Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What happens when you.....

What happens when you give a girly girl who loves her dresses, baby dolls, and jewelry and pretty things for her hair, and mommy's chapstick......
her very own PINK (her favorite color of course) helmet? Ohhhh the shrill of pure joy! She squealed and shrilled and jumped around like she hit the lottery.
"Hurry mama put it on me!" Yep, that is one girly girl with three older brothers.....and she doesn't want to miss out on anything they are doing for fun. I think it matches her pink shirt and pink camo pants very well, what cha' think?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Garden Update!

The strawberries, rhubarb, corn, tomatoes, carrots, onions, and green beans (what little there was) have all been harvested. I have plans for the corn stalks...I will show you that some other day. I don't know maybe it's just me being weird, but I feel like my garden wasn't really worth a whole lot this year. My corn yielded horrible for how much I planted. My green beans, lettuce, zucchini and cucumbers were okay but not worth the time and space they took up. I know the problem with my zucchini is that is just got crowded out where I had it and did not get enough sun....which equaled failure! I guess I am just having a little pity party for myself. I put so much effort and time into the garden and I was not pleased with my results with several of my veggies.The great thing about gardening is that it is all about trial and error. I will just continue to improve the soil and try different varieties next year.
The great news is that my pumpkins really did well...I think we counted 20 or so of them last week. They will great to decorate with for several weeks, then I plan to make them into pumpkin puree. Last year I did this with the pumpkins we bought and I was more than happy at the yummy things I baked up in the kitchen.
I was also super pleased with the cutting garden I planted this year. Non-stop bouquets of flowers were cut and brought into the house. My zinnias are starting to taper off now and I have been collecting the ones I would like to save for seeds for next year. (If anyone would like any zinnia seeds from me just let me know! I would be happy to share.)
My sunflowers never disappoint me either. They always put on a grand show of color against the beautiful blue sky! Overall I feel very blessed with what we were able to get from the garden this year. In 2009 we had such a over abundance of so many things, I think the two years will equal out to just enough to get through until harvest next year. If not, then it won't be the end of the world, but we are very spoiled at eating "from the garden" food....I like it that way!

I do plan to go pick up some more blueberries this week! I hope to get at least 2 more bushels of apples over the next couple weeks to make some more applesauce and apple pie filling. Our schedule is looking pretty busy so I will just have to try to work it all out....Lord willing!

How is your garden harvesting shaping up? What will you change next year? Is there a certain variety of veggie you LOVE to use each year?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

 Andi never tries to get into trouble, but somehow it always manages to find her. Living on the Circle C ranch near Fresno, California, in the 1880s--the heyday of the Old West--provides Andi with more than her fair share of adventures. Whether nearly trampling her schoolmaster on her palomino horse, Taffy, or outwitting an escaped convict, Andi's life is never boring. Her hair-raising escapades always end up teaching her valuable lessons about life, friends, and family. (Excerpt taken from circlecadventure.com)

I know I have mentioned before how much our family has enjoyed the Circle C Adventure Series by Susan Marlow, but I thought it was worth mentioning once again. Susan just recently released the sixth book in the series. If your looking for some great wholesome reading to inspire your children's imagination, you need this series in your home! 

Even though the main character in these series is a stong young girl named Andrea, don't let that stop you from getting this series for your boys...I should know I have three of them. My boys LOVE this series! They hang on every word and can't stand it when the chapter ends and they have to wait till the next day to find out what happens next. The Circle C Adventures series is truly a wholesome reading for the entire family. Whether you home school and need more books in your home library, or you want a great read aloud series that you can read a chapter each night to your kids, you won't be disappointed.

I realize it is a bit early to think about Christmas, but I like to start now and buy gifts to stash away for later. You might consider buying the whole set and saving yourself some money! Just a thought! (Just for the record, I am not getting paid to say any of this! I am just simply sharing my thoughts.)

