Friday, August 30, 2013

It All Started with a Second Glass of Wine

The kids were tucked away in bed and Wingnut and I were enjoying a quiet evening watching Master Chef.  I had a lovely glass of Argentinian Malbec.  It was so lovely I decided to have a second glass and that is when my morning run went very wrong.

Because I had that second glass, it took me longer to get around this morning.  I was feeling pretty lethargic.  Because I had that second glass, I went ahead and had my coffee before my run, which delayed me a bit longer.  Because I had that second glass, I was a bit dehydrated, so I hung around and drank some extra water.  Because I had that second glass, I didn't hit the road until past 9:30 am and it was already too hot for me to run.  Because I had that second glass, my legs were like lead and did not want to move.

I ran about two miles and felt like garbage.  It was too hot and the air was fairly thick with haze.  I turned to head home and came across a woman driving a monstrously huge truck.  She decided to turn left in front of me and as she passed by, her monstrous truck belched a cloud of black smoke that I had to then run through. That spelled the end of my run.  If I hadn't had that glass of wine, I wouldn't have left so late for my run and I wouldn't have had to breathe in a cloud of nasty exhaust.  I walked the rest of the way home.

Come to think of it.  It all started with my running buddy throwing up the day before.  If he hadn't caught a stomach bug, we would have gone for our run together on Thursday.  There we go!  I'll blame it on vomit. Print Friendly and PDF

Thursday, August 29, 2013

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} Canning and Baking

round button chicken


Wingnut had his 45th birthday this week.  He is a pie guy and so we had this lovely lemon chess pie waiting for him when he got home from work.  You've never had lemon chess pie?  It is delicious and one of the easiest pies to make.  Check out the recipe I use at King Arthur Flour. (*notes--I add lemon zest to the filling as my own special touch.  I also do not use their pie crust recipe.  I've been testing pie crusts all summer and the one I've settled on is this single pie crust recipe from Foodnetwork)


I've always wanted to can but I've been too afraid to try.  I finally got up the courage and bought my supplies.  My first attempt was to pickle some of the peppers that seem prolific in my garden.


Well maybe they weren't as prolific as I imagined.  I went through all the effort to can three small jars of pickled peppers.


I made a few small errors.  I should have divided my peppers between just two jars and filled them more fully.  I also neglected to cover the boiling jars with 2 inches of water while processing.  I used a scant 1/2 inch covering.  The lids are secure and sealed, so I don't feel my errors were too detrimental.  I do know I will be growing a whole lot more peppers next year if I really want to get anything out of canning pickled peppers.

Print Friendly and PDF

Thursday, August 22, 2013

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} Enchanted Garden

round button chicken


My dad and his wife have an enchanted garden in their backyard.  It is a favorite place the kids want to visit when we are in Spokane.  These are just a few of the numerous grape vines growing all around their garage and fence.

They are hoping to try their hand at a little wine making this fall.

The two of them spend a good portion of their time together going to estate sales and their backyard is full of their found treasures.  

The children could spend hours checking out all the unique items.

This whimsical wind chime is a favorite of mine.


The kids also love my dad's dogs Roxy . . . 


. . . and Izzy.


This is a weed?  I wish we had weeds like this in Utah!

This is also an invasive weed growing around the gardens.  It's too pretty to be one, in my opinion.  The bees absolutely love them.

Print Friendly and PDF

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

And Just Like That She was Gone Again

Boo-hoo!  Our family is breaking up again.  Oleander headed back to school this afternoon, and it will be Christmas until we see her in person again.  Thank goodness we have phone calls and FaceTime.  Keep her in your prayers as she begins her third year at the Aspirancy.

Lil' Lamb and Ollie

Camera shy Ollie

Ollie and Ollie (GG)
Print Friendly and PDF

Monday, August 19, 2013

Little Orc

 Skoshi A had her 14th birthday this weekend.  She is all about The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.  I'm beginning to think she's part Orc ;)

Lil' Lamb was so cute singing the birthday song.  

I always try and get a shot of the birthday candle blow out.  Check out Special K's facial expression.  LOL!

Lil' Lamb wanted to help open gifts.

