Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Garden Update!

It seems that will all the rain we have been having, my garden is loving it and had just explodes over the past couple of weeks. It is so wonderful to see things growing and filling up the space with so much green color!!

This is a full view of my garden.
 The boys have been assigned a certain number of rows that they are in charge of keeping weed free. Lance is standing up here amongst the corn.....I think we have met the "Knee high by the 4th of July" saying!
 The sweet candy onions are doing great!
 All the way on the right is my pumpkin patch GONE WILD! I think we just might have a ton of pumpkins come this fall...I'm okay with that.
 My tomatoes are growing to be nice and bushy! I am wanting to make pizza sauce, spaghetti sauce and more salsa for sure. I am trying to think what else I could use up some of my tomatoes making. Any ideas or recipes you can throw my way?
 This is our first year trying out carrots. They seem to be doing well. I think I should have thinned them more. My kids were having a blast pulling some of them out and rinsing them with the hose and chopping them down.
 I planted some smaller sunflower in the garden they get about 3ft. To the right of those are a mix of cutting flowers.
 I LOVE zinnias I have planted lots of them. Some I planted amongst the sunflowers.
 Well I am sorry to report that my lettuce and now my cabbage have been a total loss. I don't know what it is that I don't get about lettuce (which is suppose to be super easy to grow). I can grow it beautifully.....but it seems that it is always so bitter tasting. I was told to pick it earlier this year. So I tried that, but it was still bitter.....maybe I still am not picking it early enough. It was free seed I have got...so no big loss. Some NASTY BUG went through and totally killed off my yummy cabbage I planned on making homemade coleslaw with! NAUGHTY BUG!!!! It did all this damage in a couple days...before I even noticed what was going on.....bummer!
 Sugar snap peas have also been something new to us in the garden this year. I discovered I need to plant MANY more!!!! There have been enough for us to eat right off the vine while weeding. YUM!!
 The BLUE morning glories I planted are crawling right up the fence. Just this past weekend I went back down the fence and planted more where the peas have been growing. I think the peas are almost done and then the flowers can take their place the rest of the summer.

Well I hope you gardening is growing lots of yummy things! Till next time, Happy weeding!


Monday, June 28, 2010


I wanted to give you a heads up...I have SEVERAL fun GIVEAWAYS coming up that you 'll want to get in on! One of the new requirements for the GIVEAWAY's will be to be a FOLLOWER of Gaertegang (which is what you can see on the left hand side of the screen.) So if you don't already follow us....click and take care of it now..it will save you a couple minutes later on. It is easy and simple to sign up to be a follower....if you don't already have an account through GOOGLE simply click on google and then you can. This also enables you to sign up for GOOGLE READER, where you can plug in all the addresses of the blogs you like to check in on. Whenever a blog adds a new entry it shows up in bold.....so it saves you time of checking blogs each day that don't add new content. Make sense? If you have any questions feel free to ask.


VBS Week....

 This past week was a time full of learning, playing, and lots of extra driving. Our Vacation Bible School & Day Camp occupied most of week, and what a great time we had. My two oldest went from 9a-2p each day while the VBS kids went 9a-1145a. I helped in the 3yr old room. What a fun group of kids we had. There were only 5 of them, which helped when it came to crowd control. They were very attentive and retained alot of the information that was shared with them throughout the week. I took my camera along with me on the first day to snap a few pictures....so without further delay here they are!

 Julia had to get some kitty petting in for the day before getting into the van on Monday morning.

Getting ready to head into the first day....thought this was a good time to catch them all in their yellow bright yellow shirts!
 Here are the little 3yr olds all listening closely as Miss Judy shared during Bible story time.
These sandles were Julia's favorite craft...I think had something to do with the pretty beads!
Here is Zach walking in for the program Friday night...I wasn't able to get any pictures of my older boys this week. They all had a great time....


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Rain Anyone?

Here in the Midwest we have been hammered by non-stop rain. My boys don't really object to any of it because when we get a large amount of rain in a short period of time....this happens to our side yard.

They had sooooooo much FUN! I loved sitting on the deck and watching them run and play and splash. It really is the simple things that bring such JOYS!


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Brew Crew Coffee-Mate Event!

