Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Blue Tape

This past weekend Bryan hunkered down at home and has been working like no other in our yard - actually he started last week and worked through last night. All while fitting in other bits of family time, stuff for Holly and visiting with me. He has been busy, busy, busy!

The Fall season is now upon us and his goal is to get things in shape before the weather changes... as I type this you can feel a light chill in the air and it is sprinkling. The reason things need to get 'in shape' is because we, mainly he, set all that aside to enjoy Summer with us! And, that we did! Although we didn't have any major 'family vacations' planned we enjoyed the lazy days of summer while playing, soaking up the sun, camping our weekends away, venturing into new regions of our state, spending time with family and creating some amazing memories together.

We watched Holly grow even more, enjoy the simple pleasures we often times forget and develop into the feisty yet sweet girl she is. All the while we spent ample time as a family, time I am so glad we had... and made for ourselves! Even though the yard became a bit shabby or house projects sat partially completed - we don't regret any of it!

In fact, this week as company teased Bryan (in good fun) about the blue tape dotting our new trim work... I smiled. In my head I was thinking just how wonderful he was to put that all on hold, for us! How he is not the kind to selfishly push through a project just to get it done for appearances sake - but rather he is the kind to stop and share himself with us. We are lucky that way!!! That blue tape can be there forever for all I care... I know someday it will be done!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Visiting RP

This afternoon I took Holly out to the horse stables & arena to see her Auntie Blayne show. Blayne has been showing for almost three years now through 4-H and loves it!!! We have not been able to make it to a show that she is in - timing has not been in our favor. So, this weekend she in our neck of the woods showing outside of 4-H and we headed on over to see her. She is amazing is all I can say! Granted I have a fear of this large animal - but, honestly Blayne is so natural and performs well!
Holly had a blast watching her show, seeing her horse (RP) and being around all of the bustle. While we were there Blayne placed in one second, two first and a champion, YAY! Holly also enjoyed the endless stream of suckers coming from Grandpa Skip... hmph! He then wondered why she was so attached to him for the afternoon --- I wonder? He loved, you could tell!!!

Soccer Fun

Today was Holly's first day of tot-soccer lessons! She had so much fun and talked about it a LOT today. It was so cute to see all these little kidlets on the field and paying such great attention to the coach as she instructed about 15 little 3 & 4 year olds with such enthusiasm, yet control - kudos to her!

Holly dressed early for soccer, wanted to go early and play before class, wanted to stay after class and play and then come home to... play soccer! Our number one requested activity lately - and today was much heavier than normal. She has even started to bug me to set up a soccer playdate with her friend - who is also taking the same soccer class. She is enthusiastic! I'd say we have a winner in choosing to play soccer, which is very exciting - for her and us. It will be great to see her involved in a class that she is on her own in... she is growing up. Let the fun begin!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Busy, Busy

This has been a busy week for us - lot's of errands, activities, visitors and more!

A fun weekend is approaching though - Holly is starting soccer tomorrow! She is beside herself and can't wait to get dressed up in her new gear and play! I am just hoping she'll be able to listen well, ha! We will also head out and see Auntie Blayne who is showing her horse this weekend in town. They came for dinner last night and Holly was rather giddy with excitement to play with her, not sure Blayne was but Holly sure was! As well, we have lots of yard work and house work planned ~ good thing the weather is good!

Enjoy your weekend!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Enchanted Forest

We spent the past few days down in Oregon, Bryan's old stompin' grounds, visiting his Aunt. It was a nice road trip down and back - we enjoyed a relaxing weekend. While we were there we decided to take Holly to the Enchanted Forest, an old little fairy tale like theme park... old enough that Bryan went as a kid too!

