Sunday, September 28, 2008

Quick Easy Fun...

Today was a beautiful day to visit Grant's Farm. Here are the people pics we took... we got some great animal shots today... probably because the weather was so nice. I may post animal pics later... for now here are Clausen People!


Okay... so today's plan includes making and canning apple sauce and apple butter. Right after church and Grant's Farm! Never mind that Chris gets to cut the grass too! oooh and football....

Yesterday we took the kids to Forest Park for Arthur's picnic in the park. A PBS sponsored event that brings out people in droves to pick up free stuff. Free stuff means face painting and balloon animals (admittedly that's fun, but not if you have to wait in line for over an hour for a "dinosaur" that is nothing more than the standard dog with a squiggly mouth drawn on or a horse that is a wienie dog with a mane drawn on by a black sharpie!) ... but I digress... free stuff also means that a huge dental insurance company gives out cheapie toothbrushes and squishy squeeze teeth with their name printed on them... or plastic hard hats with a company logo (okay... these were fun too) or a bagillion bookmarks, cool stickers and pieces of paper with local programming printed on them. FREE. sigh. (we did like the plastic finger puppets and little plastic horses! they made it worth the waits for the kiddos) Caitlyn mostly waited in the free stuff lines and was thrilled to just get stuff. Kids are cool!

There was the opportunity to stand in line for over an hour (in your choice of many lines) to hug or shake hands with your favorite PBS character (read: really large, so large it is scary for small children, very cheaply costumed as your favorite character teen) maybe even pose for a two second photo taken by your parent. Matthan preferred to peek at them from the front of the tent and then move on. He saw Elmo and Curious George among others...

I mean... that is scary to any little kid.
"Ruff Ruffman" from Fetch... kinda yuk.

Mr. McFeelywas there from Mr. Rodgers Neighborhood... that was cool but how old is that guy? He was having fun on stage with Purple Panda. (whom Matthan thought looked big and scary and we were half a soccer field away!) Scary Delivery! oh yeah... why was Purple Panda from another planet? wierd.

Finally you could stand in another of your choice of lines for your turn on one of the many free bounce houses... again, we passed on that... Matthan will not bounce on any, won't even climb up... after all his surgeries and casts, can we blame him?! Caitlyn is getting too big to climb on those things (my opinion of course... it just isn't at all young ladylike to bounce around with limbs flailing wildly, shirt flying up just basically looking like a crazy person!)

Oh yes... let's not forget the food lines, which we, of course, skipped because who had two million dollars for an overcooked hot dog and crumpledly bag of chippies?! Not us... we frugally packed our waters and healthy food and ate it in the car while driving about trying to find the best place to park... really driving about trying to get even a close spot to park. We parked in front of the muny and walked around and up behind it to the main fields across the way... it was a nice day for a good walk in the park!

Friday, September 26, 2008


About a Bushel and a half of FREE apples from a neighbor!
That's getting your food within the 100 foot challenge... it is a 19 Gallon bucket!

Westley sees the apples ...

Westley GETS the apples!

Just hanging around!

Westley trying to eat a mason jar...
Caitlyn and I went this morning and picked apples off our neighbors tree. His words were "You are welcome to as many apples as you can pick ... and there are no pesticides, so they are organic!" ... it was very neighborly of him!

So we picked and picked and picked and still left so many on the tree too. These have got to be the sweetest tastiest little apples I have ever had. I thought they were some type of golden delicious? but they are more flavorful! They have a golden greenish color and some have a little bitty bit of "blush" on them.... though the main color is apple green with green spots. They are wonderfully crisp and sweet. Did I mention they are sweet? really! I am excited to make apple sauce and then ... drum roll please... Apple Butter YUM YUM YUM!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Mosaic Art Festival

It all began with an apple that Westley refused to let go of.

Here we all are smiling for Dad.

Okay... maybe we are all cutting up for Dad.

What? me cut up?!

No, he really wouldn't let go of the apple.
He eventually stopped crying once I took it away.

Really... the art festival didn't have much to do with the photos, except that is where we were when we took them. We had just finished our sack lunch (let's hear it for frugal!) and were on our way up to main street to peruse the displays of art. The kids had fun at the make your own tent too! Next year we really have to make it in time for the kids to do the shopping for art tent. They have a tent that the kids go into by themselves and can purchase a work of local art for $5. It would be really cool for Matthan, who seems to have a tendency toward metal sculpture and more folk art paintings. Caitlyn leans toward art glass, photographic art and jewelry, jewelry jewelry. Ironic since she cannot really wear any of it due to her severe metal allergy. I think it is cool to see the kids totally different preferences for art. Matthan tells me all the time he is going to be an artist like me.

So, we had a blast and didn't even spend a cent. Now that's a frugally fun Saturday we all enjoyed.

Friday, September 19, 2008



Dandy holding Westley

Dandy holding Westley

Happy 70th birthday Daddy-O! We all hope you have a Fabulous birthday... The kids thought the habitat for humanity help day was the funnest part... but I'm betting that the lunch with Sister Kathy and dinner at the Memphis BBQ is pretty fantastic too! We sure love you... sorry we couldn't spend your birthday celebrating with you! Love, Paige, Chris, Caitlyn, Matthan and Westley!

Just a fun fact footnote: If Methuselah was 969 before he died... that gives you 899 to go!
Mr. Crusher: Engage!

Thursday, September 18, 2008



Okay... I really am trying to pull up and stand with this chair

This is mostly about how much one little baby can move away from one area and into another in the split second you look away.