This past Monday night I hosted a Brew Crew Coffee-mate EVENT! Coffee-mate sent me coupons to purchase some coffee creamers and share them with my guests. I then asked 5 questions of my guests and was able to share their feedback with Coffee-mate. It was so FUN to be able to do something like this with a group of girls!
 My love for Coffee-mate has just been revealed to me over the last year and a half. I was never interested in coffee before. I loved the smell, but the bitter taste was a turn off. When I stopped nursing my last baby a girlfriend said I should try coffee with creamer and sugar. That's all it took...now I am hopelessly addicted to the wonderful sweet creamy taste of my morning coffee. My favorite flavor is french vanilla....well until this event. Now I have two favorite Vanilla Caramel and French Vanilla......ohhhh so yummy!
Here is a group of girl's holding up their cups giving a "cheers" to Coffee-Mate! Miss Abby was the winner of the nice insulated tote that Coffee-Mate sent me to give away. (You can see it in the first picture.) Isn't she so cute!
We combined our fun night of Coffee-mate with card stamping. Here is one of the cards we made! I totally love the glitter/shimmer effect on the flower.
Here is the second card project we did for the night. We had so much time just spending time together without kiddos. I plan to host a monthly stamping night at my home. A great time for women to get together to share wisdom, encourage one another, and just plain laugh.


Monday, June 21, 2010

Balance Benders ~Mama Buzz Review~

I was  blessed with being able to review for a company that I already LOVE and know well. The Critical Thinking Co. has so many fantastic learning resources! If you have never heard of them....well your in for a treat. The Gaertegang was sent a  complimentary copy of Balance Benders ~Beginning (grades 2-6). The Balance Bender series is all about Logic and Algebraic Reasoning. The series uses fun puzzles to help the children develop skills to solve deductive thinking and pre-algebra problems. I really like this series because in my own public school education I don't think I ever learned these things.....which might explain why I was TERRIBLE at algebra. I want to give my children the gift of reasoning, problem solving, and have them learn all these things in a fun way. My children seem to "eat up" these books whenever we have received them.  In all honesty their not flashy, fancy, or even colorful. My kids don't seem to even notice that. They are more interested in what the puzzle is and how to find the answer. As the mom and teacher, I LOVE that these books really make them think hard and stretch them the think about things and problems they have never encoutered before.

Critical Thinking has so much more to offer besides this great new series! They have tons of "try before you buy" downloads, and printables!!! I really LOVE that they offer this on their website, because sometime I am not sure what level I need for each child. With this feature, I can print off material and have them test it out to see what level they need.

As you can tell,  I am a HUGE FAN! I plan to use several Critical Thinking workbooks in our curriculum this coming school year. Speaking of FAN you can sign up to follow Critical Thinking on Facebook & Twitter.

If you want to see in print what Critical Thinking has to offer go here to request a FREE catalog!

Thank you to Critical Thinking for providing us with  a copy of Balance Benders to review. Opinions expressed on this blog are honest and straightfoward. 

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Ohhh ME Ohhh My I think this week is gonna fly by!

I am just stopping in to tell you that I plan to be very sparse over the next week. We have lots of FUN and busy activities planned for the week that will keep me from having my down time on the computer. I am sure you might be wondering what those things are that we busy doing this week.....I'll update you next week~


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Early Summer Flowers in BLOOM!

I hope you don't get tired of seeing all my flower pictures. I love capturing the beauty of them on camera! It also helps to scrapbook what is blooming and when throughout the spring, summer, and fall. I am having an absolute blast cutting fresh bouquets for inside the house!! For the first time, I have added a cutting garden to my veggie garden. Nothing is blooming in that garden yet....but plenty in the landscaping are.......enJOY!

 Go visit here to see more JOYFUL things!

Monday, June 14, 2010

New Pictures of the Kiddos!

Last week I got my kiddos all dressed in their proper attire and we went on a mini photo shoot with me as the photographer. May I just say.....this was a tiny wee bit stressful.....okay who am I kidding...a lot stressful! I really need to just realize that when you have four kids that need to look and smile at the same time....you need nothing short of a mini miracle to get ONE good shot. I won't torture you and make you look at all of them, but here are my favorite shots of them each and then a couple group pictures.

 It turns out that this picture which I just told them to hug each other in....not pose...it my favorite. I guess because maybe it is more "real" than a posed shot. Now all I really want is a recent family picture.....I hope to accomplish that sometime this summer!

Kitten ANYONE?

