Monday, June 27, 2011

More Yummy From the Garden

More yummy goodness is coming out of the garden.  Over at Reuben's the spinach is huge so we have to help them eat it all.  Ours are still little baby spinach so we gladly helped them out.  Dad doesn't know it yet but these lovely leaves are going to be in his salad tonight.

We also got a couple more jalapeño's and radishes.  So many radishes.  They were getting a little too big and starting to split so A. and I pulled them all today.  Dad is pretty much the only one that eats them so he should be good and sick of them by the end of the week.  I looked up some recipes today so we are going to try grilled radishes and see what they taste like.  Sounds interesting anyway.

This has been a super busy weekend.  Saturday we went to Anderson & Girls to pick some more strawberries.  All we ended up doing is going through the petting zoo they have.  We thought we could go through it quickly but it ended up being larger than we thought.  Lots of neat animals though.  And the kids had a ball.

Cameron and the kiddos and a sister from the hall with her little one

The peacock gave us a little show

After the zoo we headed to school section lake to meet some others from the hall for BBQ, a swim, and some volleyball.

Little Lady C and her buddy

The Osprey's now have little ones.  This pole they built their nest on was built just for them.  Apparently they kept building a nest on the telephone pole so they built this pole just for them so they would be safer.  I tried to get as close as I could but it was freaking them out a little bit.  But those little guys are getting a bite to eat from Mom or Dad.  They are really awesome to see in person.

And then today A. and I worked in the garden for a little bit then Little Lady C came over to make some cookies.

Thanks for helping A, I love you.
Their creations
I think more frosting went into a certain little mouth than actually went on the cookies but I was forewarned.  They had lots of fun.

Busy, fun weekend.  Trying new things with new friends.  Oh, and I even made strawberry jam.  Coming soon to some of you this winter.  Love and miss you all.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Wildflowers - Week 16

Week 16 of 52

Location:  Mecosta, MI
Subject:  Daisy

Since the snow melted away and the weather turned warmer, our roads are all lined with wildflowers.  We started with happy little daffodils bouncing hello's from the edge of the road and have gone through I don't know how many different kinds of wildflowers.  The past couple of weeks we have had these pretty little white daisies.  They are so pretty.  They will soon be gone though and replaced by the lillies that are waiting patiently to bloom.

Even the ponds and edges of the lakes are blooming.  The lilly pads are sporting their white flowers and these really cool yellow pod looking flowers are popping up too.

I went to a door with a sister that had a very overgrown yard but it looked so pretty with all these flowers.  There were daisies, these pretty orange flowers, and a bunch of these cool looking purple flowers.  The sister used to own a flower shop so I asked her what type of flower the purple ones were.  She looked at me and said sweetie, here we call those weeds.  So funny.  Bring on the weeds then cause those are pretty!

So whether you want to call them wildflowers or weeds, they sure make driving around a little easier on the eyes.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Fresh From the Garden

Veggies from the garden are sprouting!  This weekend Cameron got the first jalapeño from the garden.

Happy boy making salsa with the first jalapeño

Yep, it's hot!!!!!
Then today Grandpa checked the radishes and they were finally ready.

So tonight the kids get to test out radishes.  I'll let you know what they think.  Grandpa is happy at least!

Pickin' Strawberries - Week 15

Zack and Little Lady C picking strawberries

Week 15 of 52

Location:  Mt. Pleasant, Mi
Subject:  Strawberry Picking

The strawberries are finally ready!  Last friday we took the kids to a place called Papa's Pumpkin Patch.  Turns out they have way more than pumpkins.  Kids had a lot of fun filling their buckets with yummy strawberries.  We talked to them the whole way there about making sure they only put the strawberries in their buckets and not in their mouths.  When we arrive and are receiving instructions and tips the guy tells all the kiddos:  "If you come back here without red stuff around your mouths I will send you back out."  I told him that may have been a mistake.  We might all come back with red stuff around our mouths but nothing in our buckets.

It was interesting to taste all the different varieties and see the different shapes of all the strawberries.  We also picked some asparagus while we were there and grilled them up that night.  Very yummy.  In a couple of weeks they will have rasperries ready so we are going to head back.  Lots of fun and now we are enjoying lots of strawberry shortcake and Cameron even whipped us up some strawberry margaritas!  YUMMM!!!

