Sunday, July 29, 2012

Make Waves


I know someone who's not afraid of the water. Whether that is a good thing is yet to be determined. :)

I've posted plenty of pictures depicting our big fish, fresh out of swimming lessons, but our little fish is not so bad, either. Pretty darn cute, too, if you ask me. Owen is still working on his Michael Phelps physique, but he'll get there in no time. USA!


He may not know the back stroke, but I think he's going for the gold in bubble blowing. Check him out:



I hope you were able to cool off somehow today with the high topping 100 around these parts. Splashing in the swimming pool (although only slightly cooler than the air) was the miracle cure for us. Happy Sunday, y'all.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Very Veggie


After soaring temperatures and a battle with various leaf spot diseases, I expected my garden to have a few casualties after a week of neglect.

To my surprise, this was not at all the case!

Sure the tomatoes and beans needed a haircut to remove some of the yellowed foliage, but not nearly to the extent I imagined. Most of the branches were the bright, dark green that only comes after a natural watering. The bush beans I planted last weekend were sprouting and the strawberry vines had begun their journey to new areas of the patch. However, the kicker was the harvest. Here's what grew while we were away:


It doesn't look like a lot to most, but it's more than enough for this family. So much that if you are reading, you live near me, and you are interested in anything on the table, let me know. It's yours, free of charge. :) We have our first picking of peppers, several Anaheim and four pretty bells. Hopefully we will stuff those Anaheims full of sausage and cream cheesy goodness soon. (thanks, Katie!) We also managed to pluck six giant cucumbers hiding under their leaves and a few okra pods round out the pack.

Oh yeah, we also picked thirty-three tomatoes from all four plant varieties.

A new record, y'all. :) Plus I didn't even cheat and add the previously picked lot to the harvest pile (not that I would ever do such a thing):


As for causalities, there was one disgusting case. I had to toss a few overripe tomatoes that were among the windowsill group. Then, in the corner, I spotted it. One tom that had completely decomposed and was half gone. I told Jonathan I was too squeamish to get it and asked him sweetly to do so. When he moved it, he saw the culprit. I had apparently taken one of the tomato hornworms inside for a light snack last weekend. Gross. Thank goodness he stayed put and munched instead of wandering around the house. He suffered the same fate as his larger counterpart and I have learned to check all tomatoes for entrance holes before putting them up to bathe in the sun.

Oops!

Hope your garden is growing just as bountifully and if it's not, call me. Seriously. I would love to share some vegetables with you. Happy Saturday!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Road Trip


It's closing in on 9 pm on Friday night.

Through my window I see cornfields, soy beans, and a lazy orange sun. We are in east Arkansas trying to make it to the other side of the state after a fun-filled week in St. Louis.

Jonathan and I had a blast with my cousins and the littles had a fantastic time playing with their cousin counterparts. Although the temperatures kept us inside, the city's science center and our hotel's indoor pool suited us just fine. :)

I had so much fun playing and talking, eating and drinking, laughing and listening that my camera mostly stayed off. Hopefully cousin Katie did better than that, but to soothe your photo hunger, I'll unload my instagram with road trip photos.

Enjoy these pictures from the Interstate, the Eureka, MO Holiday Inn, Lambert's Cafe, and Burger King.

I'll now return to hearing "Party in the USA" for the 17th time.


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Poolside


Nathan spent the weekend poolside in Hope, perfecting his jumping style and swimming in the deep end.

(with no help, thank you very much)

This kid is a total fish. With his bright orange goggles magnifiying his big brown eyes, he swims as deep as he can and then relaxes as his body slowly floats to the surface. He has figured out how to use his arms to actually propel himself and he made his diving board debut a few days ago. He's becoming more independent by the day and occasionally, this isn't a good thing.

Afternoon pool time after early morning church easily lends itself to *ahem* fits. There's nothing like a strategically located time-out chair, is there?


We sure hope your weekend was filled with just as much water and sunshine and a lot less tears. :) Wish us luck as we embark on family vacation number two tomorrow. We are headed to St. Louis with Nana and Grampa and hopefully we leave the temper tantrums in Arkansas!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Hornworm



This morning Nathan and Owen woke up from a cozy slumber at their Nana's house and I woke up at 8:00, completely alone (insert huge, rested smile here).

