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Since most of my updating is done via Instagram these days I thought I'd add a section that links to my feed. Click on any of the pictures to get an enlarged version. I hope you enjoy the pics:

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Hall Play Date

We had the Hall family come to our house for a swim/play date.  I wasn't sure if it would be too hot out, but the kids didn't seem to mind playing in the water.  Of course, we did add in a bunch of water to help cool the temp of the water down...(ha, how many times do you hear that you need to 'cool' the pool water down.)

Anyway, we apparently have a leak in our pool but it at least help up until the play date was over.  Now it is back down to it's low level.  All I can think of is that apparently the leak is higher up on the wall and when we fill it higher it leaks out until it gets to a certain level and then stops.  Otherwise, we wouldn't have any water in our pool right now...

Sorry...I digressed.

Back to the pool play date.  The Hall kids brought these great water masks that my kids much so, that the next time I was in town they were BEGGING me to get them!  Since they were from the dollar store and not that expensive, I caved.  Anything to help them learn more about going under the water and such.

So, here are a few pictures of the kids playing in the pool.  It was quite full with 7 kids playing in it, but I think overall they had a great time!

Jumping off the tramp into the water!
They had a great time with this until the tramp leg caved in...then we had to stop.

After they got done playing, they came inside and watched a movie for a bit.  I had Popsicle in the freezer, but I forgot about them, so unfortunately they didn't get a treat before they had to go home.  Maybe I will remember the next time they come over!

We had a great time - as we usually do - with the Halls ~ thanks for coming over to play!

Copyright © 2012 All Rights Reserved MMFarmlife - Melanie Schlatter

Monday, June 25, 2012

Fair Projects - Updated


A few weeks ago, Abigail asked Daddy if there was a way she could earn a little money so that she could go to the store and buy something she wanted.  Though we are not big on the idea of teaching our children to be spenders, the idea that she is wanting to earn money was a good Marion started thinking how we could work something out.

It was around this time that he came up with the idea that you can 'earn' money through entering exhibits at the fair.  If you place in a category you can earn a small cash reward.  Most departments have $3 first place, $2 second place, and $1 third place prizes.

This thought has since snowballed into a massive family wide Fair project.  Abigail will be entering eleven...yes in the youth division of photography.  I have added the photos she will enter below. When we first opened her computer file (the one we dump her camera in when it is full so she can take more) she had over 1100 photos and numerous videos.  We were able to whittle that number down to 368 actual keepable photos and then from those 20 that were Fair quality.  From the 20 we went through the divisions and picked ones that would fit in various categories and here they are:

Please keep in mind these are taken by a 6-7 year old and are not altered.

Black and White Animal Division

Colored Animal Division

Black and White Building Division

Colored Building Division -
we did crop this picture down closer...still within the rules

Black and White Landscape Division

Miscellaneous Division

Black and White People Division

Black and White Still Division

Colored Still Division

Colored Landscape Division

Colored People Division
In addition to these entries, she will have three baking entries that she is doing with Grandma Schlatter, and hopefully three sewing projects she is doing with Mommy - if we get them done.  I'll try to post pictures of those if I get a chance to take them.

Here is a picture of Abi's first attempt at a potholder.  She has made these before with a slightly different pattern.  This one has a third fabric that you create a 'peek' hole to see.  

Front side with peek a boo center.

Back side - you can see we didn't quite make a square with our quilting.
We will probably try making a few more of these to see if we can get it a bit better for the fair.  I truly walked her through the steps but let her 'do' it all.  I wanted it to be truly hers!  So...if you are can probably expect a potholder for Christmas!  (hehehehe)

In addition to these entries, Nathan will be taking a Bucket Calf and Pullet Chicken. Jonny will be taking a kitten, and Mommy will be taking some photos of her own. Marion hasn't decided what if anything he will be taking, but he might do a jar of wheat or something.

Fair 2012 is from July 19th - 23rd.  I'll try to do an update post with as many photos as I can with the results of how everyone does!

Copyright © 2012 All Rights Reserved MMFarmlife - Melanie Schlatter

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Update on Baby Sarah

So we had our 30 week appointment in Partridge this week.  It was a bit different as Marion had to work in the fields and so I went down with Elizabeth, Jonny and E, while Abi and Nate went with Grandma Schlatter to Summer Reading for the day.

