Thursday, June 23, 2011


Before we headed back home on Tuesday, we went back over to Tara's to make pickles. Tara purchased about 6 pounds of pickling cucumbers the day before up in Kentucky and when we arrived, she had already prepped the kitchen for pickle making.

I've never made pickles before, but thought that I would tag along in the process to learn. Jason and I recently watched "The Pickle Story" from The Andy Griffith Show. We got a little tickled talking about the show and how if you mention to anyone that you are making pickles, well, you've just got to try theirs too. The pickles were super easy to make and I can't wait to give my jar of pickles a taste!

6 pounds of pickling cucumbers

We sliced the cucumbers and filled our pint jars with the slices. 

Abby Kate was eager to help us out with the process.

And Jackson was really helpful too.

After we simmered our "mix", we filled each jar until the cucumbers were covered.

Then the jars of cucumbers took a water bath for a few minutes.

This is the "mix" that we used to fill our jars.

After the jars finished soaking in their water bath, we pulled them out to cool on the counter. I loved hearing all the seals "pop".

 We had so much fun over at Tara's! She is a great cook and a wonderful sister-in-law! I love that we took the time to do this. I truly feel this is an art that is quickly leaving us. I'm wanting to soak up all I can about canning and putting up fresh vegetables! I can't wait to try our pickles.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

To Kentucky We Did Go

I was able to head up to the land of the Mennonites in Kentucky with my fabulous sister-in-law, Tara and my niece, Hope. Tara has a wonderful cooking website that you should check out. We were on a mission to find corn, green beans, and whatever else happened to look good. I bought a box of corn, but found out that we were a little early for the green beans. Tara picked up a few more things - peaches, pickling cucumbers, and eggplant. We stopped off at one of the little stores and I treated the kids to a snack of their choosing. We had a fun time driving through the little Mennonite community and buying the freshest veggies to put up for the summer. We finished our trip to Kentucky with lunch at a little Mexican restaurant and then headed back to Tara's house to begin our corn process. The last time that I had made corn with Tara was back in 2008. I definitely loved putting away the corn with Tara and Hope, but it is definitely messy. Abby Kate, Joshua, and Jackson even provided helping hands this year.

We ended up with 2 boxes of corn to put away.

Shucking corn is a great upper body workout. 

Helpful hands help wash and silk the cobs of corn.

I love this picture.

And then we cut the corn off the cob - all 160 ears.

We ended up with 3 of these big bowls of cut corn.

Then we boiled the corn off a pot at a time. 

Our finished product!
This picture makes me so happy!
I'm excited to know that we will have fresh corn for the year now!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Celebrating Father's Day

We woke up this morning and were able to surprise Jason with a few small presents before heading off to church. Awhile back, we had some friends over and somehow we got sidetracked and pulled out Jason's guitar. With the first strum, I think that the hair on all of our neck's stood up. Our friend started telling Jason what all could be done to get his guitar back in proper working order. I took note of all that was being said and stored it away for later.

I was able to get the guitar out of the house without getting caught. At least I wasn't caught for a few days! Anyways, my friend was able to take the guitar, get it all cleaned up and tuned. We purchased a new case and some hardware to hang the guitar on the wall. My friend also threw in all the necessary things needed to play and I was able to get it back from the shop in time for a great Father's Day present. Jason was completely on to me, but I didn't really care. I knew that this guitar meant a lot and I wanted it fixed up for Jason.

Jason is a great Daddy to our Abby Kate, Joshua, and Jackson. I am thankful for the husband and father that Jason is to our children and to me. We are all blessed beyond measure because of Jason.

Father's Day 2011
This guitar is a very special one, because it belonged to his father.

Jackson was eager to give Daddy's guitar a little strum.

We were able to grab lunch out at Cracker Barrel. I'm not really sure how well Joshua can play checkers now, but it was here that he learned from his daddy today.

Happy Father's Day to one of the greatest!
We love you!

Friday, June 17, 2011

What I'm Loving

I was thrilled to get an iPad 2 for my birthday gift and have enjoyed using it when I can steal it away from the kids. They love playing on it any chance they get. Jackson is especially fascinated with the camera and video. I have lots of strange pictures and several short videos of him being silly. I am still amazed at all the kids can do with technology. I purchased my first iBook last night and have already begun reading my new story.

A few years ago while Jason was away at the Pepperdine Lectureships, he brought home a shower gel from The Body Shop for my Mother's Day gift. I had never used this shower gel before, but instantly fell in love with it. I bought a new bottle sometime last year and have been using it sparingly to make sure I don't run out. It is my absolute favorite and the next time I head up to Nashville, I will be sure and make a pit stop at The Body Shop to snag another bottle of this shower gel.

I've been able to manage my time wonderfully during this vacation from school. Who would think that one could be so happy with having a clean house, the laundry washed, folded and put away, and all of the dishes cleaned and put away. My OCD self is loving the extra time that I have to check off my to do list and enjoy the rest of my day relaxing because the "chores" are completed. Since being home, I've been able to reclaim my kitchen cabinets, my pantry, the office, my bookshelves, the linen closets, the kids' closets, my closet, and the playroom. It feels great putting my organizational skills to good use. I love a well cleaned and organized home! It makes me feel so happy!

Books! I love having all the extra time to READ!!! This year, I've really been able to allow for some extra time to read. Now, I'm nowhere close to Jason's level of book reading, but I'm very proud of my small accomplishment. I added up the books that I've read since Christmas the other day, and after my most recent read, I will have read 10 books! (Some of these are from my trip to Africa, where I had a LOT of time on the plane to read.)  I have two more on my shelf waiting for me and the one on my iPad, so that will give me 13 books read here within the next couple of weeks. Now, if October would hurry up and get here so that I could go ahead and get my hands on Nicholas Sparks' newest release.