Here's my little orc with her recurve bow and the very cool Thorin Oakenshield T-shirt made for her by Karate Kid.  One of her other gifts from Karate Kid was an entire notebook with photos of how to dress like your favorite LOTR or Hobbit character using modern day clothing.  It was so cool! Print Friendly and PDF

Thursday, August 15, 2013

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} Home Town Edition

My pretty two oldest daughters on a bridge at the Japanese Gardens in Spokane.

My pretty niece, Jay

My pretty niece, Tay

Pretty GG, who will be 103 in October.  I hope I look as good as she does if I reach 103!


My happy boy at Manito Park


Oldest cousin catching a piggy back ride on her youngest cousin's back.

Our nephew disappeared to say, "Hi" to his girlfriend.  My brother and I tracked him down.  I was under orders to embarrass my nephew.  So I did and got some really cute photos of him and his girl friend, who was a really great sport.


Our GG with all of the great grandchildren.  I snapped probably 20 photos of the group and wasn't completely happy with any of them.  Group shots are tough!

Print Friendly and PDF

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

This Cracked Me Up

Hahaha!  I could not stop laughing.  What am I being recognized for, professional mother?  
The fact that the director is capitalized freaked me out, too.  Who is this all important 
director? Check out the deadline, too.  It already passed several months ago. Oh well, 
I guess I should feel pretty good about being recognized for my accomplishments in 
my own geographical area.  LOL!
Print Friendly and PDF

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Trench Composting

This season I'm trying trench composting in my garden.  It's incredibly easy to do and I'm already seeing vast improvement in my garden soil.  We keep a stainless steel kitchen scraps bucket on the counter and fill it with scraps of fruits, veggies, egg shells, and coffee grounds.  Once it is full we dump it in a bigger bucket set outside our garage.  It takes about two or three weeks to fill the larger bucket and in that time the compost has a bit of time to "cook" before being placed in the garden.

We dig a shallow trench several feet long between rows of plants in the garden.

We then spread our cooked compost down the trench.  It gets pretty stinky, but thats a good thing.

We then cover the trench with soil and just leave it to finish decomposing.

It will be interesting to see how the soil in the composted areas compares to the rest of the garden when Wingnut tills it this fall, but I have a feeling it will be look pretty rich.
Print Friendly and PDF

Monday, August 12, 2013

She Finally Made It Home

Sorry about the extended absence from the blog, but things have been hopping around here.  Our weary pilgrim did make it home, finally!

The pilgrims had a chartered flight out of Rio on July 30th that was to land in Buenos Aires. From there the travelers had ticketed flights on United into New York.  If all had worked as planned, Oleander would have landed in New York on July 31st, taken a bus with her group to Washington DC, spent the night at a convent in DC and flown out to Salt Lake on August 1st.  Unfortunately, the pilot of the chartered Rio flight neglected to register his plane and the flight out of Rio was completely cancelled with no hope of rescheduling.  The IVE WYD organizers put the pilgrims on buses and they drove 63 hours back to Buenos Aires in the hopes that at least some might make their connecting United flights.  They did not.  Imagine trying to reschedule flights for 230 stranded folks in South America on an airline that has only one flight a day into New York.  It was nuts!  United took over the travel planning and randomly assigned pilgrims to open seats on flights over the next several days.  As luck would have it, Ollie was put on the very last WYD flight on August 4th out of Argentina.  She called me at 5 am on August 5th after landing in New York and clearing customs.  I was able to immediately purchase a ticket on Delta for her to fly out of JFK that afternoon. I have to say, I wasn't stressed or overly worried about Ollie's situation at all. I knew the Brothers and Sisters would take good care of her and would not rest until she was home and I was not mistaken in the least. We are eternally grateful to all the IVE and SSVM that took such good care of our girl.

 We had long ago planned a trip to Spokane once Oleander returned from South America and we postponed it a day so that she might join us.  I found a flight to Spokane that connected in Salt Lake City.  She had a short layover in Salt Lake, but it was nice to have her stop over in a location I knew someone could help her out if any other travel woes cropped up.  Once I was sure she was on her way West, I packed up the rest of the kids and we hit the road to Spokane for our planned family vacation.  Ollie actually beat us to Spokane by 1/2 an hour.