Our trip down turned into quite the adventure as we forgot to fill up with gas and I took a wrong turn and ended up in Tipton, Kansas.  We had never gone to Tipton before, so I knew I was not in the right place.  I called the Farmer and he told me he thought we'd be okay without back tracking but to look at the map...but we didn't have a map!  We searched the whole van and didn't find one, so we turned around, went the few miles back to Tipton and drove around to see if we could find a gas station.  We ended up finding the unmanned Coop pump and was able to fill up. I believe our gas tank holds 20 gallons and the pump said I put 19.6 we REALLY needed gas.  Then I made my way to the Tipton Post Office to ask for directions. As it works out, we were directed to go a different route and found that if we had taken the original route we would have ended up detouring a LONG ways out of the way.  So the Lord blessed us and we ended up going the right way.

Anyway, once at Heidi's we chatted for a bit and she was pleased with the changes and progress we'd made in the eating/weight department.  Sarah's heartbeat was at 152 and my blood pressure was still doing okay.  This was the appointment where I get my blood work done, so I'm waiting to hear back from that, but I really think we'll be okay.  Heidi had a helper there and both agreed that Sarah was head down now and anterior in position.  Overall we had a great report and we are set to go to every 3 weeks in appointments now.

Overall, between seeing the chiropractor, changing my eating and losing some weight (not too much here we are trying to balance that), I am having the best third trimester of all my kids.  I feel more energetic and though I still have to watch how much I do, I feel so blessed!

Copyright © 2012 All Rights Reserved MMFarmlife - Melanie Schlatter

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Fish and Beans...Who Knew?

Oh my....I have found a new love.

I revamped this Mexican Fish and Chips recipe I found and oh my goodness was it delish! The Farmer said it was an $80 meal at least!!! (and for any of you who don't know, that is a big complement...he often rates my meals by how much he'd have to pay for them if he went out to eat...of course the higher the better but I've rarely gotten an $80 price tag!)

I wish I would have taken a picture of it to show you, but as usual blogging about the meal was an after thought. I never seem to know ahead of time that what I am doing will be blog worthy needing pictures. So, I will just have to wait until I make it again to get a picture and then come back and update.

So what is this recipe?

Take an onion, slice it and start simmering in olive oil on medium heat. Add fish fillets (I used cod this time - still frozen). Sprinkle with garlic and fresh chopped cilantro (thanks mom...I found a use for the fresh stuff). Let that cook just a bit and then add in some frozen mixed veggies (I used an Italian blend this time but I'm sure any blend would be fine) and cover. Let that all cook until thawed and fish is slightly flakey. Then turn fish over until completely cooked.

Meanwhile, open a can of pinto beans and drain and rinse, dump plain beans into food processor. Add in a couple tablespoons of melted butter and blend until smooth. Transfer to microwave safe dish and cook for 1-2 minutes.

When everything is cooked, put a 1/2 cup portion of beans topped with a fish filet (we used 1/2 a filet for the kids and a full filet for the Farmer and myself). Then put sour cream, guacamole, and salsa on top. Add the veggies to the side and top with salsa if you'd like. The real flavor kicker is the fish and beans but the whole meal was amazing in my book!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Harvest 2012

Half way through....
Nathan waiting for his turn riding with Daddy on the Combine.

Can you believe it...June 12th and we are at least 1/2 way through with Harvest 2012.  I believe I heard the Farmer say that we have about 3 days of cutting left (I might be off on that as we were talking at 10:30 last night and I was a bit sleepy).  

This year has been so ODD.  The Farmer actually took the combine out and did his first test cutting on MAY 30!  ***I think he did this mostly just to say that he had actually cut wheat in May...but nonetheless...the fact that it was even slightly ready to cut was amazing***  If I remember correctly, he first tried the soybean wheat and it was at a 15 moisture on the 30th of MAY!  They officially started cutting that field a few days later on June 1st I believe.  It wasn't the best wheat we have, but it was ready!

Officially, I would say that Harvest started on June the 4th...but that is just me because that is when they started trying for every day!  By June 6th, they were able to find enough dry wheat to harvest every day consecutively! pick...June 4th or June 6th...either is EARLY June!