Little Lady C stopping to enjoy some daisies

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Beauty and Fun of Fireflies

Picture from this blog 

Tonight we finally had the opportunity to catch fireflies.  I have been waiting patiently since we got here.  I remember doing this as a kid when we were here.  Then we moved to Tucson and I never saw another firefly until probably 6 years ago or more.

We headed down to Amado, Arizona to visit with some good friends and we were all sitting around outside by the fire and I saw something flashing in the shadows.  I was as giddy as the little kids to see them.

So tonight we went out with Z.'s little bug catcher and caught a bunch and watched them light up.  Totally not the same affect as when you catch them in jars.  So maybe this weekend we will have to round up some old glass jars and hunt again.  Of course we let them go so they can continue on their merry way.

And shock of shocks, I am posting a photo that is not mine.  But catching a photo of fireflies doing their thing requires much time and patience of which I am completely out of tonight.  Maybe this weekend.  Maybe.  In the mean time, in searching the wonders of the internet for a photo to use I found this blog.  She has a great link to an article on fireflies.

The kids and I have decided that we are going to join in the counting.  They probably agreed so readily because it means they get to stay up late since it doesn't get dark until 10 around here.

A. and her friend L. want to do a big shout out to all their friends in the big wide world so here it is:  SHOUT OUT!  :o)  They had lots of fun catching the lightning bugs until the mosquitos overwhelmed us and we gave up.

Chasing Butterflies

So when I set out to blog, it wasn't for the purpose of spreading my philosophy on life with the world.   Those of you that read it, know what it is here for.  So please pardon this momentary interruption.

We have a couple of parties to attend this weekend and being my crafty little self I have been busy creating gifts.  In the process I also created a couple of bookmarks for Aubrey and her buddy.  In doing so I was rifling through my collection of quotes and searching online for quotes that would fit with my photographs.  In the process I found this:

"Realize what you really want. It stops you from chasing butterflies and puts you to work digging gold." -William Moulton Marston
How sad is that?  Why would one ever want to stop chasing butterflies?  Wouldn't chasing butterflies bring you much more satisfaction than digging for gold?

In chasing butterflies, majority of the time you will not actually catch the butterfly.  But think of all you do catch - you take in the beauty of the country that surrounds you, you find joy within yourself, butterflies are more often than not around flowers, so not only do you get to chase butterflies but you get to stop and smell the roses.  Chase them with a friend and you also get to become closer to another human being.  All those things can help you to appreciate the beauty of Jehovah's creation.

So now how bout that gold digging?  What do you get?  A whole lot of dirty that's what!  How long do you have to dig for gold before you actually find gold?  A long, long time that's for sure.  And where does gold get you?  Just about nowhere.  Sure money can buy you fancier things, better clothes, a bigger house, but does that make you happy?  Nope, not always!  Mostly it does the opposite.

So I say, go on, chase those butterflies.  If that is your entire aim in life, then chase them better than anyone else.  Grab a buddy and chase away, you will be happier than if you had pockets full of gold!

Thank you, I will now be stepping off my platform and returning to updates on our life here in Michigan.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Gardening Creates Laughter and Stupid Sunburns!

Sunday afternoon all the troops headed out to do some gardening.  It was in serious need of weeding!  Serious need - it looked like we were growing grass and not vegetables.

It was a perfect day for it though.  Weather was in the high 60's so we were not sweating to death like I did last week.  Perfectly beautiful day for gardening.  Here, let me describe it for you:

It was the most beautiful kind of day.  You know where the sky is an unbelievably brilliant shade of blue and there are clouds hanging about.  Big, bright, fluffy, white clouds that are in not a hurry to be anywhere and so slowly drift about.  Birds were chirping.  Neighbors were busy out on the lake so you could hear the hum of boats and the laughter of people as they went buzzing by.  Bumble bees buzzed about from flower to flower, a turtle mosied behind the garden in the cool shade and tall grass.  <Insert sound of screeching record here as this comes to a stop :o)>  Enter the Richie/Ranshaw clan and this is what is mixed in with all that buzzing:

various children:  this row is too long, why do I have to do this row?

a certain City Girl Grown Up:  EEEK!, wait 2 minutes - EEEK!, wait another 2 minutes - EEEEEEKKK!!  you're getting the picture right - then SSSSHHHHHRRREEEEEEKKKK, now the bugs are in my hair!  Where is the mall when I need it!

various parent/grandparent:  when we were younger (insert typical grown up story about how hard they had it and how this next generation should be grateful it is not that bad)

a certain tiny little dog after it was locked away in the dog kennel:  bark!  wait half a minute - bark!
various gardeners:  Shut Up!  Go Lay Down!