We spent the morning letting Holly explore the park, try out the various rides and discover the little whimsical places in the park. She had a great time! I decided to join Bryan & Holly on the log ride roller coaster... and if you know me, I don't like roller coasters... at all! This looked a bit more doable - but, it was still scary for me! Loooking back, it was cool though!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Freshly Cut

Holly had another wonderful cut earlier this week. She once again looks so much older.... yikes. It is a super cute cut and she *loves* it! Thought I'd share a photo here. She also started back at our weekly preschool meet up - doesn't the backpack look HUGE on her. My baby is growing up.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Dutch Oven Cooking & More Camping

This summer we purchased a dutch oven after several years of talking about it. Our first big trip the boys really tried their hand at cooking in it, on it and with it - we did tons of food in it and for the most part it was all good! Clean up from a dutch oven is work though... and so are all those big meals! So, we took a small break from the dutch oven camping - however we did have a breakfast gathering a week or so ago with the Ross family over fresh blueberry pancakes off the oven.. they were perfect!

This past weekend we headed out camping one final time with a bunch of different families and Bryan decided he wanted to do some more dutch oven cooking. He has perfected the pancake with fresh blueberries. Now we needed to try something new. We went for enchiladas and they were really good! Pretty easy too! Definately a keeper for our camp food catalog!

We went camping up at Kanaskat Palmer state park again with a bunch of families. It was fun to get away and the weather was absolutely beautiful for it! We ventured on a couple of small hikes around camp for some great river views, picked berries, some a big ol' snake, picniced with all of our friends and enjoyed a bit of time at the river too! Holly loved it because she had her friends to share the weekend with! Overall, another fun weekend!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Trying to be Frugal

Well, I have rediscovered the beauty of couponing, freebies and the such.

As a child I clearly remember helping to clip coupons or better yet, unearth them from the community bin at the local grocery store... fun times, fun times! (Kidding Mom!) Well, I guess those skills have finally resurfaced and have found their way to my shopping style. Which of course makes Bryan a very happy camper!

The beauty is that now a days you can find most of these tips and resources on line - easier, quicker and cleaner than the community coupon bin at Mark N Save. However, when I search the trenches of online savings - I find it relevant to several stores we do not have in the PNW or relevant to the land of doubling coupons... which once again, we do not have in the PNW.

So, I am going to attempt a local home grown version of frugality - minus the famed store "CVS" or doubling & tripling coupons... but rather using the resources we have with the stores we have. As well, I will share various tips I have learned or experienced to save a buck, freebies you can find, local attractions and more.

Where can you see all of this? At a new blog I am just starting (meaning give it some time to build up, please!). Share the word if you know anyone looking to be frugal or if you are not that type of person use it for pure enjoyment of laughing at my cheap ways!


Thursday, September 11, 2008

In The Air...

Although the sun has been gracing us a lot lately with really warm temps, I can feel Fall in the air. Each morning the car seems to have a thicker and thicker wet dew on the windows, the air has a nice crisp chill and the birds are very active at the feeders. Each night at dinner we have witnessed the slow migration patterns of Canadian Geese as we sit out side. All small indicators that Fall is just moments away!

I have also started to fight the urge to decorate for Fall... just a few more days and then I'll cave - I can feel it! Pumpkins have shown up at the market and it has taken all resistance to get just one, one small pumpkin to welcome Fall. But, I have held out for now. I am trying to exercise patience and slow down to enjoy these beautiful days, the summer moments and the butterflies & flowers before they fade.

This weekend we are hitting the campground for a final camping trip. The weather looks amazing for us too. We'll enjoy a fun weekend with friends, smores over the fire and a final break out of Holly's swim gear to enjoy the refreshing water. Then next weekend we are heading out to visit Bryan's aunt in Oregon. A pretty drive and his old stomping grounds. We will also be enjoying a local amusement park with Holly - should be fun! Our last to hurrah before we say goodbye to Summer and hello to Fall.

Wishing you all a wonderful farewell to Summer -- enjoy these final days of sunshine and fun.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Puyallup Fair

Last night we headed down to enjoy our state fair! We are just up the hill from the fair and for weeks prior to the actual opening you can see changes happening around the fairgrounds, and considering we drive by the fair several times a week we witness these changes. Holly is always asking about then they are opening and when we are going... and informing me she wants to go on the big ol' wooden roller coaster (yeah, right!). It's pretty cute!

So, last night we enjoyed a fun night of rides, foods, games and farm animals! The fair through the eyes of a three year old... not much in terms of mom & dad seeing stuff we might want, but that's cool as we had fun seeing her have fun! It was really nice because we were able to meet up with some friends while there to visit and the kids enjoyed some rides together - a fun memory for them!