As soon as I popped out of bed I realized it was likely 100 degrees already (if only that were sarcasm) and I had to work to do. I pulled on my straw hat and headed to the garden. I plucked two cucumbers off the vine and filled the rest of my basket with tomatoes. I yanked out my dead bush bean plants and pushed new white seeds into the cultivated soil, spotted with my sweat. I pulled diseased leaves from the pole beans and then set to work pruning infected branches from my prize tomatoes. I reached into the leafy tangles anywhere I saw yellow and brown. As I started on a particularly dense area, my hand stopped about six inches out.

Thank GOD I saw it.

If you look closely, you can see the ugly thing in the above picture, too. So far I've only had to squish baby versions of the tomato hornworm but that is a full-grown sucker. And he would get bigger by the day if I didn't take him swimming in a glass of soapy water:



For him, it was probably a slow and painful death, but if you thought A) I was going to touch that and B) I was going to squish that, you are clearly crazy. Now the sprinklers are going, tomatoes line my countertops, and the remains of my green nemesis are in the burn pile. Word should spread quickly to his friends.

PS - Please don't tell Nathan I used his monkey cup for this. I was in a hurry and it was the first thing I grabbed. Happy Saturday! :)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Summer Grows



There has been no shortage of summer vegetables nor garden work this year.

Before I get to the photos, here's a Bauer Family Farm update for inquiring minds. First of all - tomatoes. Yesterday I picked twenty-four ripening tomatoes, ranging from the small Early Girls to the colossal heirlooms (pictured). I know that isn't a large number for most, but what am I going to do with twenty-four tomatoes? Luckily I know a few guys...

I've been battling a leaf disease that's impossible to keep away in this heat; however, all eight plants are producing tiny toms. I'll continue to keep the spots at bay if you continue to take these babies home by the grocery sack. Deal?




The pepper plants are weighted with green fruit and the ones that have found leafy shade in the triple-digit heat are flourishing. It's not great, but I think this may be the year we enjoy peppers around here. I'm leaving them on the vine until we need them, which will likely be soon once word gets out.

Cucumbers are still an after-dinner snack and, despite the heat, they're still delicious. The tendrils are happily wrapping themselves around their metal trellis and wilted flowers boast fuzzy new cukes, waiting for the bees.



The okra has started coming on as straight, scrumptious pods and the bugs that were chomping on them have vanished for now. The bush beans are finished and will be replanted, but the pole beans have taken over my eight-foot trellis. I've read the "wonder" in the Kentucky Wonder variety is that growers often wonder if any beans will come. Apparently I should expect a bumper crop from August to October. Until then the beautiful vines add vertical interest and a shady place to stand while admiring my tomatoes. :)

Here are a few more visual aids to give you my view when I step into my backyard paradise, nestled between the porch and the pasture:

Friday, July 13, 2012

Afternoons


Nathan and I are no strangers to the post-lunch photo shoot. I am thankful to be able to spend a few afternoons a week with this one and the small one. Whether we are snuggled in front of the TV, out in the garden, or flipping through every book in the house, we are happy. I'll take all the tantrums in the world (and that's asking for it from my crew), if it means sharing afternoons like this one.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Photo Practice




Hi Friends! Not much to see here other than an exceptionally cute baby boy. I did a little experimenting with my new lens in the evening sun yesterday and what kind of friend would I be if I didn't post a couple shots for you? I hope this brown-eyed boy makes your day a little sweeter. Keep checking back, as practice does indeed make perfect (or at least as close as I'll ever get).

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Five Years Old


C'mon, admit it. This face is still as cute as it was on day one. Remember that monkey face?? Oh, time. Slow down.

There's nothing too interesting in my home tonight (as I tune out the chaos of daddy-led bath time). I believe it's time for a recap of Nathan's roaring-good birthday bash.

