Jul 31, 2015

More Fig Tree Love

I didn't think it was possible, but I am more in love with our Fig tree than ever before. Why you ask? Because I've actually been able to harvest some figs and have been playing around with fig compote or fig jam recipes. The thought of the scent the jam fills our house with brings a smile to my face. Even Cameron remarked on it during my first attempt. The best way to describe the scent is to simply say "Christmas". If you think about Christmas and the scents associated with it, that was how our house smelled the very first time. 

The ability to harvest actual figs from the tree happened on a whim. We knew the tree had fruit on it, but upon last check, it was all green. Sunday, Cameron was heading out on an errand and surprised a flock of birds out of the tree. That's when he noticed some figs has turned. We've read the key to making the most of the figs on a fig tree is to get to them early - otherwise the birds will decimate the crop before you have a chance. Cameron came in before leaving on the errand to tell me the time was right. 

Luckily, I was already processing the most recent harvest from our summer garden any how, so adding figs to the mix wasn't an issue. I was able to get about 2 lbs of Figs off that first harvest. I am now going out every other day or daily getting the just ripened fruit off as quick as I can. The birds still have plenty, as the tree is almost as tall as the house, which means I can't reach the upper branches. Maybe if I had a ladder but that's more fruit than I can process any how. 

Now I'm having fun testing jam/compote recipes. I may even try drying some of the figs and then using in a Fig Bar recipe I found on MarthaStewart.com!

I've already told Cameron he either needs to find a way to keep my fig tree or plant me a new one now so when the day does arrives that I have to say goodbye to this one, I have another one to love!

Jul 15, 2015

Roasting Pumpkin Seeds

What does one do with a bunch of out-of-season, beautiful pumpkins? That was the question I asked after we harvested all our June pumpkins a few weeks back to help push the pumpkin vines to produce new pumpkins in time for the Fall decorating season. 

One of my co-workers suggested making roasted pumpkin seeds. Duh! The answer was so simple, yet I hadn't even thought about it.  

So, when I was growing more and more antsy from being cooped up in the house over the 4th of July weekend while we worked with Sydney on potty training, I decided it was now or never with the pumpkins. The pumpkins were still outside and it had been around 105 degrees for a week at this point. They wouldn't last another week if I waited. 

Cameron and I took turns bringing in the pumpkins and then I set about the task of carving out the top and scooping the seeds out. Sydney shocked me by wanting to help. This is a child who won't break an egg when we bake or cook because the one time she did, she didn't like how the egg felt on her fingers. I'd figure pumpkin guts would be just as bad. Nope. She went so far as to rub the guts all over her legs! But, hey, we had fun. And it was actually her first time "carving" pumpkins since we moved away from a neighborhood before her first true Halloween. There's no need for carved pumpkins out here. 

We harvested a lot of seeds that day. I even harvested the seeds from the green and white pumpkins. Probably won't do that again. Turns out these seeds don't roast well. They come out a bit chewy. 

I did have fun playing with various seasonings, finding a nice garlic seasoning recipe online and creating my own BBQ seasoning based off a BBQ sauce recipe we like. And you can never go wrong with simplicity - a little olive oil and salt. Sadly, the ranch seasoning I found online didn't translate well nor did the spicy recipe. Oh well. 

It's took me two days to complete the roasting process. Day 1 was spent gutting the pumpkins, cleaning the seeds (which included boiling them for 10 minutes), mixing the seasonings and roasting in the oven for 20 minutes. Not all seeds on each tray were coming out completely roasted so on Day 2 we finished them off in the dehydrator.

Delicious! We've been enjoying snacking on the successful seasonings ever since. We made sure to vacuum seal the majority of the seeds so they won't go stale or bad before we can get around to eating them.

Jul 10, 2015

Front Yard Update

Check another actual project off our 2015 Project List!

(The first project we checked off was boxing the girls swing set in and adding rock.)

(What does that say about us? We get super excited when we actually finish a project. And trust me the list of started, yet unfinished projects is a little excessive.)

Oh well....we finished another. Yippee. The front yard is done. Stick a fork in it...for now.

We do plan to add more plants over time, among other things, like extending it out more to the right when you face the house.

But today we are erasing it off the white board in the kitchen, because Cameron finished laying the white rock around the boarder from left to right, over Father's Day weekend.

The white rock boarder definitely adds the finishing touch and ties in the white arbor, don't you think?

Now to revisit the list of unfinished projects for another to check off.

Jul 7, 2015

Post-Potty Training Update with Sydney

I believe this is a pretty good indicator of how well our 3-day potty training crash course with Sydney went over the July 4 holiday weekend: She headed off to daycare on Monday with underwear on (along with several changes of underwear, shorts, socks and shoes)! And she did again today! 


Overall the weekend didn't feel as stressful as I remember London's first attempt being. I'm not sure if that has to do with the timing, Sydney's readiness as compared to London at the time, my readiness for this transition to take place or by the simple fact that I could care less about the damage to the carpet in the house since it's already pretty bad. 

Friday was 50/50 whether or not Sydney made it to the toilet or had an accident. The guiding light on Friday, though, was that she was successful in pooping in the toilet. That had been the biggest hurdle for London that first weekend. 

In fact, Sydney never once had an accident pooping all weekend. She still hasn't. Sure, we may have to visit the toilet 20 times in an hour before actual success in this area because she's tooting (being constipated one day didn't help; she got a lot of juice the next day), but I'm just proud she was able to recognize the need to go. Once, she even called for me from the bath because she had to go (the quickest way to alleviate constipation in my kids is a warm bath).