Holly had a blast and I think will be a big adventurer when it comes to rides... she has no fear of them from what we can tell. After all the kiddy rides we walked through the fairway into the big kid rides and I kid you not - she really wanted to ride many of them. Of course that did not happen but to see her interest is... well, yikes! I have some serious fears to overcome before we get there I guess or even before we head to Disney!

First Prize

Bryan and Hawk brew often, well not as often as they would like I am sure. This was there second year entering the state fair (The Puyallup Fair) with their home brews - last year they were successful with all entries placing, a couple of first prizes and a third prize. Well, this year they only ended up with two entries and they each placed as well - a first prize and a third prize! Congratulations guys, well done! Anyone who has been over when we have brew on tap has probably tried their brew - it's pretty good stuff!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Fun @ Home

Some of you may know we plan to home school Holly, some of you may not... if you didn't, you do now! We spend a lot of time at home doing fun projects, themed days and the such. Each week we meet with several friends and experience a coop preschool day with the kids - we have a lot of fun each week. Our theme over the next couple weeks is 'All About Me' so today Holly & I also started this as a theme for at home. Today we worked on her favorite color - orange!

She did a big collage on orange out of several magazine clippings she found. Cutting up my magazines was a fun task and one she had to ask several times "Is this okay Mommy?" - I had to clarify it was okay with these 10 magazines only, ones we will use for school projects. Everything she clipped was orange and we worked on our scissor skills. She also practiced writing her 'O' and the word orange a few times. We sang a color song on orange, blended paint to make orange and she enjoyed an orange snack (orange yogurt, cheddar cheese and orange Fruit Loops). The morning was finished with her making her own play dough colored with orange Koolaid - smelling like orange and looking orange.
Not a bad way to spend enjoying your favorite color - right? Especially if it's all in fun!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Parade & Park Fun

Friday was the Puyallup Fair Parade in downtown - where they run some bulls into the fair which is the official opening. We met up with friends and played at the park and then headed over to enjoy the parade, finishing back up on the playground. It was a fun morning!
Here are some of the kids waiting for the parade... will it ever start?

Meet The Girls

Most folks come over and don't realize we have cats... three of them! Due to Strawberry' escape capabilities we put all three critters away when company comes over. And, if you have children - we keep them out of harms way... meaning cat claws. So, if you have never met the girls - here they are in all their furry cuteness!

Strawberry is our famed escape artist! After spending years outdoors she longs for the warm sun... and who can blame her! But, since our neighborhood is not a cat friendly place she if forced to be caged in our home. Poor thing! She is our oldest cat, but she is still pretty fiesty - Riley brings that out big time! I would classify Strawberry as the head hancho of the house, but Riley is constantly challenging her... keeps her young & on her toes at all times! Strawberry is our friendliest cat, a lap cat in pure form. She has an abnormal obsession with Bryan and stalks him whenever he is home.

Huckleberry is our laziest furball although she started life out as a complete ball of fire, literally climbing the walls. In our first home we had a classic 1950's wood decor cut wall divider that Huckleberry spent many, many hours climbing and sleeping in, not on, but in. She has fashioned her way to sleeping, sleeping, eating and sleeping. But, come 8:00pm - she comes out of lurkdom for attention - and if you give it to her, she does NOT want you to stop. She swipes at you if you stop petting her... I mean how dare you stop petting her!

Riley is our dump cat. Yes, she was rescued from the local dump at a mere 4ish weeks old - we had to bottle nurse her, care for her and the such until she learned all those skills on her own. She is probably our neediest cat - for Bryan & I that is. If your name is Adam... she obviously has an inner resentment towards you, a good memory of torture as a kitten I am sure! Riley was almost named Dingleberry, but Bryan wouldn't let me - however, now that he knows her personality better he might be easily pursuaded, hah! Actually Riley is a big ol sweet pea, fun as all get out, plays fetch like a dog and will ONLY drink from a running fawcett never the water bowl - how primal is that... a waterbowl, hmph! So, if you ever hear whining in the bathroom or she stalks you as you head in - just turn on the water and she'll be happier than a clam!

