they didn't mind walking at all. It's still nice to have for our day trips to the zoo, but they're obviously getting to the age where we just don't need it, so I'll definitely sell it after the summer is over.

Inside the penguin exhibit, there were several tables set up with different things to do. There was somebody with a snake that the kids could pet, there was feather matching game, a make your own bracelet table, a necklace craft table, etc. Evan wanted to go to every single one. He loved all of it.

He's so happy with his bracelet. He told every single person he saw about it and has worn it ever since. I think that was the highlight of his night. He loves crafts and things, so to be able to do the zoo and crafts was perfect.

After feeding the giraffes, I tried to get a picture with the boys. You can see how well that went.

I love the Meerkats, I think they're so cute, so we went by and saw those too. The boys also like watching them especially when they're digging holes.

There were a few out and the boys sat and watched them for a few minutes, and talked to them.

The Zoo also had food and drink specials, like $1.00 hot dogs, soda, ice cream, icees, etc. So, before we left, we got the boys their first ICEE. Carter chose cherry and Evan chose grape. They loved them and thought they were something with their "Ice cups".

We might have to get the boys another Icee before the summer's over, they just thought it was such a special treat and were so excited about them.

It was HOT, very hot and humid while we were there. But, the boys were just so excited and had so much fun, that it was worth dealing with the heat. They have another one next month and I would love to go, but it's the night before we have something else planned and since we get home so late, it just won't work out to go. We'll definitely take advantage of this next year.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Father's Day and Canning

Last Saturday night, Greg and I took advantage of Parents Night Out at our Y and dropped the boys off and had date night. We went to Carolina Ale House, then shopping (every single date night always ends up at Target--every time!) and then we got some ice cream. It was a nice little evening and we really enjoy these parents night outs twice a month. The boys also love it and have been asking to go back ever since.

I picked some flowers from the hydrangeas I got a couple weeks ago. This was the only reason I wanted hydrangeas, so I could pick them and have them in the house whenever they were in season.

Father's day, Greg got up and cut the grass and planted my hydrangeas. Probably not the best day to put him to work, but I did. After he got showered and ready, we went to my parents house and my dad grilled out steaks and jalapeno poppers for lunch. After lunch, my dad and Greg put together some bookshelves for me that I'm putting the playroom. Haha, these poor guys, we worked them to death on Father's day. Oops.

The boys had a blast, like always. It was hot, but the boys didn't seem to mind.

The boys love getting a taste of anything Papaw is cooking.

I've been canning some stuff lately. I've been wanting to learn for awhile and my parents have a huge garden, so I decided last year when we moved here that I was going to learn to can and do it this year. Tuesday, I made dill pickles, we can't try them for 4-6 weeks, which I hate, I want to know how they turned out.

Wednesday, the boys and I had such a nice, lazy morning. We have things to be at most mornings, so it's nice when we don't have to be somewhere at a certain time. After we lounged around for a little while, we went to the library to get some books.

Then, I went grocery shopping and the boys were really good.

That afternoon, I made some refrigerator dill pickle spears. They were so easy to make and a great use of all the extra cucumbers from my parents garden. Plus, we don't have to wait 4-6 weeks to eat these, they just have to sit in the fridge overnight and they're ready to eat. I got my recipe from here

Here's a little peek of the shelves that I got from IKEA for the playroom. I wanted different baskets, but since I had to buy so many, I had to go with the less expensive option. It's not organized or anything yet, I'm still putting the playroom together.

Thursday, Greg hung up the shelves that my mom painted and him and my dad put together on Father's Day. We've decided to go with another shelf on top, but this is what it looks like right now. I love it!
It's been so hot, so we've spent a lot of time outside in the pools. I've also been having to water my vegetable garden and hydrangeas every day, so I do that while the boys are playing.

I'm growing a tomatillo plant for the first time ever. I don't know when to expect the tomatillos to be ready, but I think it'll be awhile. I'm excited to make some salsa verde with these.

Thursday, the boys had their summer program and I canned 3 bean salad, using green beans from my parents garden. (I found that recipe here) The boys are loving their summer program, they are always so excited when I drop them off and they bring home the cutest crafts.