The food was easily-assembled for this dinosaur theme, so the details were in the decor. Thanks to my lovely assistants, streamers resembled jungle vines in my kitchen. Balloons in green and brown and bright palm leaves accented every nook and cranny. As for the food, well let's just say I had a little fun:





Before you give me a gold star for creativity, please know I stole most of these ideas. This, my friends, was a Pinterest party, and yes, I admitted it to those who asked. Guests enjoyed chips and bugles labeled as dinosaur scales and claws, jungle slime lime jello, and fossilized cookies. There were also meatballs for those carnivores, and garden veggies and fruit for the tamer herbivores. They washed it all down with swamp water and prehistoric punch. Oh, and there was also this cake:



There were only two actual games planned for the occasion. I simply buried tiny dinosaurs in the sandbox and let the young archaeologists unearth the hidden treasures. I did not calculate the size of the sandbox with regard to the number of participants, though, so sand in eyes was an issue. However, those who found dinos were pleased:



Also, there was a T-Rex pinata. It actually took two rounds of about 10 kids to whack this thing open and spill its goods. The anticipation and wow factor was much better than last year's one-punch tractor. :)



The rest of the party was basically splashing around and cooling off in the hot July sun. The slip-n-slide was up and running and the kiddie pool was full to capacity with boys jumping and girls avoiding.

Owen enjoyed the party, too. :) However, he really enjoyed it when the party ended and he had the pool to himself:



Thanks for reading and thanks to all who celebrated a spectacular kid with a spectacular party! Nathan had a blast with you guys. He's already trying to top it with number six. As for me, I'm not into advance planning when it comes to aging children. :)

Happy Tuesday, y'all!

More party pictures can be found HERE.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Kitchen Garden



I know you haven't heard any mention of veggies around here since I first plucked a handful of crunchy snap beans.

Never fear, though, the Bauer Family Garden is going strong and (dare I say) producing better harvests than ever in its third year. The combination of a busy summer plus no camera has kept me from documenting, but it has not kept me out of the dirt. Once the ground dries, I'll post a peek into what the backyard looks like, but for now, feast your eyes on the red beauties that line my windowsill.

I think the first tomato broke color as June became July and they haven't stopped coming. Only two of my varieties have been harvested, but so far - delicious! We've also eaten about 20 cucumbers and I'm impressed. I had my fingers crossed as the first one was twisted off the vine. I had reason to be nervous after last year's season-long bitter cucumber issue. It seems this year's variety gets two thumbs up! We've enjoyed one Anaheim pepper in quesadillas and we've served a couple rounds of fresh beans sauteed with onion and garlic.

It's been a delicious summer thanks to the kitchen garden, and we've only just begun. Once the plants stop rejoicing in the long-lost rain, I'll get out there for an official tour. Trust me, it looks a little different these days. Until then, Happy Monday!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Whole Hand



This kid blew out five candles on his prehistoric birthday cake yesterday.

Nathan and his pals enjoyed everything from the T-Rex pinata to the classic Bauer family slip-n-slide. It was a blast watching the kids play beneath the jungle vines and perform Star Wars scenes in the kiddie pool.

Aside from all the fun, though, my baby turned five.

A whole hand seems like a lot, doesn't it? Five years ago I became a mama when a weeks-early bundle was placed in my arms. I was not afraid in that moment. Over the years, Nathan has been the guinea pig when it comes to my mothering, but I was ready. I may not be the best at it, but it is my life. And it helps that our debut child is pretty spectacular.

From the brain that holds an impressive amount of knowledge to the hands that reach for mine to the legs that run free in his wild world of imagination. Nathan is something special. As much as I'd like to keep him five, I want to see him grow and develop and accomplish.

In *this* moment, though, I'm going to kiss him, whisper "I love you," and stare into his gold-flecked brown eyes until I figure out what's behind them. This silly kid is an enormous part of me. I thank God every day for this blessing and I thank Nathan (almost) every day for the kid he is.

We all have our moments. :)

PS: Full dino party details soon!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Fourth Fun







There were endless hot dogs and fireworks resulting in oohs and ahhs, but our Fourth of July mostly consisted of the above.

And we enjoyed every second of it! Even though there's no photographic evidence, Owen enjoyed it just as much (and coincidentally ranked both hot dog eating and swimming much, much higher than fireworks.)

Turns out it's easier to snap photos of a kid who has decided he needs zero help navigating the watery deep. If only Nathan's swim teacher could see him now! Hope you celebrated the birth of our nation with hot dogs, fireworks, and an escape from the heat, too!