Well I have been a little sparse around here this week. Why? We are in full swing around this house...school has begun for the year! I am super happy to report that our schooling has gone so wonderful the past two days! Shhh..don't say it to loud though...I don't want to set myself up for failure on Friday!

I have been on the fence about what to do with my five year old...to start Kindergarden with him or not....that was the lurking question. I have gone back a forth about a million times. I can list pro's and con's that are about a mile long. After discussion with my hubby...again...we decided to "Just do it". He is ready, he is able, he is willing, so why am I so undecisive? The jury is still out on that one.....So I am officially schooling 3 out of the 4 kids this year. Pray for me....wish me luck...call me crazy...I don't know which one you want to do first. I can honestly tell you I am having a good time and loving it so far (ask me in December and you might get a different answer....smile....).

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Ecostore USA Review

A couple of months ago I was contacted by The EcoStore to review products that are made from plant and mineral-based ingredients, and are also free of toxic chemicals. The two products I chose were the Dishwash Liquid (for hand washing dishes) and the Lemon Rinse Aid. These products are made from a concentrate which means you should be able to use less of the product each time and therefore stratching your dollar farther. With that being said, I was ready to try out these products and see if they could really deliver on their promises. I am all for products that are less harmful, more economical, and environmently friendly, but they have to be able to perform as well.

What I liked about the Dishwasher liquid is that is smelled really good, and it wash gentle on my hands (it didn't dry them out). I was dissapointed with the performance of the soap. It did not cut grease well, it did not lather up well, and I found that I needed to add more of this soap than I normally use. So from  my experience, I would not recommend this product.

The second product I tested was the Lemon Rinse Aid. We have soft water at our home so we don't always use a rinse aid, but when I am washing lots of plastics I like to have a rinse aid on hand. Again, I loved the smell of this product. I can not honestly say I noticed a difference between when I used the rinse aid and when I didn't.
I did receive an extra product from the EcoStore! They sent me this heavenly scented coconut bar of soap...as a thank you for waiting on my package to arrive since there were some hiccups in the shipping department. The lather was really great, it made our skin feel nice and soft, plus we all loved the smell of coconut! I loved pretending I was somewhere tropical!! So I do recommend the bar soap!

A BIG THANK YOU to The EcoStore for sending me their generous free samples to review, and for being very customer consious in their business details.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Boys & Their Toys!

Well the boys have been talking about it for a couple of months.....mom has been trying to convince them in another direction. The boys have been looking through craigslist and dreaming up which one they want....again mom has been trying to convince them to buy a different "toy".......

 My convincing didn't work....and here are the new toys the boys' picked out. The agreement with these sorts of toys around our house is....the boys have to be able to pay for them with their own money, but mom and dad pay to insure them and gas them up. I don't know what everyone does as far as rules go, but we think these investments for the kids help them to be better stewards of their toys knowing that they used their hard earned money to purchase them.
The day they brought the dirk bikes home they first had to clean them up and get them looking all sparkling....then they rode around for hours on them! I love how Hubby was able to convince me that he needed one too...ya know so he could keep a better eye on the boys while hey rode...smile. I am  not sure who is having more fun, Dad or the boys? I don't have a picture of Zach riding, but he got the 4-wheeler that used to be Lance's. He is thrilled to have is own "vehicle" to drive! To be exact, he said "Mom, this is the best day of my life! I have my own 4-wheeler...awesome!" It was so fun to see him bubbling over with so much joy.

I have been considering calling the ER to introduce myself...but I thought might be a little to forward thinking. I'll tell ya what, I never knew being a mommy to three country boys was going to be so stretching to me. I am a mama who likes to be "in control" with lack of a better term. I always have a Plan A then a Plan B....I think this is just another way of learning to cut the apron strings on my boys as they grow up. (Which seem to be happening WAY TO FAST around here these days!)

I hope you all had a great weekend of FUN at you house! I am exciting about cooler temps. here in my neck of the woods...dream weather.....LOVE IT! Happy Monday....

Friday, August 20, 2010

FREE Dave Ramsey Financial Peace Class!