Oh, the tales she had to tell!  The pilgrimage through Argentina to WYD in Brazil is one she will always remember and treasure.  It was funny to hear her reflect that the mission work and travel through Argentina made much more of an impact on her than World Youth Day itself.  The group was disappointed with Brazil's lack of organization and horribly disappointed in the liturgies throughout WYD.  Thankfully, the pilgrims had ample opportunity to attend orthodox masses with the IVE priests traveling with them.  It's incredible to see how much growth in independence, spirituality, and understanding Ollie has made in just a month.  We are so happy to have her home and safe.  We are going to enjoy our last few days with her before she returns to school later this month.  Many thanks for the prayers!  God is Good!
Print Friendly and PDF

Saturday, August 3, 2013


Wingnut Jr. and I have been doing a little jogging together.  These jogs are pretty enlightening and I learn all kinds of things about my little guy, because his mouth does not stop moving the entire run.  Did you know tigers are the world's biggest cats and not lions?  Most folks think lions are bigger because the males have all that mane going on.

Anyhoo, the little man is working on running a 5k.  He asked me one day if I would get him some Legos if he ran 3 miles.  I thought that was a fair deal and a good goal to work toward and I also thought it would take several weeks.  Boy, I was wrong on that one!  He went from running just a mile each outing to one day saying, "Today, I think I'll run 3 miles." You know what?  He did it, no prob.  It was amazing and glorious.  You know what we talked about during that run?  How much I was willing to spend on Legos if he achieved his goal that day.

Here he is with his two earned Lego sets.  He has his sights set on a pretty spectacular set once he reaches 10K.  

I'm waiting on taking him out on the road for a real run.  He hasn't mastered running without needing to use the bathroom several times each outing which means we are track bound until the bladder is under control. 
Print Friendly and PDF

Friday, August 2, 2013

Continued Travel Woes for Oleander

Well, tentatively, Ollie has a ticket on a flight out of Buenos Aires for August 4, arriving in New York early on the 5th.  Travel from South America is chaotic right now. Plus, she no longer has transportation back to Washington DC, as the group she was originally traveling with arrived today and they took the chartered bus back to DC. We are depending on the help of the Sisters from the Provincial House in New York.  I am so thankful they are there helping us and taking such good care of Ollie!

This delay means the almost certain cancellation of our plans to travel to Spokane early next week.  The JayP and Karate Kid put in for vacation weeks ago and cannot change that now.  Our visit was scheduled for the 4th-9th, but with Ollie arriving home so late we are not going to have enough time to make the trip.  I do have a couple ideas in the works and I'm still praying it all works out, but right now I have an entire family of disappointed people.

What matters now is just getting our girl home, safe and sound!

As always, prayers appreciated!

Print Friendly and PDF

Thursday, August 1, 2013

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} 8/1

round button chicken


Special K planted these interesting flowers last year.  They are called "Devil's Flower". 


More garden photos this week.  These are my "volunteer" potatoes.  They came up from the compost trenches I've been digging this year.

This is the first time I've been able to successfully sprout carrots.  As long as our soil isn't too compacted, I believe we may actually get carrots this year.


Wingnut Jr. and an accomplice thought it would be hilarious to blow fruit smoothie all over my porch.  I sent my little guys out with a bucket of soapy water and scrub brushes to clean it up.  Unfortunately, wild blueberry smoothie stains porous rock and in the end I used baking soda and hydrogen peroxide to successfully clean up the mess.  Lil' Lamb decided he needed to do some more "cleaning up".

He was determined to get his back clean.


After scrubbing the porch clean, I could not ignore the filthy front doors.  Especially since there had been a big blog of barbecue sauce on them for more than a week.  Charlotte at Waltzing Matilda has been trying to decide on a color to repaint her front doors.  I would love to paint our doors a dark color--red or black possibly.

Scrubbing the doors made this desire even stronger.  As you can see, the hardware was recently replaced by the previous owners and they did not find the time to repaint the doors afterward.  Yep, I'd really like to paint our front doors--maybe a dark red rust?

Print Friendly and PDF