New Combine.  It is Bigger...It is Flexible...It is the Farmer's new toy :0)
 Since VBS was the last week when they really started cutting, we didn't get out to the field much that week.  And then there was the recovery from VBS and stomach flu in JUNE so today was the first day we actually got to the field to see Daddy cutting with the new combine.  (I do think Nathan got to go to the field once previously with Grandpa and ride for a bit but no one else had.)

Loading up...the Boys have their lunches!

Uncle Mark is here helping with the Harvest!  We are so blessed to have him here as an extra person to help with moving, hauling, trucking, etc.  Not to mention I think the Farmer enjoys having him ride combine with him from time to time - great brotherly bonding time!~ (I think Uncle Marvin would love to be here but since he works at a grain elevator...he's kinda tied up during harvest time!  But we are blessed to have Uncle Marvin come to help with the when Jonny broke his leg....Uncle Marvin came to help Grandpa finish working them.)  I can't say enough - though I know I don't say it as often as I should - how blessed we are to have a family that works together!
Here Unlce Mark is taking the loaded grain cart up the hill to Grandpa
who is waiting with the truck.
Here are the traditional Daddy on the combine with the kids pictures.  We can't have official harvest pictures without one of has been neat to look back and see how these pictures have changed through the years.  By the time Sarah is old enough, we just might have to start utilizing the stairs more to see everyone...LOL!

Had to get the 6088 in there to show the new combine....

Daddy was making them laugh about 'cheese'
I was waving at them trying to get Ethan to look at me!
We left Nathan and Jonny with Daddy for a bit of riding/bonding time.  They each packed a lunch and were so very excited to be 'harvesting like daddy'.

Nathan helping to shut the door!

Off they go to cut some wheat!
Look at that massive header...I know they make bigger ones, but I'm just not used to it yet!

Here they go.....
After we watched them get off to a good start, Abi, Ethan and I went up the hill to see Grandpa and Uncle Mark.  I got there just after he stopped loading the truck.  By the time I got stopped and focused, Uncle Mark was already putting the tarp on. Apparently this wheat is going to town instead of in the bins.

See Uncle Mark...way to the left!

Here Uncle Mark and Grandpa are 'conferencing'.  
So...Harvest 2012 is quickly being completed and the Farmer said that the fields are doing much better than the first soybean wheat field.  Amazingly, they are all averaging very close to the same yield...though he didn't tell me what that was so I can't say!  But it must not be too bad as he is pleased with how things are going.

Now I'm off to take a nap while Ethan is sleeping, Abi is reading, and the boys are occupied...for those also harvesting...HAPPY HARVEST!

Copyright © 2012 All Rights Reserved MMFarmlife - Melanie Schlatter

Thursday, June 07, 2012

VBS 2012

After much prayer and talking, we decided that once again I will be helping out at VBS this year!  Our theme for 2012 is SKY and with the preschoolers, we are doing the SKY Treehouse!  So, my challenge was to come up with something that looked like a treehouse...
see the tree branches????
Honestly, I told the Education committee that I'd be happy to help but that things might not be as intense as previous years.  So, they provided me with two adult helpers and two teenage helpers.  I still did most of the planning but they really carry the day off!

Story Time Area
This year we have 19 three and four year olds (including Ethan).  Usually we  have some 5 year olds, but this year we decided 5 year olds can go up stairs and we'll see how it goes with just the 3s and 4s!

Preschoolers always love the attendance chart!
Each day we put up a theme sticker to help us remember who our buddy is and
what the theme for the day is!

This year, our 'crafts' are more like experiments that the kids can take home and do there.  So I got these little boxes to keep all their stuff together until Friday. 

Each box has their name on it and it has worked great to have everything kept  together.
 Even though I have had Faith Karg with me each day (she is my teenage helper until my cousin Elizabeth gets here), Ethan can be a handful.  Faith came up with this great plan to make a tape road for him to drive his cars on behind the walled off area.  He goes back there and plays during portions of the VBS day!

Sometimes it is hard to keep the older kids out of his play area,
but most of the time he gets the room all to himself!
I have so thoroughly enjoyed helping with VBS each year!  I know it is alot of work and usually pretty tiring, but well worth the investment.  This year, my friend Marla and I are both expecting and so we have been keeping each other motivated and encouraged!  ( is Marla who is keeping me motivated...she has such great energy for being only 6 weeks behind me!)