 Well it's "that time". What does that mean you might wonder? Time to say good-bye to some of our beloved little kittens. We have four beautiful kittens that we are looking to give to a new loving home. These kittens are outside barn kittens at our home, but I am sure they would be nice and cozy in your home if that is what your going for.  I only have pictures of two of them to post up for you at this time, but if your really interested you can just come on over and pick out one for yourself!

Get ready for your heart to melt........
 Isn't this one such a doll? We have another one that looks almost identical but the gray is a bit lighter in color.
As you can see they are so playful at fun. They are 7 weeks and eating regular food (we don't soften it), they do still nurse from mama, but are able to drink the water we give them as well. Our 4th kitten is a calico (which I am told means she is a girl).

So there you go....feel free to comment or contact me via email if you are interested in any of them. If you are not ready for a kitten at this exact moment but would maybe like one soon....never fear....Our other cat had a litter last week. So in another 7 weeks we will have three more cutie pies that need a new home. In the mean time, my children are loving on them and kid-proofing them for you all in advance...smile....


Friday, June 11, 2010

Happy 3rd Birthday JULIA!!

 Ohhhhh Lord, how can my baby be three??? It's true my little girl is growing up so fast!

 I think this picture says it all about my little diva. She is sassy, confident, and her favorite thing beside mommy is Dora the Explorer! Here she is all decked out with a few of her b-day gifts that she got this past weekend. Dora Pj's from Aunt Janelle & Uncle Bob, Dora sunglasses and all the other fixin's from Aunt Jess & Uncle Tedd.

Dear Julia,

You are such a joy to my heart and an answer to my prayers. You have a love for books, anything PINK, baby dolls, and shoes. I think I am going to enjoy you being my shadow for as long as I can because all to soon that season in my life will be over. I look forward to leading you to know my Savior, Jesus Christ.

Happy 3rd B-day my Princess!

All my Love, Mom (& Dad)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Just For the JOY of it!!

Okay ladies (and maybe a gentleman or two) I need some input....comments....opinions...information....get the picture? I am wanting to plan a fabulous fun family friendly fiesta (aka: for trip...put that didn't start with an F)! Tell me all the places you have been and loved over the years.....maybe even places you went as a kid that were your favorite. The only criteria at this point that I can think of....it has to be in states.

Let the commenting begin!! Happy Thursday!

So planning a trip brings me JOY! Go visit Sharon's blog to see more JOYFUL happenings.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Oh Me Oh My Cherry Pie!

I got the chance to go pick some cherries on Sunday (thanks Dawn!) and so early in the week I set out to make some cherry pie filling....along with strawberry pie filling.
Here is our little illustration on making pie filling.....

 First you pick...
 Then you wash and pit them if they are cherries..cut the tops off if they are strawberries....
 For Strawberry pie filling:
In a very large pot bring 6 cups of water, 7 cups of sugar, 2-3oz boxes of strawberry jello to a boil. You do not need to stir constantly just a few times through out to help dissolve the sugar and jello mix. Bring to a boil and let boil for ONE minute. In a separate bowl, mix together 2 cups of CLEAR JELL (this is not the same things as sure jell you use for jam making) and 2 cups of water. **Also note that you do NOT want instant clear jell** Add the clear jell mix to the pot and bring up to a bubbling while constantly stirring the mix as it thickens, once it starts to bubble remove it from the heat and add 6 quarts of fruit.
For cherry pie filling follow the same instructions but use one 3 oz box of cherry jello, and one box of lemon jello.

I made a 1/2 batch of the cherry filling, because I only had a little over 3 quarts of cherries. Just cut everything in the recipe in half. It worked wonderful and was really a very fast process.

HINT: Which in turn makes the whole experience more enjoyable!I don't know about you but when I try to do the whole process from start to finish in one afternoon or day it is too much. So on the day I harvested the fruit I cleaned and topped/pitted them. I then stored them in bowls (covered) in the fridge for a few days until I could get my clear jell I needed. Splitting up the work made it seem not so overwhelming and all consuming to my day.
 I love how pretty my jars look with all that yummy filling inside them! Mmmmmm!


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Flower Update!

It's been a little bit since I updated you on what is blooming around here, so here you go......

 Does anyone know what this beauty is? I got it from the flower exchange last year...I think....I could look it up myself, but I thought I would ask you all first.
Pretty Pink Dianthis...I have several colors.

