Sunday, August 23, 2015

Swiss National Day

August 1st is Swiss National Day!  It will always be a 'Remembrance Day' for us now of our time there.

Five years we lived there.  FIVE years!!  How is that even right?  It's crazy, that's what it is.

Taken in the month we got there:

And the month we moved:

Here is a video I made of many of the pictures I took while we were there.  Brett cannot even watch it because it makes him too sad that we're not there anymore.  I don't think it would take too much for him to be ready to move back.  :)  (Make it big, and watch it at highest quality.)  Please watch it!!

We kind of miss some things about Switzerland, but for me, it's so very very easy to fall back into the ways of America that it's almost like coming back from a vacation to what 'real life' is, and it's almost surreal that we were ever truly there.  By now, 10 months of being back, I don't even remember to be grateful most of the time for big parking lots and my big refrigerator and freezer AND extra freezer in the basement, and washer and dryer right in my house.  It's all so natural.  I love being able to know where to go to get something that I need, or being able to ask cashiers or teachers or whomever when I need to find something out and they understand me because they speak English.

But sometimes, when something pops up, like I finish off a roll of dental floss that I bought in Switzerland and am reminded of our time there, or particularly when I look at the photos of the gorgeousness we lived in, and all the beautiful places we got to travel to, or Brett and the kids speak Swiss German together, I am wistful about those good points.  And I'm really really really grateful for the chance we had to live there.

And here are some pictures from the Swiss National Day celebration we found in Pittsburgh.  It was for the American-Swiss Society or something like that.  We got to dress up all patriotic with anyone who had a Swiss shirt or hat wearing it (although Hazel's is pink which kind of throws things off but still looks cute on her).  

The kids were just really cute in the car so I took lots of pictures on the way.

There were a few people actually from Switzerland there, so Brett did get to speak a little bit of Swiss German.

There was a Steinstossen, which means Stone Toss, and I got second place out of the women (and then after the competition was over and I went back and tried again, I did beat the other woman who had beaten me).

And Brett beat the men by SOOOO much.  There was honestly about four feet between his and the next farthest throw.

So, it was okay, but much like a party you go to and don't know anyone at and everyone else is drinking, well, we won't be sad if we miss it next year.  Or any year after that.  We'll just celebrate at home with friends.  :)

Front Room

Lindsay Ann is awesome.  One of the many reasons she is awesome is that she truly thought it was a fun idea to help me paint my front room when she was here visiting.  It was sooooo great of her, particularly because I probably wouldn't have gotten up my courage to do it on my own for another 2 years or so.  :)

It turned out sooo great!


 Lindsay Ann cutting.  She was such a pro.

Our samples.  We went with the lightest.

And after:

And then this is what I posted on Facebook.
I felt so sooo SOOOOO awesome today when-- with the help of my amazing sister-in-law Lindsay, I finished painting my front room, including the trim and then I went to Lowe's and picked up new plug-ins and light-switches so I could change them to white. I watched a youtube video of how to change them out, I made Jethro watch it too, we turned off the power and changed every stinkin' plug-in in the room and the light switch. I even forced Brett to give me compliments because I was so awesome. And then I flipped the breaker back and tried to turn on the light and ...nothing. No light, no power. And now I just feel lame. And sad. And pathetic.

Anyway, Brett figured out what I had done wrong (which was  leave some open instead of connected to something even though we weren't going to be using them) and fixed it in a jiffy.

I'm so happy about my beautiful blue room!  And someday I might even get some more seating in there so when visitors come we don't have to sit on the floor, and a mantel and a few decorations up.  But seriously, I just painted the walls.  I can rest on my laurels for a good year at least.  :)

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Pictures of Flowers and Vegetables

You know, having a garden was really fun!  And I'm not saying that to sound cool or anything, it really was pretty awesome.  It rained pretty much every day near the beginning, so it really flourished right off the bat.  Once the daily rain was finished, it did start to go downhill because we didn't water it (but that was because we became extremely worried about running out of water in our well after the alarm sounded one day and we had to become hyper conservative for a while, and we did go get water from a kind neighbor's hose once or twice, but really, after that we just let it kind of die out).

Anyway, we got a lot of good stuff.  I'm not sure if I posted about how much zucchini and yellow squash we were getting --it was pretty crazy ridiculous.  We did shred and freeze a lot of it, and ate a lot of it, and gave away a lot of it, so it was good.

My pea plants actually gave quite a lot more peas than I thought they would for just the few plants that I had.  Yay for peas!

A gnarly edit on some of my flowers.

We got a ton of cukes for a while, which wasn't that exciting to me (because I don't love cucumbers much at all) until I discovered this salad recipe and become an addict and ate it every night:

1 large tomato chopped
1 large cucumber peeled and chopped
1 bunch of fresh parsley chopped (parsley, not carrot tops as Hazel brought me back from the garden one day when I sent her out for some)
1 avocado chopped (optional --I like it both with or without)
1/2 a package of Queso Fresco (aka Mexican crumbling cheese) chopped/crumbled  (feta is also a delicious option)
Cavender's Greek seasoning, to taste

We had the tomatoes, cukes, and parsley from our garden so it was awesome.

These red potatoes are DEEEEElicious!!!  I'm not lying!

Besides vegetables, we also like to grow birds in our garden.  I saw this nest snuggled in one of my tomato plants one day:

Speaking of eggs, our chickens have started laying!  (Our ducks too I imagine, but we don't know where--probably out in the woods--so until we get our bigger shed with the nesting boxes for them all, we probably won't see them.)  It's so exciting!  Our hens really like to come in the garage and sit between the wall and a board we have propped up where they feel nice and cozy to lay their egg.  Once, Talmage came out to the garage and accidentally scared it out, and it layed an egg on the run!  (Don't worry, we're really close to getting them their bigger house with nesting boxes, I promise.)

The zinnias and cosmos exploded and are beautiful.

The green beans from our garden were delicious too.

These are the horrible bugs that are eating some of my flowers, particularly the dahlias.

The melons weren't amazing, because of water issues stated above, but they were okay.  Some of our watermelons have been blah, and some have actually been tasty.

Our corn didn't actually taste that great.  I don't know why.

These little beauties are delicious!  As soon as we got the fence up and kept the rabbits and whatever else out of them, we get yummy little strawberries to go out and pick every day and they are SOO good, albeit scrawny!

I have bottled about 19 quarts of tomatoes from the garden now, even though a couple of our plants had kind of bad fruit (particularly the beefsteak for some reason), and we have been eating toasted tomato (and sometimes bacon) sandwiches for lunch, dinner, and dessert every day practically!  I loooooove toasted tomato sandwiches with all of my little heart!

I also made some pints of zucchini salsa, made and froze some vegetable medley soup, and have a big box of potatoes down in the storage room and quite a few pie pumpkins.  I think that's about it.  The tomatoes are still coming, but most everything else has kind of died, and we never did get any of our peppers because they died in the drought.

I couldn't actually believe just how big of a bouquet I got out of my very own garden!  I was so pleased with it.

And look, the eggs hatched and the baby birdies were nestled all snug in their nest.  They've since grown and moved out--they grew SOO fast.

One day I felt a little sad so I went into my garden and picked myself a bouquet and it was lovely.   (Yes, I do realize all my bouquets look quite similar since they're all the same kinds of flowers.)

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