All in all it was a relaxing afternoon and pretty hilarious.  I am sure if there were any neighbors within earshot they had a pretty good chuckle over us.  The garden looks a million times better now.  Some rows did not get weeded, only because what is growing in those rows are not big enough yet and we would risk pulling them out with the weeds.  Oh, which brings up another funny moment.  You know how you take your kids to meeting week after week, you do the family study, you prepare for all the meetings, and you wonder if they are learning.  In the midst of all the hullabaloo over which row to weed and to keep busy, and reminding them that we had to weed to keep the plants healthy, J. announces this:  "Jesus said we should not weed until the harvest so that we can tell the difference between the plants and the weeds."  Ahahahahaha so funny, not quite the right application but it got his dad quiet for a minute.

Which now brings us to stupid sunburns.  After our hours in the garden we went inside for snacks and for everyone to do whatever it was they wished.  Later that evening Rachel and I were watching a movie and Rach announces - my back hurts, I wonder if it got sunburned.  I say mine does too, so we lift up the back of our shirts for the others inspection - and yep.  Sunburns in the stupidest spot ever!  You know when you bend over and your shirt lifts up the tiniest bit in the back exposing an inch or two of skin.  Well apparently when you bend over in the garden for a couple of hours or so, it gets burned . . . . badly!  So stupid!

But all worth it.  Our garden is doing beautifully and plants are growing and starting to sprout whatever vegetable it is they are supposed to be.  Here are some pics - enjoy!


Peppers and Jalapeños


Red Onions

Red Potatoes marked by these cute little markers Aubrey and I made

Radishes - these are just about ready to pull up

Richie/Ranshaw Gang working away

P.S.  I almost forgot the worst part.  J. had a bad stomach this day and was spreading his ummmm, "love" around the garden.  So in between all that happening above you would hear a random - J. that is so gross, you smell bad - go weed somewhere else!  Funny stuff!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Photo Challenge

The Paper Mama

This blog is really cool and so many people with awesome talent participate in her cool challenges.  This week I couldn't resist entering because the subject is green!   The hardest part was picking which photo to enter.  I love, love, love this one of J. so here goes nothin!

This photo was taken during a Ranshaw Family Day up on Mt. Lemmon in Arizona.  Little did we know that by the next winter we would be in Michigan and surrounded by so much snow we didn't know what to do with it all.

The Paper Mama

Friday, June 10, 2011


Turtles are now everywhere.  We do our best to avoid them and am happy to report we have remained innocent of turtle destruction.  We always swerve way around them.  But then we started noticing the people following behind us or coming from the opposite direction swerve TOWARD the turtles.  What?!?!?!?  Awful, mean, evil people!  What is wrong with you?  So since then we have become "Turtle Saviors" and where possible we stop and move those poor things off the road.  I won't even mention the reason we were told that people do this.  It makes me sick!

So this week's photo of the week is a picture Z. saved from the road when we went for a walk yesterday.  And also J. rescuing a turtle last week.

Painted Turtle
Week 14 of 52
Location:  Mecosta, MI
Subject:  Painted Turtle

Location:  Remus, MI
Subject:  Turtle saving

We have no idea what kind of turtle it was that J. saved.  Cars were coming in both directions so it was a save and dash kind of day.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

HooooooWeeeeeee It's Warm Out There

Yes, warm - I am avoiding speaking that detestable "H" word.  But good grief it is getting sticky.  Today and tomorrow are supposed to be the worst days of the week.  Good news?  Thursday through Sunday are supposed to be unseasonably cool.

This my friends I can handle.  I can handle a few ho . . . . ummm warm days as long as there is relief in sight.

Thank goodness there is a lake a stones throw from the house.  The kids have been enjoying it.  Us adults are still to wimpy to get in the chilly water but every day it is a little warmer so maybe this weekend we will suck it up and jump on in.

Reuben came over with his little cutie bug and we headed down to the lake.  She found the tiniest turtle we have all ever seen.  Of course, my favorite friend in the world was lying on the desk at home, so, apologies for no photos of it's super cute and awesomeness.  We headed down there last night with Reuben and his family again.  This time Mr. Nikon was invited but alas, no tiny little turtles.