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be completely debt free? Ever wondered where in the world to even start on such a journey? You can attend the first workshop in this series for FREE! You have no obligation to pay one penny nor do you have to commit to continue on with the course (but I think you would want to!) The cost of the course looks like it would be $100. I put in my local zip to see if these courses were available and there were 29 places that it was being offered!!! THAT IS AMAZING!! Go see this post if you are interested in checking out more details.

Free Better Homes and Gardens Lighting Magazine!

If your interested in a FREE MAGAZINE head over here and sign for one!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Winners of The Rubbermaid Reveal & The Layer Cakes from The Fat Quarter Shop

A big Congrats to Rose-Red for winning the new Rubbermaid Reveal.....I know you'll love it!!

Also Congrats go to Nancy Sue for being the winner of the Layer Cakes...Happy choosing!!

Thank you to Rubbermaid for providing a Reveal for the giveaway, and to The Fat Quarter Shop for genereously offering up a Layer Cake of the winners choosing!

One more thing...if you haven't voted for me yet you can click on over HERE and please do so. I need a minimun of at least 11 more...but more would be even better!

Have a great day, and come back and check the new giveaways I hope to have up soon!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Vote for ME!

I just submitted a post at the online quilt market for a chance to win some $$$$ at the Missouri Star Quilt Company. The more votes you can get the more money you can win! I would love it if you could take just a second and hop over there and vote for me! I posted My Field Trip to the quilt show.


My Field Trip to the Quilt Show

This past Saturday there was a local quilt show that was only about a half hour away from me. My wonderful Hubby said he could keep the kiddos so I was off to have some fun looking and shopping! Here are a few of the gorgeous quilts  I saw. I would estimate that the show had a total of around 75 quilts...but I am just guessing.

Again that was just a little show of some of my favorites. One of the many things I love about quilting is that you can really do projects that reflect your own style....primitive, traditional, modern, lots of color, tone on tone, ect, It is always fun to see complete projects from other people, also inspiring! It kinda makes me want to lock myself in my sewing (which is in my bedroom, not to glamous I know) and not come out for days! Since that doesn't seem very realistic in this season of my life, I will have to work on an alternative plan.

REMINDER!!! Today at NOON (Indiana time), the layer cake giveaway from THE FAT QUARTER SHOP will end.....hurry and enter now!!

Just a curious question for you all....How many of you quilt or sew that FOLLOW The Gaertegang?

Friday, August 13, 2010

An Apple A Day....

We stopped to buy a watermelon from a local gal who sells fruits, veggies, and flowers and left with two 1/2 bushel baskets of apples and a little thing of peaches. What can I say, sometimes it works out that way. This was my first time to make applesauce. I have made pear sauce a couple of years ago, but never apple. If you have never made applesauce before you might want to consider it, the whole process is VERY easy if you have a couple of the necessary tools.

Step ONE: Wash the apples. I just fill my sink to the brim with apples then add water and rinse them.
Step TWO: Grab a nice big pot and fill it a little more than half way with water and bring it to a boil.
Step THREE: Gently put the apples into the pot, put on the lid, and let them boil for about 5-6 minutes. I set my timer for 5 minutes then removed the lid to check on them, most often they needed just a few more seconds to finish up. Also remember the apples in the bottom of your pan will "crack" sooner.
* Depending on the size of your pot the number of apples will vary.....also depending on your stove the "cook time" may vary. 
*The main thing to remember:You are shooting for the apples to cook long enough to crack the skin on the apples. This process makes it so the skin just peels right off.
Step FOUR: Remove the apples from the pot and put them into a bowl for cooling. You could use a ladle, or tongs to do this. I went with the tongs option and they worked well.
Step FIVE: This step has a couple ways you can go about it....I will give you both options and then you can decide how you would like to do it.
#1 Quarter the apples and run them through the stainer as is. (This is what I opted to do most of the time...just faster this way.)
#2 Remove the peel on the apples, then quarter them and run them through the strainer. (The peels really just slide of quickly so it really doesn't add much time to the process.) I did this option the 2nd part of the afternoon when Lance came into the kitchen begging to run the strainer for me.
Step SIX: After running the apples through the strainer you can either put them into freezer containers, this is what I chose to do for this round of apples.
You can also put them into jars and pressure can them. I think I will be choosing this option next time because I am literally out of freezer space. I have filled a chest freezer (mostly meat products), and two top freezers! I do not have a pressure cooker, but my mom does. I am sure you could water bath them also without any issues.
Here is Lance happily working the strainer. This tool or something like it makes all the difference! The apples (or whatever your working with) go into the top, and the sauce comes through the stainer then out the front like you see here. It is hard to see, but on the left part of this strainer the "yuck" (skin, seeds, core, ect.) goes out the end, and then you toss in in the trash.

