Tuesday, December 20, 2011

gingerbread.....

We love us some gingerbread around here, especially the decorated kind!  We were so happy to be part of a long-standing family tradition of creating houses a couple of weeks ago.....This is what we came up with. 


Sunday, December 4, 2011

Natural History Museum

We took a little trek last weekend intending to explore the pioneer village at the This Is The Place monument, but the buildings weren't open until later in the evening, and we were ready to explore something right then!  So we took a detour up the road and ended up at the Natural History Museum, which was wonderful!  We love us a good dose of science and dinosaurs!




Sunday, November 27, 2011

gratitude...

I'm grateful for.......

~the Beauty of the earth

~a testimony of my Savior

~two sweet, wonderful children

~a Husband who loves me for who I am

~extended Family and friends who are near and far

~full bellies, warm clothes, soft beds

~a weekend to rest and be together

I hope your weekend was filled with good food, family, and gratitude!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

clay play.....

 My boy came to me the other and requested being allowed to make things with big sister's clay....."you know, the kind you put in the oven and then you can keep!"  He's not usually allowed to create with that clay and I pull out playdough or something else for him, but I realized he's getting so grown up!  We can bake with clay now!

I asked him what he wanted to make and he said "stuff for my guys, like food."  So now his G.I. Joes have some oranges, ice cream cone, and a really cool blue birthday cake with a candle on top.  They love them!

Monday, November 7, 2011

accidental gardening....

I love to read books about gardening, it makes me feel like I'm doing a lot more than I'm actually doing.  But I have to admit, I haven't learned nearly as much from these gardening books as I have actually growing things in real life!  It's like the plants sort of explain themselves to me step by step so I understand a little more each year how to do things.  This year it was a lucky accident that we were able to harvest seeds to grow more green beans next year.  We loved eating our green beans, and we ate them daily for a few weeks in the middle of the summer.  But then they slowed down and grew big and fat, and not as delicious, and at the same time the crook-neck squash starting taking over the bean patch and we weren't able to get at them anymore.  

A few weeks ago when we cleared out the dead squash vines, we happened upon these lovely brown pods.  It was our delicious green beans, ready for us to save their seeds and grow more next year.  Luckily I planted heirlooms so hopefully our crop turns out similar in the second season. 
 The kids were as excited as me, if not more so.  It was like a little miracle to us, that each of these black seeds will grow a new plant full of new beans which we'll be able to eat and then save again for the next year.  The pods were so satisfying to break open, and the seeds inside so shiny and smooth.
  It made for a great movie night activity.....everything's better with a little Harry Potter!  And if you want to know how frugal this was.....I paid $1.50 for my little 18 gram envelope of heirloom seeds, we ate green beans for quite a few weeks in the summer (at least every other night), and we harvest 100 grams of dried seed for next year.  I love the math behind it all, and the possibility of exponential growth over the years! 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Halloween!

We had absolutely gorgeous weather for Halloween, it's as if the month of October just wanted to hang onto warmth for us up to the very last hour of it.  November moved in with a vengeance and so far this week we've had cold wind, snow, rain, and clouds.  But Halloween was fabulous and the kids of the neighbourhood basked in the 60 degree glory of Trick-or-Treating!

I had a sweet little Spiderman and an adorable Luna Lovegood from the Harry Potter books.  Luna's costume is actually the same costume that she wore last year to be Hermione, but since Luna is in Ravenclaw and Hermione is in Griffindor, we had to search out the properly colored tie!  So now she's wearing blue and yellow stripes instead of red and gold.....it's all about the details.
On Halloween morning I was suddenly insistent that my kiddos needed mama-made trick-or-treat bags (which I actually intended to make last year!) but I knew I wouldn't have the time to make the full bags.  Luckily there were pre-made blank totes at the fabric store to save the day, and I just sewed the fabrics of their choice around the bags!  I even had time to whip one up for cousin M, and we had a great time trick-or-treating through both of our neighbourhoods! 
(I was waiting for her outside the school and she couldn't see me, but I thought she looked so cute!)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

in my kitchen lately......

When I uploaded my photos recently I noticed that I had a lot of food pictures.....so that's what you're getting!  I've been sick for the last week, just a nasty cold, but it's been rather unpleasant.  I made a new batch of elderberry syrup as soon as I felt my syptoms coming on. 

 E picked all of our tomatoes in anticipation of a frost a couple of weeks ago and then spent about an hour playing with them at the table......the big brandywines were the mothers of the little green cherries.  :)  The ripe ones made it into a yummy fresh tomato and basil soup.

We cleaned out the garden of the big squash, watermelon, and cantaloupe vines and hidden under the squash leaves were all these carrots growing!  I had no idea so many had survived.  Our squash were little transplants that a friend had given us and I planted them in our carrot bed because hardly any carrots had come up and I figured, why waste the space!  So now we have a big bag of garden carrots in the fridge, and they're yummy!

 And nettle infusion.....so nourishing!  I've been drinking this lately to help me with a bit more energy after being sick all week.  I'm ready to branch out into some other herbal infusions, I'm planning a few to try with my next order of elderberries since I just used up the last of what I bought last winter.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

today's bountiful basket....