Truly, I am doing GREAT!  I actually have been feeling better in the last few weeks than I did during the whole second trimester I think.  I am crediting the chiropractor and massage therapy for that...along with the food changes I am making.  When they all go together I just FEEL SO MUCH BETTER!  (of course, if I eat something that doesn't go so well...well...let's just focus on the good parts! :0)

Copyright © 2012 All Rights Reserved MMFarmlife - Melanie Schlatter

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Naturally Flavored Water

So my SIL introduced me to this new idea...and I'm loving it!  

If you click on the link below the picture, it will take you to the site that tells you all about it, but basically it is water that is infused with fruit and herbs.  I tried a Strawberry Mint infusion and it was AMAZING!  I actually liked it a bit better when it was first mixed (only a few hours of infusion) than I did after it sat for a day, but it was still yummy both times!

My next one is going to be a citrus infusion to see if I can use up some grapefruit I have in the house.  I might have to add a bit of sweetness from Stevia on that one!  But we'll see...I'm going to add in lemons and grapefruit and maybe some limes!  I've also thought about trying the pineapple mint one as I have lots of mint growing in my barrel outside my door.

I am SO excited about the endless possibilities to making water infusions...especially since we are trying to cut out juices, sodas, and other sugary drinks!  This was a very TIMELY discovery and I am so very grateful for it!  Thanks K!

Naturally Flavored Water

Copyright © 2012 All Rights Reserved MMFarmlife - Melanie Schlatter

Saturday, June 02, 2012

TRULY Healthy Ice Cream - Naturally Sweetened - Dairy Free - Kid Approved!

UPDATE:  This was pretty good the day of, but it wasn't so hot after it had been frozen...I revived it a bit by adding in some regular milk and more ice to thicken it again.  Next time I will definitely use regular milk/cream! 

Okay, so are you curious yet?

In our efforts to cut out white sugar (and man-made sugar substitutes) I came up with a naturally sweeten ice cream for the kids today!  (YAY...I can even eat this!  lol)

1 banana
1 c pineapple
2 scoops protein shake - probably could have just done 1 - I'm learning
1/2 c almond milk
1/2 c frozen mixed berries (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries)
Ice to 'freeze' if needed

Start by cutting up a banana and some fresh pineapple (I'm sure you could use canned if it doesn't have sugar added).  Freeze.

Once frozen (we were a bit impatient so we jumped the gun here, but since it went off so well I will now keep frozen bananas and pineapple in our freezer), put in food processor with 2 scoops protein shake* (this is the protein shake I used), and 1/2 c almond milk**.  Blend.

Ours was pretty runny still, so I added in some frozen berries we had to thicken it, and then some ice while the food processor was going.  This is what it looked like when I took the cover off:

thick and creamy!
Then I scooped it up in the bowl:

soft serve!
 After the kids had a chance to try it I asked them what they thought:

Two Thumbs UP!
Abi did say it was "different" but not a bad different she clarified!

I think this whole thing would be amazing with heavy cream...but thing at a time.  That is why I added the protein shake with the almond milk...if I was going to do this dairy-fied...I'd just do frozen fruit and cream.  There is a recipe for 5 Minute Ice Cream on but it uses 1 c of sugar.  So I adapted the recipe. I think the choice of banana and pineapple make it sweet enough without added sugar! AND if we would have waited until they were truly frozen, we wouldn't have had to add in the ice or berries.

It was fun for the kids to watch as the food processor whipped it thicker and thicker!

The best part...not only did I sneak into my children protein and nutrients, but I also gave them an allergy reduced treat...that I could eat too!

According to MyFitnessPal, here is the breakdown for 1 cup of this treat is:

Calories 31gCarbs 4gFat 0Protein 3gNatural Sugars 3g
If you go down to one scoop of protein, it drops the calories to 24, and the protein to 2g...the rest are the same.

*you could skip this part I think, but I wanted the extra protein/energy/stamina from it
**you could use regular milk or even cream here, but I've cut out dairy for a season to see if I'm allergic to it.

Copyright © 2012 All Rights Reserved MMFarmlife - Melanie Schlatter