Out of ONE bushel of apples I was able to make 12 Quarts of apple sauce, which is so naturally sweet that you don't add any sugar to it! No preservatives, no sugar, no high fructose corn syrup (or any other junk the store bought varieties have)!!! My apples cost me $24 so that makes $2 per quart. I think it is worth the time invested to make it and know that it is good for us too. I have come to use applesauce in about all my baking....If a recipe calls for vegetable oil I substitute applesauce instead.
Lance had a good time helping me. I was glad to have him as company in the kitchen. In all, I think it took me about 4 hours from start to finish. I know for our family it was time well invested!
Next up is apple pie filling, and some more applesauce! I can almost taste that yummy pie filling...Mmmm.

Is there anything that you do differently when making apple sauce? I would love to hear from you! I bought Paula Red apples this time...it was the only apples the gal had at the time. What variety of apples do you prefer?

Happy Birthday Grandpa Gaerte!

We all rounded up our crews and met up and grandma and grandpa's house for cake and ice cream. It was yummy cake and great company!

Wow baby, that is alot of smoke!
We all went together and got him some "toys" for the garage....he thought it was great.
Wishing you many more birthday's grandpa, WE LOVE YOU!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Swag Bucks...Earn 70 points NOW!!

Oh, how I love Swag Bucks. If you’ve yet to sign up for this free rewards program, now is the best time since they just kicked off a fantastic Back-to-School event. Through 8/15, new users will earn 70 Swag Bucks when they sign up with code BackToSchool (case-sensitive). Ordinarily, new users receive just 30 Swag Bucks when they register.

If you’re not familiar with Swag Bucks, it’s a free rewards program where you can earn points for doing web searches, online shopping, taking polls and more. Just a few searches a day can help you rack up points pretty quickly. Then cash them in for gift cards, electronics, DVDs, gift sets and more.

I most recently had over $15 in Amazon gift cards that I cashed in for a new quilt book I have wanting. I would say since I have started using Swag Bucks I have cashed in almost $40 in gift cards......just for using them as my search engine.....doing everyday searches I need to do anyway! What a great bonus....I can't say enough positive things about this program.....SIGN UP TODAY and earn over TWICE the  bucks as usual....FREE MONEY awaits you!
Hurry only 4 days left!!

A Parade of Tomatoes

I decided to plant a beefy steak heiloom tomatoe in the garden this year...Wow Baby!! They are so nice and huge they have totally brought my plants to the ground...even with cages. You all know what tomatoe on the ground mean, right? Rotten tomatoes! I only lost a few....so I decided to pick all of them that were close to the ground and bring them up onto the deck to ripen.
As you can see the ones here on the end aren't to far off from being totally ready. I did harvest a bushel basket full of tomatoes yestereday on top of picking all of these, with many more waiting to ripen in the garden. I only got 4 quarts with the bunch I juiced yesterday. Small amount yes, but I was glad to break in my new strainer! After picking and washing the tomatoes you just quarter them and then run them through the strainer....the "junk" (skin & seeds) come out one end and the juice and meat come out another stainer...LOVE IT. My mom has always had one that we use when canning...this year I got one for myself.
While I wait for the rest of my yummy heirlooms to ripen...I am so giddy that I was able to fully can up the juice on my own for the first time (without my mama helping). Yep, I think it's safe to say I feel like such a "big girl" now. I will still can with my mom though, such a fun time we always have working together in the kitchen. It will be nice to accomplish small projects on my own in the mean time.