Besides trips to the lake, this is another busy week.  Yesterday we pulled out Lillies.  I know, I know, it sounds horrible.  It was actually sad to pull them out, but they are taking over the place.  We have lillies EVERYWHERE.  A sister from the hall told me Sunday that she thinks they are day lillies. That translates to - after a long, long time of looking at just green grassy looking plants, we get one day. . . ONE DAY. . . of a flower and it's done.  Hmmm, not too sure I like that idea.  Anyway, yesterday half the flower bed in front of the front window got de-lillied and new flowers planted.  Mostly anyway, we got interrupted by a lake visit.

Today involves a whole bunch of gardens.  We have to get over to Reuben's to till one more time and plant the remaining plants.  Some of which I had marked so carefully and managed somehow to not be home when they were planted here, are now unmarked so, Reuben will have a little bit of a surprise garden.

Then we head to Aunt Carols to plant a few more things over there and weed what is already there.  Everything is coming up great.  I think this weekend they will mostly be up enough to tell what is a plant and what is not so we can weed a little better and then I will take pics for you all.

In the meantime, you can enjoy my little friends that visited me yesterday and were enjoying a cool drink of water as I watered all the plants and flowers.

Oh, I almost forgot.  This week is new recipe week here at the crazy house.  Saturday after service a sister from the hall gave me some Rhubarb.  I have been wanting to try it and she has a ton of plants.  After service she made us Rhubarb/Apple juice with some Agave Nectar - yum.  So we brought home a bag full to test out before we get some plants from her.  I made Rhubarb/Strawberry crisp.  Oh so super yummy!


Saturday, June 4, 2011

Let's Go Way Back - Week 13

Photo taken by my Grandmother

Week 13 of 52
Location:  Not positive but may be Oklahoma somewheres
Subject:  My Dad and his younger brother.  Dad is on the right and that is Uncle Allen on the left

So I have been working on this project with my Grandma.  She knows she wants pictures of all her grandchildren and their families in this particular album that she received as a gift.  However, she changes her mind every week on how she wants them in there.  I am not complaining too loudly because it just gives me an excuse to sit with her and look at old photos and hear the story behind them.  I found this one last week. 

My scanner is not the best because this looks much better in person.  But aren't they just too cute?  This photo was taken probably around 1950.  I'm guessing that mostly on Dad.  He looks about five years old in this photo.

Love these old black and whites.  My Grandma has an album full of photos her mother took and there are some great shots in there.  I am going to steal that album one of these days and post some of those.  They are beautiful.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

So Good To Be Home

Next week marks 8 whole months since we packed up the family and moved up here to Michigan.  We have had ups and downs, tears and laughter, sadness over what we left behind, joy on what lies ahead.  Mostly we are enjoying ourselves immensely. 

Friday I flew with Reuben back to Arizona for what was supposed to be a quick turn around trip of a couple of days.  He needed to get his truck and needed someone to help him drive it home.  We were supposed to leave Saturday and be home by Monday.  As always, things did not go according to plan.

We arrived Friday and my brother in law picked us up in Mesa.  No one had told my big sis we were coming so she was completely surprised.  It was really good to see her again.  We spent the night with her and my other big sis just happened to be coming to stay the weekend so we surprised her too.

Saturday we headed to Tucson, then to Willcox to get the truck.  Saturday night I surprised a good friend of mine at her work and she ditched out early so we could spend a little time together.  Turns out the next day she was headed to the Circuit Assembly where all the people I planned on surprising Sunday just happened to be.  So off to the assembly I went.

It was so nice to see everyone again.  Lots of smiles and hugs and tears.

Then I had to say goodbye to everyone again.  I hate that!  It is absolutely the worst part.  Especially saying goodbye to the family.  I still have to not think about it too much or I cry again.  I love you my sissy's and can't wait to see you again.

The drive home went quickly and we watched the scenery change from dusty brown to brilliant green.  Yesterday I had to get back in the car again and head to Grand Rapids with Cameron but today I have been enjoying wandering around the house seeing everything that has changed in the few short days I was gone.

The weather is so nice.  60 warm degrees.  Sun is shining brightly and the cool breeze comes and dances on your skin every few minutes.  New flowers have bloomed.  The garden is doing awesome with new sprouts up everywhere.  And the dragonflies are back.  Last year when we arrived they flooded the yard for a few days and then were gone.  A couple even landed on my arm and said hello.  AWESOME!

I miss everyone in Tucson and wish I could bring them all home with me.  I miss them, but it is so good to be home!