Our selections this morning were delicious looking.....and my little Bountiful Basket helper set them all up with me for our photo.  You're looking at two heads of lettuce, spinach, grapes, cauliflower, green beans, bananas, pears, plums, sweet potatoes, peaches, and a little carton of fresh figs!  Yum!  I could have practically ordered this particular basket and that's what I would have picked out!  Well, except for maybe the figs, I'm not quite sure what to do with them.....any ideas.  We tasted them right away and we're not sure if they're our favorite.  I'm embarassed to say I don't remember ever eating a fresh fig.  But they're definitely beautiful once you cut them open! 

Sunday, September 4, 2011

glasses....

Our beautiful third-grader is sporting a new pair of gorgeous glasses and can finally see the board at school!  :)  We all had eye appointments the week before school started and low and behold, she sees worse than me, poor girl.  Hopefully she doesn't have her dad's vision, he's nearly blind without his glasses!  So now she looks adorable and studious in her new specs, and might I add, very grown up!  It's hard to believe she'll soon be turning nine....

On a side note, she had a reading evaluation test this week at school and practically came running out of her classroom at the end of the day to tell me that her teacher had whispered to her that she did the best in the class and is now reading at a sixth grade level!  I'd like to thank J.K. Rowling for helping with that, as E's read straight through the Harry Potter books this summer.  She's just finishing up with number five, all 700 or so pages!  I hope once she finishes 7 and 8 we can keep her reading momentum going with something else new and exciting to read!

(On another side note, do you like our watermelon?  We have about 8 of them growing huge and fat and juicy in the crazy mess of vines that is our garden!  They've taken over almost everything!)

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Puffed Oven Pancakes.

I might just call this our breakfast of the summer.....we ate it allllllll the time! It was delicious, easy, eggy, and versatile.....and my kids begged for it about every other day. My favorite thing about it was the 25 minutes of baking time, just perfect to take a quick shower and be ready for the day before breakfast. And mixing it up usually only took about 5 minutes.
Puffed Oven Pancakes (from Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook)
2 tablespoons butter
3 eggs
1/2 cup gluten-free flour blend
1/2 cup milk
1/4 t salt
First thing first....preheat your oven to 400 degrees, put the 2 T of butter in an ovenproof skillet, and during the last 3 or so minutes of preheating, slide your skillet in to heat up and melt the butter.
Blend the eggs, flour, milk and salt and pour into the hot buttery pan. (I actually increase the butter to 3 T and the eggs to 4 and I add just a touch more milk and flour. This makes it the perfect size for the kids and I.)
Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the pancake puffs up and turns golden brown. The edges will taste buttery and delicious, almost like a croissant (Or as close as us gluten-free girls get to one!) I like mine served with more butter and homemade plum blueberry jam! The kiddos like syrup. :) Enjoy!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

the palace....

Oreo and Fluffy have grown at what seems like an exponential rate since we got them this spring! They were living in a little tiny cage from the pet store that we thought would be big enough for at least their first year or so. Nope, they could barely walk across the cage without bumping into something, it was so teeny!

We built them this roomy palace right before the kids and I left for Alaska, but I just recently finished the top floor. We got the idea online....who knew there was such a huge community of guinea pig people out there! Derick insisted on it being two stories, which makes it a bit trickier to clean, but they really do love running up and down their ramp! (I think he was reverting back to his fort building days as a kid, he was totally into it!)

The kids still do the daily maintenance on their own, they alternate days. We bought a cheap shopvac that makes the poop scooping much easier. They just vacuum it all up and change the water and food and give them more hay. Then once a week we take out the fleece and the absorbent layers underneath throw them in the washing machine (which is right next to the cage). The fleece is all blankets from the thrift store and underneath are old towels and some super absorbent microfiber shop towels from Costco. All in all, we think the piggies are loving their new home. Scale-wise, I think they're home is probably 10 times bigger than our home! :)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

end of summer.....

It doesn't even feel quite right to title this post "end of summer" because the last few weeks have had daily temperatures in the mid-90's......it still feels HOT! But school started this week and the return of order to our schedule makes it feel like maybe summer is wrapping up.

We've been enjoying almost daily food from our garden.....squash, peppers, tomatoes, basil, carrots, cucumbers, and even a watermelon this week (which Derick and the kids picked while I was gone one night, it was definitely not ripe yet!). These tomatoes are my "Tigerellas," aren't they lovely? They're super juicey inside! But my favorite are definitely the big Brandywines. They're delicious!


Sunday, July 31, 2011

more Alaska.....

I've been procrastinating sharing more pictures of our fabulous trip to Alaska because I'm just not sure exactly which ones out of over 1000 to share, and what stories to tell....I could probably hum and haw over that forever because it was all wonderful and I want to share everything! So tonight I just randomly clicked through my files and chose fun memories.... Rock painting.....our wildlife cruise.......just gathering around the cabin.....s'mores on a sunny evening (with gluten free graham crackers even!)......playing in the water daily.....Grandma and Grandpa's 59th wedding anniversary dinner.......more cruising (we saw whales, sea lions, sea otters, and many others!).......My dear dear grandfather! Sooooooo good to see him!