WOW! Is it Wednesday already.....ohhhh doggy...this week is flying by! Hope your week is going well, be sure to stop back again soon. Happy Garden Harvesting!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Our Wii Purchase....

Well we might be getting a bit spoiled around here lately....long story short we sold our camper and replaced with a Wii for some fun family time. I want to hear all of your opinions on the best games that your family loves to play...what are the must have accessories....what not to waste your money on.

At this point we got the console with the remotes, the Wii Resorts, and Wii Sports games, and bought an extra remote so we could play with 2 players. So let me hear it.....what are we missing?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Not sure how much you will hear from me this week. This mama is feeling really yucky...sinus/allergy stuff going on...double yuck! We are pulling together the last details of redoing our office space, which leads to much re-organizing all of our homeschool materials. We also sold our camper, so we are cleaning that out and getting it ready for a new home this weekend. We signed the boys up for soccer...Good-bye Saturday mornings....

Does anyone else wonder if summer "break" is really a break at all? I think all I have done is complete one project after another...but it is a "break" from the normal happenings I guess. It does feel great to be so productive, but I think I am ready for a REAL "break" for a little while....nice thought in theory, hope I can make it a reality real soon.

While I am trying to feel better and finish things up around here....DON'T FORGET!!! Sign up for the super awesome giveaways I have going on right now...Tell your friends to stop in and enter as well!

Happy Monday!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Emotional Benefits to Becoming Debt Free

I read this post awhile back and it was a great inspiration and encouragement. I have been wanting to post it since...I don't think I ever did, but if so sorry for the repeat. Here is the link to read The Emotional Benefits to Becoming Debt Free

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


I recently entered the word of techy with my new purchase of an 32G Ipod Touch! My hubby has the IPhone and I have been eye balling one of these babies for months. I love the fact that I can do almost everything he can do on his Iphone (minus taking pics or making calls). I don't mind not taking pics..that is why I  have my camera, and I don't need to pay the crazy cost of the monthly phone bill/media package you have to have with the IPhone b/c it really is not a need for me. Well anyway, I TOTALLY LOVE my new toy (yep Genesa..your were right!) I have had fun browsing through all the fun and crazy cool apps that are offered. 

So far I have discovered the Bump app....which enable Justin and I to sync up our calendar stuff....super cool I am still baffeled how that all works!

I think it's super cool that I could download the Textfree app (used to be $5.99, but it's free now) and now text anyone and receive text anywhere that I have a wifi connection.

Okay so this one is kinda nerdy, but I really love The Weather Channel app......I love being able to see the weather hour by hour, 36 hour, or the ten day forcast whenever I want. I never know what the weather is suppose to be since I never watch the news.

My favorite music thing in the whole world is the Pandora app. Internet radio with basically no commericals and a random mix of the artists you like. I love that you can hear all this music for FREE!! (We already have this on our home PC so I knew I would love it.)

The Funny thing is I really like the stuff that is already loaded on my IPod Touch...I love the list maker....FB at my fingertips, my email, Calendar..oh ya.... no more paper calendar! Of course having my music/podcasts with me is so priceless.....no more contact tunes of my husband's pickings and my kids liking....unless I want to listen (insert angelic singing...)

Okay, all this to say I want to hear from you about the "Must Have apps" I have mostly Free apps loaded on my toy at this point. What apps do you have that you would highly recommend?

I would love to hear any and all feedback you have to offer.....or if you have any questions about the Touch...because maybe you have had your eye on one as well!

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Rubbermaid Reveal Mop

What would you do if someone e-mailed you and asked you if you wanted to try out a new mop? Well call me crazy, but I said"Yes" instantly and was anxious to get it to try it out. I was currently using the Swifter Wet Jet....and not happy with the results I was getting, sticky floors, expensive refills, and disposable pads you also have to replace. I was interested but skeptical to see if this mop would be any different. Guess what I discovered?