Sydney was also much more receptive to positive re-inforcement than London was at the time. She loves getting a Skittle (or two or three) and a high-five after a successful trip to the bathroom.

On Saturday, the successful trips to the bathroom slightly tipped the scales over accidents and, then on Sunday, we only had one accident!

I know there are more accidents to come. She had two at daycare yesterday. But I know complete success doesn't happen overnight (or in 3 days) but the 3 days definitely helped establish a foundation. Diapers (for now - until they run out) and pull ups are still in our future for nap and bedtime, but call me pleased and relieved to see Sydney taking this next developmental step. I know Cameron and I are both looking forward to fewer diaper changes.

We will be limited on the length of family outings for a little while so that success can continue and we'll begin seeking out where a bathroom is located as soon as we arrive somewhere again so we can make a quick trip if need be. Plus, I need to start making sure to pack spare changes of clothes on those outings for when accidents do happen. But we're headed in the right direction toward a diaper & pull up free life!

Jul 2, 2015


This evening started with London's swim lesson. Before we sent her up to her Grammi's we wanted to do something fun as a family, since the rest of us would be holed up at the house the rest of the weekend. I've been dying to see the new Disney Pixar movie "Inside Out" and given going to a movie when Sydney is newly potty trained could prove tricky, and confusing if we were to put a pull up on, we decided we better go tonight. 

After London's swim lesson we picked Sydney up from daycare and headed to the theater, grabbing a quick bite to eat right before. Of course, we did get popcorn at the movie too. 

"Inside Out" was fantastic. It definitely takes you through the emotions! And Sydney did great. At one point she said something in response to the movie and everyone in the theater giggled in response. Luckily, it wasn't a packed theater and most people had young children with them as well. 

But the best part of the night happened when we got home. See, when we picked Sydney up from daycare to go to the movie, she had a dry diaper. And she was still dry toward the end of the movie. She then made it all the way home and on to the toilet where she peed! 

I can't ask for a better way to start the potty training weekend then a successful attempt on the toilet before it has even begun! Now I'm trying not to be too optimistic for the weekend. I'm sure there will be some failures too. But I am so proud of my little girl right now!

Another First Attempt at Potty Training - Sydney's Turn

With how busy I have been at work, and how busy we have been at home I am looking forward to the three-day holiday weekend. Except, I'm also dreading it, just slightly.You see, we've designated this weekend to be our first attempt at potty training with Sydney. Not that I'm not looking forward to spending three quality days with her, it's just, I remember how disastrous our first attempt with London was. You know, that time that the dryer died in between loads of laundry.

It's funny, in preparing for this weekend, I went to re-read that post. Sydney was about 4 months old, yet I don't mention her anywhere in it. I have to think I didn't mention her just to keep the focus on London, but what did we do with her while we focused on London?! For the life of me, I cannot remember. And the worst is, I don't recall her being there that weekend.

London will not be with us for Sydney's first attempt. We were worried that all the attention Sydney will be getting would make London jealous, which would then result in London doing her best to distract us from the task at hand. 

Thankfully, Grammi is coming to the rescue. London will be heading north to spend the long weekend with Grammi as well as her aunts, uncles and cousins celebrating the holiday while Cameron and I stay home with Sydney. London is already elated about the special 1:1 weekend with Grammi. 

I figured if the three days are successful (thinking positively) with Sydney then we can introduce sibling rivalry distraction into the equation. But first, I want to keep the focus on Sydney and getting her transitioned from diapers/pull ups to underwear.

Sydney is definitely ready for the transition. She shows an interest in using the potty but doesn't quite grasp the concept. And she can definitely communicate well enough to make her needs known. Plus, she is all too familiar of what London or I are doing when we're sitting on the toilet as she loves to waltz in if we forget to lock the door (unfortunately for me, knowing we would be going through this soon, I've had to have an open/unlocked door policy. I'm quite looking forward to having my privacy again. Am I the only mom that finds peace and quiet in the bathroom sometimes?).

My biggest fear is that Sydney will be stubborn and not want to transition to big girl underwear and using the potty. We know for sure she won't be able to go from diaper to pull ups. It's going to have to be diaper to underwear. We've put pull ups on her before and she has no qualms going in those just like a diaper. Those will be strictly for nap and bed times.

We've been doing all that we can to talk with Sydney about becoming a big girl for over a month now. And when she has said she wants to use the potty, we have (almost always) dropped whatever it is we were doing to go get her up on the toilet and wait. But so far, we've not had any success. 

In anticipation of this, I ordered several "potty" focused books from Amazon last week, which we began reading as soon as they arrived last Friday week. And we will continue to read as we wait for success. One of the books even came with a "Movie" which we will watch first thing Friday morning.

Also on Friday, we made a trip to Target, at which time we let Sydney pick out some big girl underwear (she went with the Disney Girls pack that included Minnie Mouse, Sophia the First and Doc McStuffins, surprise, surprise), as well as some "pee" treats. Sydney will get a Skittle or two each time she successfully pees in the toilet until her jar is empty. I was smart and put this jar up, out of grasping childrens' hands, so she really will have to be successful to get her treats. So far, Sydney is comprehending that she has to earn her treats and prizes.

We also perused Target's $1 section for some "poo" prizes, plus I raided a basket I have full of left over goody bag-type contents that have accumulated over time. I picked a Doc McStuffins reuseable bag to house all of these items.

Wish us luck! I hope to have a positive weekend to report next week.