Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Purple Sparkles

Remember those free-range kids we're raising?  They are energetic, free-spirited, outgoing and adventurous, each in their own way.  We encourage the kids to run, jump and climb.  We sign them up for sports, dance and other activities as an outlet for all that youthful energy.  Each kid has started gymnastics before their second birthday.  And you should see the faces of the other parents when they see my kids climbing and jumping!

Along with all the benefits, such as learning independence, I knew that allowing the children to do gymnastics, to climb and jump, could potentially cause injury.  I can't tell you how many times I sprained an ankle or fell down while doing gymnastics and playing softball, so I'm actually a little surprised with how few injuries my children have sustained.  And up until now, only one of those injuries was kind of serious.  

Now raising kids free range does not mean we have no rules or limits.  For example, no gymnastics in the house.  This is one of the most frequently broken rules.  That brings us to last night.  All the kids love doing cartwheels in the house, especially while I'm distracted making dinner or doing laundry.  Last night our oldest (who will be 8 on Saturday) decided to take her cartwheel to a whole new level.  She stood on top of the coffee table, leaned over to place her hands on the ground... And that's when I heard the screech.  She was crying in pain.

This morning I spent 5 1/2 hours driving to and waiting at the doctor's office, driving to a specialist in Des Moines, waiting on X-rays.  The conclusion?  Lily broke her elbow, but didn't need surgery.  She will be in a cast at least 4 weeks.  It's been less than seven hours since her cast was placed and she feels less pain, but is uncomfortable because it itches.  And it's already been an adjustment for the siblings.  Little sister Addy was surprised that Lily won't be able to jump on the trampoline for several weeks.  Baby brother Tucker wanted to be picked up and snuggled by his big sister.  And little brother Sean wanted to sit on Lily's lap to play on computer.  Lily said this might be the hardest six weeks of her life.

Bright side?  Lily picked a purple cast and the tech even sprinkled glitter on it for her!  So she will be wearing purple sparkles for her birthday party.

first layer

purple cast!

it sparkles!

Little brother signing cast

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Fresh n Fruity dessert

Sometimes after the kids go to bed, I need a little sweet treat.  Since the cave is full of apples we picked and the neighbor brought us some amazing peaches a couple weeks ago, I decided something fruity was in order. But I didn't want to spend a lot of time making pie, so i decided to throw together a crumb topping and bake the fruit.  Check out how I did this!

Baked Fruit Crisp
4 apples/peaches (8 halves)
4 Tblsp soft butter
4 Tblsp brown sugar
8 Tblsp rolled oats

Core apples.  Slice each peach and/or apple in half.  Combine butter, brown sugar and rolled oats.  Mix until combined.  Place fruit halves, skin side down, on baking sheet.  Top each half with a heaping Tblsp of crumb topping.  Bake at 375* for about 20 minutes, or until fruit is tender.  Serve warm with ice cream.

You can use any crumb/crisp topping that you like.  It would be great with chopped pecans or a little cinnamon!  And I'll bet it would be great with other fruits like plums and pears.  If you are making a single serving, you can bake this in a toaster oven.

I promise to work on my food photography skills...

but believe me, this is delish!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

A Series of Unfortunate Events

Every move/new adventure has its mishaps.  Things get broken or lost.  Nothing is on schedule or goes according to plan.  Lucky for us, we only ran one day behind our estimated departure date and only a few things showed up broken.

But that does not mean the move has been entirely smooth.   

Aside from "losing" our 2 year old Sean in the corn, battling ticks and cleaning out the cave, we have encountered a few other harrowing experiences this summer.  You may have heard about the long and unusually moist spring in the Midwest this year.  The rain extended much into June, washing away many crops and overflowing some rivers in northern Iowa.  Here is southern Iowa, we received much of the same rain and humidity, causing a host of problems in planting summer crops.  And mildew.  This was a biggie for us, as many of the boxes we moved from California were stacked up in the workshop, waiting to be unpacked.  Stroller and car seat covers had to be washed, furniture and appliances wiped down.  Can you imagine your child asking for some toast, so you grab the toaster box, then lo and behold when you pull it out, it's covered in mildew?  Thank goodness for soap! 


Next comes the runaway fire.  Hubby and I took some old siding down to the burn pit and he used a bit of gasoline to get the fire started.  Everything was nice and contained.  Until the gas can, that was apparently a little too close to the burn pit, overheated and caught fire.  We were unprepared for this.  There was no hose attached to the hydrant, but several ice cream buckets strewn about from the kids' water play would have to suffice.  I began running back and forth filling buckets with water, all the while thinking, I'm going to have to call mom and tell her we caught grandpa's farm on fire.  Fortunately, we were able to contain the fire, with only a bit of singed grass and a melted gas can left in it's wake.

burn pit

singed grass

hydrant and buckets

A couple weeks ago we bought a whole hog from hubby's coworker and had it butchered at a local shop (no we're not ready to butcher out own yet!).  The kids were super excited, they love pork.  The stand up freezer was cleaned, mostly cleared out and super cold.  Hubby and I picked up the meat - pork chops, bacon, cottage bacon, sausage, whole hams, hocks, pork belly and more!  The freezer was practically full of all this deliciousness.  Of course we had pork chops and collard greens cooked with bacon that night for dinner.  they were amazing.

Two days later the kids went to the freezer to get otter pops.  They came running up the stairs excitedly, yelling.  The otter pops were not frozen!  Immediately hubby and I jumped up to check the freezer.  The meat was mostly frozen, though thawing quickly. I grabbed a basket and started filling it with the precious cargo to fill the kitchen freezer.  A sigh of relief that the kitchen freezer only contained some ice cream, frozen fruit and a few enchiladas.  We tossed all the ice into a cooler and made as much room as we could for the pork.  I threw a nearly empty bucket of ice cream at the kids and maybe yelled eat it.  There was just enough room for all the meat, except some sausage, which we threw in the cooler.  After some investigation, we are pretty sure a little person gathering otter pops slammed the large freezer door causing it to bounce open, thus thawing our food.  It was a close call, but we managed to save all the pork.  It's a very good thing, because have you seen how much my four little kids eat?!

Summer is pretty much over, but I am sure the excitement isn't over yet.  I wonder how many more unfortunate events will cross our path?