I can use the microfiber pads and then wash them up to 100 times for each one!!! (It is not recommended to dry because of the microfiber fabric.) I can use any homemade or  commerical solution I want and simply refill the bottle when needed. I have been extremly happy with the cleaning results with Rubbermaid Reveal! I love that not only is this a more budget friendly cleaning tool, but that because of the mop's shape it is also very user friendly and takes little effort to complete each mopping job.
You can buy one of for your own household here Or you can enter to WIN one BELOW!!!
Rubbermaid is offering one of my readers the chance to win a REVEAL of their own!
Must be a US or Canadian resident to enter. Remember to leave a comment for each entry.
#1 Mandatory ENTRY: Be a Follower of The Gaertgang
# 2 What is your "can't live without cleaning product"?
#3 Grab my blog button
#4 Subscribe to The Gaertegang
#5 Blog, Tweet, FaceBook or email a friend about the giveaway!

Deadline for entries: Tuesday, August 17th at noon! 
A BIG thank you to Rubbermaid for giving me a mop of my own for this review!

The Fat Quarter Shop Giveaway!

 I giddy with excitement to share this next giveaway with you! A few weeks back I placed an order for some Moda fabric at The Fat Quarter Shop to complete a fall quilt I have been working on. I was so satisified with the serve I received from the company. My product came very quickly and was accurate. Of course Moda fabric is amazing...so I was thrilled with what I ordered. The Fat Quarter Shop website is very user friendly, which makes it easy to find just what your looking for. If you love sewing or quilting...they have plenty of things to drool over! Fat Quarter Bundles, Charm Packs, Jelly Rolls, Layer Cakes, Honey Buns and Turnovers. (If you have no idea what any of those are...click on the links!) I could spend endless amount of time browsing and making a wish list of things to put into my cart!! (Although I think my Husband wallet would prefer I didn't....smile!) While interacting with this great company we immediately struck up an idea for a GIVEAWAY for one of my blessed readers.....I LOVE IT when that happens!! GENEROUS COMPANIES ROCK!!

The Fat Quarter Shop is an internet only fabric store (although they sell much more than just fabric.) Quilting notions, magazines, books, patterns, quilt kits, block of the month clubs, thread, ribbon and MORE!

The ladies at The Fat Quarter Shop have offered to give away on of their fabulous layer cake bundles.
(A Layer Cake includes 40 or 42 10" squares of fabric)
Here are a few of the lines I have my eyes on......Saltbox Harvest, Pure, and Whimsy..ohhhhh I could go on and on. I know it's a fabric sickness we quilters have, but I am okay with that! If you have a weakness for yummy fabrics like I do you will be happy to know that you get FREE SHIPPING on all order $200 or more.Yippee!

The winner will get to pick "THE LAYER CAKE of their CHOICE"!!!!
(remember to leave a seperate comment for each entry)
Must be a US resident.

#1: Must be a follower of The Gaertegang....Mandatory entry
#2 Visit The Fat Quarter Shop and tell me what layer cake you might choose.
#3 Grab my Blog button
#4 Blog, Tweet, FaceBook, or email a friend about the giveaway! (one entry for each one you do)
#5 Never miss a post...Subscribe to The Gaertegang!

Deadline for entries will be Tuesday August 17th, 2010 at NOON!

Tell all your friends...come back soon!

Giveaway WINNERS!

The winner of the snikiddy giveaway was Christa M.....CONGRATS!!!

The winner of the $60 CSN Gift Card is Krissie.....Yahoo!

It has been a very busy couple of weeks for me...finishing up the fair...starting a new project here at the house...finishing that project and starting to get some things from the garden. Sorry for my non-frequent posting as of late, but rest assured I have two FAB giveaways coming up that will make up for it...smile!! I hope to have them up and running very soon!

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