I can't remember 100% what this one is....love it though.
I have lots of lovely yellow primrose....so bright yellow...just makes me smile!
This combo was accidental. I love how it looks though....Again I do not know what the white grass is...I do like the odd color of it though....the pink flowers popping through are so adorable!

I have more blooming, but I will share them with you later!


A Belated Mother's Day.....

  I ordered these great heart shaped board books from Stampin' Up back in March, thinking they would make great Mother's Day gifts. Long story short I was unable to get them until after Mother's Day which meant they were not ready in time.....but I told the "Mom's" something special was on the way. So here us how they turned out. This first picture is of the cover...My favorite part is the cute flower I made!

 In each book I tried to include a family picture, a picture of each of the kids, and then some group shots of the kiddos. ( I refrained from showing all the pages...your welcome). I did not complete all the pages in each book so I can give them updated pictures and more pages for gifts in the near future.
  I think both my mom and mil liked them...they both said they were worth the wait. I love to stamp cards and such but I have never scrapbooked things....I am pretty happy with how they turned out.


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Making Freezer Jam....Strawberry....

We returned from camping on Sunday evening, and when my boys came in the house squealing on Monday morning I didn't know what in the world was going on. I soon discovered that they were over the moon excited because we had hundreds of strawberries waiting for us to pick them!!!! This year is our first year to harvest "our own" strawberries and BOY WAS IT FUN!!!!!

These were the pickings we reaped on Monday! I also got another 1/3 of a bushel basket on Tuesday...can I just say how amazed I have been that these plants have given us so many strawberries in our first year. I really had NO IDEA we would get so many right off the bat! Even more fun....we are just getting started there are TONS more to ripen yet.
On Monday we cleaned and topped all the strawberries. Tuesday I went to making some freezer jam and six batches later this is the result! THIRTY 10oz. jars of yummy goodness. This morning I made another 3 batches of jam. We use our jam for more than just PB&J. We use is for ice cream topping, pancakes topping, strawberry milkshakes, and smoothies. Mmmmmmm.......

Okay so I have to tell you a story behind the jars. While camping we went to several garage sales last Friday. I came upon this sale....actually we should have missed it because Hubby was not feeling well and we were on the way back to the camp site and saw this sale sign. The boys talked him into stopping at "just one more".....so we turned around and went back. I didn't find anything at the sale and neither did anyone else....except several flats of jars that were marked FREE....I picked up almost 100 jars FOR FREE!!!!! Can you tell I was just a tiny bit excited..okay maybe too excited. Even though I was super excited about this find (and can I tell you the women at the sale was THRILLED I was taking them off her hands), I didn't know this would all turn into such a God thing.

Do you know what I mean about a GOD thing? I don't personally believe in "good luck". I believe in a BIG Creator who weaves such wonderful (and sometimes not so wonderful) things together. When we discovered our bounty of strawberries after returning home....God knew they would be there waiting for us. I did already have big freezer jam plastic containers I could use, so I didn't totally NEED these personal sized jars. God chose to bless me so I can in return bless others......Once I got the jars I couldn't stop thinking about all the fun things I could do with them. I was excited that these wonderful jars would make such great gifts to give homemade goodies in. I am so thankful for such a blessing. It may seem like something so trivial to some to make such a fuss over. I am all to happy to give God the glory for everything He does in my life, especially the small things.

My next strawberry adventure is canning strawberry pie filling. I have never did it before, but it sounds easy enough....I will keep you posted! 

I am curious what is your favorite flavor of jam? I think mine is strawberry...lucky for me I know where I can get some!


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Camping Trip....

We headed out last Wednesday morning for our camping trip. I thought I would share with you some photos of what The Gaertegang does while camping........

Pushing Babies.....
 Riding Bikes....
 Being goofy...
 Racing their cars...
 Sword fighting....
 Playing Bop-It.....
 Justin messing with his IPhone.....
 Julia showing off her garage sale find...
 Zach proud as can be with his $3 skate board score!
 Lance making a shirt at the Kid's Corner....they provide LOTS of fun things for the kids to do.
 Caleb making some  fancy flip flops...say that three times fast!
 I helped Julia make a necklace..... (yes I was their....I am just the one always taking the pics....)
 And finally her is the junk.....no vacation is complete without it.......these are FREE vendor coupons  the kids got from the kids corner...Lance got a free ice cream cone......Yahoo for camping!!


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