Saturday, September 28, 2013

Hello, Kay County!

Earlier this month, the Shaw's gallivanted to Blackwell to partake in the annual Kay County Free Fair. As soon as we set foot on the fairgrounds, Henry and Sam had their eyes on the SUPER SLIDE. Papa bought the boys enough tickets for each of them to ride four rides. The SUPER SLIDE was their first stop.

I wondered if Henry would actually go down once he climbed to the top. It took a lot of convincing last year. This year he was fearless.

"That was AWESOME," were the first words out of his mouth.

Sam has always been fearless (much to my chagrin). I'm not quite sure he met the height criteria for the slide, but he was able to sneak pass staff and followed big brother to the top. He caught some air while flying down...and was much too fast for me to snap a photo.

Ride #2 = The Carousel

For their third ride, the boys decided to be a bit more daring and hit the flying cars.


Look out! Sam is in the driver's seat!

Once they figured out how to make the car fly, they were unstoppable.

Sam picked the last ride. Our boy loves his fish!


And the petting zoo and 4-H barn before high tailing it home.

Molly's first cotton candy

We ended the night with Lincoln Logs at Grandma and Papa's house.

This is pretty typical. Notice while Henry and Molly kiss, our Sam is being Godzilla in the background. This picture explains their personalities perfectly.

A fun time was had by all.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

My Ninjas

Henry thinks he's a Ninja. Two of his favorite movies are Puss In Boots and Kung Fu Panda, and he loves practicing his moves on little brother. In a few years, Sam is going to seek some serious revenge.

He actually has a name for all of his sword poses. He calls this one "ATTENTION."

And this one, "Puss In Boots Saves the Day."
Last Halloween Henry begged and pleaded with me to go as Puss In Boots. And I begged and pleaded with him to go as Batman or Spiderman...or, any character that I could buy on the shelf or online. (I do NOT sew.) Henry's response? "Mom! Why would I go as Batman or Spiderman when Puss in Boots has claws AND a sword!?!" Now how, I ask you, could I argue with that?
Sam has his own sword to defend himself. The poor guy can't even watch Saturday morning cartoons without standing sitting guard.

Let the games begin.
Kung Fu Fighting! Click HERE to sing along.

(And I wonder why our couch is showing so much wear and tear???)

Notice Henry's shield. Who knew a lid had so many clever uses?

After flying the white flag of surrender.

Preparing for the next attack.

Where Henry stores his sword.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The Story of Mickle's Sweet Pickles

I made my first batch of pickles when I was pregnant with Henry, when I craved (daily) my weight in pickles and ice cream. And not just any pickles. My grandmother Shirley's homemade sweet pickles. I'm not a fan of store bought sweet pickles, but my grandmother's...well, my grandmother's pickles are in a category all their own.

It was a recipe written and perfected by Nana, my great grandmother, which was then passed to my grandmother, Shirley...then to my mom, and later to me.

When my grandmother passed away last year, pickling was something I naturally picked up. I mean, SOMEONE had to carry on the family tradition. Besides, if I didn't start making pickles, then how would I satisfy my cravings? And potato salad, tuna salad, deviled eggs...none of those are any good without grandmother's sweet pickles and pickling juice.

And the best thing about pickling is that every time I do it, I'm reminded of Grandmother Shirley. Making pickles is a blessing, and a constant reminder of Grandmother's kitchen. The taste, the smells, the pickling crocks scattered across her kitchen counter...

Mickle's Sweet Pickles just happened. It happened after I started giving away jars as gifts to family and friends. And the more friends tasted, the more friends wanted. In fact, people loved them so much, they started asking if they could buy my pickles. Buy them? I had never considered that, but I knew giving away so many jars each year was starting to wear a hole in my pocket. So, I agreed. I started selling pickles and thus, Mickle's Sweet Pickles was born.

Grandmother Shirley, doing one of the many things she did best.

I was fortunate to inherit one of Grandmother's antique pickling crocks, which sits on my kitchen counter, full of cucumbers, from June - August.

Pickling (when it's done right) is a two week process.
Week 1 includes visiting the Stillwater Farmer's Market. I LOVE my farmer friends (and their overalls)! I especially like Wednesday mornings, when the crowd is smaller, and there is more opportunity to visit and hear stories from these kind souls.
Rinsed and ready to take the crock plunge.
After one week of marinating.
Chop, chop, chop

After chopping, mixing and boiling for another week, using all of Mickle's TOP SECRET ingredients, it's FINALLY canning time!

I love using the old Ball and Mason jars. My father-in-law found boxes of antique jars for me this summer, which I scrubbed and sanitized prior to filling with pickle goodness. (Thank you, Sid!)

Because I enjoy learning and trying new things, and partly to satisfy my entrepreneurial spirit, I've created my first website -
You can also visit and LIKE Mickle's Sweet Pickles on Facebook at
Come visit and place your order! I've got my pantry stocked. Once the pickles are gone, they're gone until next summer!