I never would have guessed that this day would be here so soon, but I am a mother that is now listening to my daughter's music. Whenever we get in the car to go somewhere, I am instantly the van DJ. I can't process the requests quickly enough for my little girl. I've taken a big liking to Taylor Swift's most recent album. I especially love singing along with "Dear John" and "Mean" and the list could seriously go on and on. There is something about seeing an artist perform live that really draws me in as a devoted fan. I can't wait for Abby Kate to get Swift's "Fearless" album here in a few short weeks for her birthday. I'm sure that I'll be learning all the words to the songs on that album too.

There is a story behind this little gem. I am pretty much a creature of habit. I like my routine and I don't really change things up too much. But, I've branched out a little at Bath and Body Works and happened upon a new scent to add to my mix - Twilight Woods. Awhile back, I treated myself to the Twilight Woods body cream. I loved it! I even decided to take it with us to Seattle, but made a small error when checking our bags and it was taken away at the security checkpoint. A BRAND NEW bottle!!! (There is a HUGE story behind that, but I won't bore you with all the details. Needless to say, I was not a happy camper when I ended up losing $40 worth of product at that checkpoint. It was my mistake, but I am still not over that one. Not when I am a little crazy about saving money and I had to essentially throw away all that stuff. Well, I guess that I did give you a little more detail than I intended. It's still a sore spot.) Well, I decided to buy another bottle and I accidentally left that bottle at the beach! One would think that I am not supposed to have this little jewel, but I made another trip to Bath and Body Works today and purchased 3 new bottles! I'm hoping that I will be able to actually use these bottles of lotion.

Lemonberry Slush from Sonic!!! I discovered this sweet treat a couple of years ago, and had forgotten about it. That is until the other day! I love making slush runs with the kids. It's a nice, sweet, cool treat on a hot summer day. (I'm trying to see how many adjectives I can use.)

Mocha Frappuccino from Starbucks! I've traded in my Tall Peppermint Mocha for a cool summer treat! Need I say more!

Blogging! I have really enjoyed updating my blog with all of the most recent happenings in our house. I finally feel caught up with the current, so I'm looking forward to going back and documenting the exciting things we did this past fall, winter, and spring. I know that this stage of life that we are in is quickly passing and I don't want all of the wonderful memories to leave me before I have a chance to document them. I am really excited about getting "Time Out" all caught up.

 Mother's Day 2011

What I love more than anything else, is getting to spend my summer loving on my 3 precious children. We've had such a great start to this summer and we've had SO MUCH FUN! I think that I am trying to make up for all the lost summer fun from last year and I think that we are achieving that goal daily.  I am looking forward to our other fun-filled summer days!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Jackson turns FOUR!!!!

Fun Facts about Jackson

Favorite Color: Green
Favorite Food: Fries and Croutons
Least Favorite Food: Green Beans
Favorite Treat: Chocolate Brownies
Favorite Car: Toyota
Favorite Thing To Do: Play Map Road
Favorite Show: Go Diego Go! and Dora the Explorer
Favorite Restaurant: Cracker Barrel
What he wants to be when he grows up: At Church like Daddy

Turning THREE!!!

 Turning TWO!

Turning ONE!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Celebrating With Jackson

Jackson just celebrated his fourth birthday!!! I can hardly believe that my little baby is now a big four year old. He is definitely my baby and will always be! Jason had to be out in Texas over the weekend, so I packed up my little guy and headed out west while the twins stayed in Nashville with their grandparents. Here's a glimpse of the fun that we had celebrating Jackson's birthday!!!

We opened birthday presents here at home a few days before. He was so excited to get a car carrying case, books, a movie, toy story cars, and a buzz light year lazer shooter. He had also been asking for a cd player like his brother and sister already have, so we made sure to give him one for his birthday. He is thrilled to get to listen to his music before bedtime each night.

Such a happy little guy!

Jackson and I flew on an airplane from Nashville. We had our friend, Elizabeth, come along with me to help out with Jackson. She was also able to keep him for us while we attended a few dinner meetings over the weekend. Jackson was thrilled to be on an airplane again! He finally fell asleep on the bus ride over to get our rental car. 

On Jackson's birthday, Jason was tied up in meetings all day. We headed over to Fort Worth and went to the zoo! It is listed as one of the top ten zoos in America. It was AMAZING!!! We saw so MANY animals and loved every minute of it! They had penguins, elephants, giraffes, chimpanzees, orangutans, white tigers, cheetahs, meerkats, red kangaroos, wallabies, eagles, owls, rhinos, ostriches, and many more animals - they boast of having 5,000 animals!

Checking out the giraffes!

The elephants!

Jackson loved looking at all of the animals!

A statue of a kangaroo

We had fun looking in the underwater tank at the penguins and then we were able to walk outside and see the beach side penguins getting fed.

We took a break from the heat to ride the carousel. At first Jackson wanted to ride the horse, but quickly changed his mind. 

He opted instead for what he called "Santa's Sleigh".

We were able to touch the sting rays and starfish.

After being in the Texas heat and a train ride back to the entrance, Jackson caught a quick little snooze with our friend, Elizabeth.

After getting back from the zoo, we cooled off in the pool until Jason finished up his class for the day. We headed out to Chuck E. Cheese for a little play time before dinner.

Jackson had so much fun!

We ended our night with a birthday dinner celebration at Chili's.

Jackson will tell you that his cake was "massive" and "to the top of the ceiling"!

Happy 4th Birthday to my Jackson Cash!