But I also have to wonder if the metal is cool on his gums while he is sucking or chewing on it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


The Clausen Men (Westley is there too, just across the table!

We hope you have a FABULOUS Birthday!

WOW Dad 60 Years!

Westley says: Da da da huh heh da (really, it sounds just like that!)

Matthan says: Tell me what kind of present you got, one of the presents. Happy Birthday Grandpa and I love you so much and I am going to give the other grandpa some earrings you know the girl... (he means Grandma Clausen)

Caitlyn says: I love you Grandpa Happy Birthday! I love you. I wish we were there!

Paige says: Methuselah was 909 years older than you are now... you have a long way to go!

Chris says: Don't ask how old that makes me! :)

Happy Birthday Dad! Happy Birthday Grandpa! All our Love, the Saint Peters Clausen Clan!

Monday, September 15, 2008


Rarely do I need to call for rescuing. Really I can handle most stuff. Okay, Yes, if there is a spider or other gross insect I do call for Chris to come and kill it or at least remove it from the general vicinity of anywhere within the house. I fully support the husband handling that sort of thing. Although this wet summer we have been having has necessitated me killing three (yes three) gi-normous (it is too a word!) spiders that were building the Taj Mahal of all webs just outside my home (individual locations I might add) I mean, these suckers were one inch in body, not to mention leg length... wisely I used wasp spray. At least I could stand 10 feet away and get the job done. They were huge and infringing upon the house every time. Every time when Chris was away... Well, enough about them...

(If you don't have an iron stomach... don't read the rest of this post!)

Tonight while Chris and Caity were at GHOP... Matthan, Westley and I were sitting on the dining room floor, by the sliding glass door when I see (YES I HAD TO SEE) the latest member of our local hawk family accidently? drop a recently killed rabbit onto our deck.

(Really, if that gets you, don't keep reading....)

EEEWW. But it didn't just hit the deck, it hit the bird perch that is part of my bird feeder and drape across it... entrails hanging, blood dripping. The entire rabbit was there. I mean, this is beyond normal anything. So I calmly? call the neighbors to get male help. No one answers... so I head out there, boys in tow... to knock on their door. Thankfully Alex (their teen son) was home and happily came over and removed the offensive and offending carcass. Now here is the real clincher... the young hawk is perched on their fence... the one that is between the houses... watching his kill draped on my feeder. Then the hawk stayed and watched Alex remove it and even stayed long enough for us to get out cameras and snap pictures of him perched after said offending carcass was tossed into the trash for pickup tomorrow. Wild absolutely wild.

It kind of makes me wonder what the wild varmits are all up to when we aren't around.

Now... I am off to can tomato soup... Nice. It was almost RABBIT SOUP - Thank God I lean more vegetarian!

I should mention that our first year in this house... we spotted what looked like owl poop on the deck rail... after breakfast I went out only to find it was rabbit entrails... and fur, presumably left from a hawk kill. So I guess hawks really do train their young well. But prayerfully not on my deck anymore!

Here it is on the fence

He flew off into the yard toward our porch when he felt threatened by the camera proximity!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Competitive Children!

Caitlyn made a model of an island in Fiji to represent the rainforest ecosystem and the mangrove swamp ecosystem out of household (and outdoor!) items.

Matthan decided he needed to make a model as well... with Playdoh and some of his little figures and rocks. He used a play tree since I would not let him put any real plants on his! Very creative and a bit competitive!



These are my beautiful spaghetti sauce pints!
This represents 1/2 bushel of tomatoes!

This is Westley enjoying some YELLOW Watermelon!

Yes it was yellow flesh watermelon and may I just mention that I like the sweet baby melons way better!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Canning continues...

Peach Butter YUM!

I am really liking this canning thing. The only disappointment is that there isn't MORE full jars when you are done. You really don't realize how much stuff cooks down. sigh.

I read a recipe for DILLY BEANS today on someones blog... ohmygosh... I practically HAVE TO make those! Hee hee.

See all the reasons I really NEED my own garden... all that fresh produce, put up for us to enjoy over the fall & winter months... of course the hubby and kids will have to help with any labor ... I am not in any physical shape to do the really hard stuff... like bend over for extended periods of time. Or run a tiller! I do know Mr. C is up for that one! He is liking this canning thing and the Freedom Garden idea-ly.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Just Peachy!

Westley eating his first peach!
He LOVED it!
He got upset when I took the net thingy to fill with more fruit... but happy once it got back.

Turned these ...
Into these!
Aren't they lovely!

Westley is eating some this morning all smushed with cereal!
Caity ate them too!

HIYA! I took the kiddos peach picking at the local U-Pick farm on Monday. It was the very last day for their encore freestone peaches. It was a lovely morning and we picked 2 pecks of perfect peaches. Which led me to my next step... canning them. I borrowed equipment from sister Dawn and undertook it yesterday. After discovering that the canner doesn't fit on my flattop stove (who knew!) at least not without the threat of cracking it (yah, that's all I need).

I decided to use the pot on the eye on my grill. It took forever for the water to heat and then the first batch of 6 pints ... burst... yup 3 of them burst and made a HUGE mess... so I joyfully (yes, I am serious) cleaned and refilled the canner and went back to work... Finally got the water boiling and when I put in the first one it burst... so I stopped canning and froze the rest of the peaches. BRILLIANT! I do have three lovely jars of canned peaches in my own very creative cinnamon light syrup. It only encourages me to push on... they taste fabulous.

Next fun step... I have a pot of peach butter simmering away in my crockpot for the last 24 hours... I am going to pull them and wait for my next venture... Pressure Canning.

I will post pictures when those are done!