Friday, September 5, 2008

French Fry

This afternoon I treated Holly to Happy Meal at McDonalds, she ordered a burger & fries. We get home to enjoy lunch and she eats some fries with a big ol' "Yummmm!". Then she proceeds to ask if I know how to make french fries, which of course I do, but share....

Me: "Well, not really. Why do you ask?"
Holly: "I really love french fries."
Me: "Do you know what french fries are made from?"
Holly: "Sugar."
Me: "Oh really. Well, how do you think they are made?"
Holly: Pondering for a while.... "You take a little French and just fry it!"

So, just in case you were wondering how to make french fries... that would be the recipe!

My Little Chef

Yesterday we had Grandma Linda & Grandpa Paul coming over for dinner. We wanted to make a special dessert to share and Holly wanted it to have bananas in it. So, I took a tried and true recipe I love and altered it to a Banana Lush. Holly helped to make it!!! She is a great little helper in the kitchen - in fact she is quiet fluent with making pancakes thanks to Daddy. I bet if you quizzed her she could list all the ingredients for pancakes from scratch! Here are some photos of her helping me yesterday and the recipes follows below:

Banana Lush
1/2 cup butter melted
1 cup flour
1/2 cup crushed walnuts
*melt butter, add flour and nuts - blend well. Press into the bottom of an 8x8 pan. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes. Let cool.

Layer one:
1 brick of cream cheese
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 cup whip cream (cool whip)

Mix well until smooth.

Layer two:
1 large box of Banana pudding
2 cups of cold milk
Mix well until smooth
Layer three:
Cool whip
Sliced bananas

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Homemade Applesauce

Our neighbor gave us a bunch of Yellow Transparent Apples - very cute, small, tart apples. The kind that are perfect for tarts, pies and applesauce. I have opted to try my hand at applesauce - with sucess. The best part, it is sooo easy - I had no idea! I am planning to freeze some of this up and when our own apple tree is ready I will be making loads more... now, to figure out more freezer space!

I had the equivelant of about 12 large apples, so this was the recipe I used.


12 large apples
2 1/4 cup water
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Peel and cut up apples, removing core and place in pan with water, sugars and cinnamon. Mix well and boil down for about 15 minutes. Let cool for a few moments then mash with fork or potato masher as you see fit. Chill & enjoy!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

36th Birthday...

This past weekend I spent celebrating my 36th birthday while camping with family - enjoying a full weekend of fun, kayaking and quadding! It was fun!!! The hard part of doing activities like kayaking or quadding is that you really don't want to take your nice camera with you in fear you'll get it wet or break it... so, we really never have photos of those activities. After this weekend I have come to the conclusion that I need to start carrying one of our older point & shoot digitals for this reason alone. So, hopefully some other moments in our lives will be recorded.

Highlights from the weekend though include taking our kayaks out for a spin. My sister in law Sue also came with us. We went over to Mason Lake and enjoyed the open waters. Even though the water creeped her out, mainly the logged filled wetland area, I think Sue had fun... and I hope that she will soon get a kayak to go out more often with us... HINT, HINT!
We hung around camp and visited, went for a few walks, took Holly to Lake Trask's annual kids carnival and ate loads of wonderful foods!
But, the highlight of my weekend was.... the blind, leading the blind! Yes, you read that right -- while quadding Sue was our lead - since we don't know the area well & she (supposedly) does! She took us all over as we had a blast. Then she ventured into a whole new area that kept getting farther and farther out, smaller and smaller trails... until she was lost. Yes, lost! We had already been out a long time and now we had no idea of where we were. After some dead end trails we found our way back out to a logging road that followed power lines. We took that for a few miles, the wrong way until it dead ended and then looped back finally crossing paths with familiarity. When Sue hit that spot - she stopped and looked at us and said "I am never doing that again, ever!". So, after about 3 1/2 hours we made our way back. We can laugh now, but I know we all had visions of walking back in the dark, LOL! It was fun though! Heck, I even went out the next day with her and let her lead again!