Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Things you find on your children's camera...

(If you are getting this via email the videos may not work.)

The kids' camera memory was full, so I plugged it in to see what I could find.  Here are a few of the interesting things we saw.  Oh man!  Kids sure are silly.  Of course, so is Charles!

Featuring: Aunt Rebecca

Featuring: Uncle Charles

Featuring: Grandpa Andrews, Aunt Aurelia, and Ashley's hands and feet

Featuring: Natalie and the Pampered Chef pitcher lid/mixer

Featuring: Backyardigans Tale of the Mighty Knights, the kitchen counter, and Natalie (just watch the first 15 seconds or so)

Featuring: Ashley, Alona, Natalie, Kristi's hair (for a split second), and the voice of Chase

Featuring: Natalie, Alona, and Ashley

Featuring: Ashley

This picture of Aurelia and Charles:

Natalie's out of focus silly face:

Someone's feet in the car:

A car we are passing:

Natalie with Drew's pacifier:

The Summer of Travels

Warning:   This is a long winded one. There are a few cute pictures, though.

This summer has turned into the summer of travel for me.

In June, I headed to Kansas for my sister's wedding.

In July, I headed to Kansas for my grandmother's funeral.  Traveling to Kansas more than once a year has only occurred one time before.  I believe it was the year after Jeff and I were married.  Three siblings got married in just a few months, so I was there 3 times that year!

In August, the whole family drove up to Oregon for Jeff's sister Kari's wedding.  Of course, since Jeff has so many weeks of vacation saved up, we decided to go up there a week early and visit all of our friends as well.  We left on Friday afternoon, picking Jeff up from work on our way out of town.  We arrived at 8 in the morning on Saturday.  I think we surprised his parents.  I never know what Jeff has planned, but knowing him there were probably no arrangements made!  I had arranged for us to stay with my friend Celina for part of our trip (because no one wants house guests for 8 days, and I was also guaranteed some time with her if we were stay with her).  We stayed with his family until Thursday afternoon.

Saturday, Jeff and I tried to get some sleep.  Drew didn't want to cooperate.  So we went to our house to see how it was holding up.  There were no signs of squatters, so that was good!  Natalie cried because she misses our house.  I miss it too!  We looked around in the garage and found a few things we had forgotten.  That night, Jeff's parents made kabobs and both of his sisters and families were there.  It was nice to hang out all together and I know our girls sure love playing with their cousins!

Sunday morning we got up and headed to church in our old ward.  It started at 9 am and we actually made it on time!  I don't think that ever happened when we lived there.  It was so nice to see all of our friends there.  We socialized with all of our friends instead of going to Sunday School.  I know my dad would not be proud of me for that!  We went to dinner with the Daltons.  It was just like old times.  I have really missed them.

On Monday we met our friends, Bridget and Louis (and Saya too) for lunch.  We got to spend most of the afternoon with them. We had a picnic dinner at the park as a family.  That night I went to my friend Alysha's house for her sister's baby shower.  Jeff and the kids got to hang out with grandma and grandpa.

On Tuesday we headed out for some errands.  We got the girls some shoes for school at Fred Meyer.  I think Fred Meyer is one of the things we miss the most about Oregon.  Not a week goes by that Jeff and I don't say how much we miss it.  It has everything!  We took the kids to the old house so they could see it.  Alona cried.  She said she really misses Oregon.  That night, Bonnie planned a girl's night out.  So, Jeff bathed the girls (after eating some yummy spaghetti grandma made for them) and put them to bed while Drew and I headed over to her house.  So many friends were there.  I really have missed the social life I had in Oregon.  Of course, Alysha didn't show up til at least 10 (she had a good excuse, though) so we ended up hanging out until almost 1 am.

Wednesday, we headed over to the coast, but not until Jeff got a haircut.  I love the Oregon coast (or any beach or coast for that matter).  It was in the upper 90s that day in Eugene, but the coast was 53 degrees!  The ocean mist/fog was ridiculous and it was really windy.  We decided to skip the "beach" area we usually go to and headed up to Heceta Head.  We hiked up the path to the lighthouse.  This is a very popular spot for us.  We have been there many times.  We have many, many pictures of the kids at the coast.  Of course, I wanted to get new pictures of them at the coast for our living room to replace the ones that are now 2 years old.  I don't think Drew liked the cold wind.  The girls ran around and enjoyed it, posing for the camera. Then the battery died.  :(

Thursday morning Alona woke up not feeling well.  She went back to bed for a bit while I got the kids ready to go to a play group with our friends.  When it was time to leave, she jumped up and said she felt all better.  So we all headed over to the park to play.  Kelsey brought Griffey and I cannot believe how big he has gotten.   It seems like he was just born (that was a year ago!).  It was fun to watch him get dirty in the water and sand (but I don't think Kelsey thought it was as funny as I did).  We got to see Ashley's piano teacher Christy and her kids.  Alona met up with her friend Miriam (they were in the same class at school and church).  Natalie played with Abrianna.  She had been begging to see her since she found out we were going to Oregon.  She was so excited to see her.  (Abrianna came up and hugged her as soon as she could at church on Sunday.) After the play group, Natalie went to her house for the afternoon.  She had a blast!  Michelle (her mom) said Abrianna told her that Las Vegas needs to move closer.  That was just too cute!

Our brakes were in need of some work, so Jeff replaced the pads that afternoon (exciting stuff!) while we hung out at his parent's house.  Then we packed up the car and headed to Celina's house.  We got there and I helped her make cookies to take to dinner.  We went to the Raven's house for dinner with the Daltons, Ziolkowskis, and Marianne and kids (her husband wasn't feeling well).  The kids ran around and played.  Then decided to watch a movie (while running around and playing.  It got quite chilly that night.  Drew took his first steps at their house!    It was so nice to visit with Naomi and see her new home.

Friday was the last day of the kid's free lunch program, so Celina suggested we take the kids.  We all headed over to the park nearby.  The kids got their lunches and sat down to eat.  The wind was blowing pretty hard and it was COLD.  They normally make the kids eat the lunches in the area where they serve the food, but they let them leave so we could sit in the car.  The poor kids were freezing.  I have to say, I do not miss Oregon weather one bit!  After lunch we headed out to some thrift stores in search of jeans for the girls.   We found Gap and Old Navy jeans in great condition for $1.99.   We headed over to Kristin's new house.  They have been working hard to get it ready to live in.  It is really cute.  I am excited for them to have a place of their own again.

That night we had dinner with Celina's family and the Daltons.  Alysha and Ian came over after dinner and we all played Rock Band.  I really miss playing Rock Band with friends!  We stayed up way too late and ate far too many cookies.  Spotted dick was talked about all too frequently (thanks to Greg).  Of course, all he knew was that it was some type of food.  So I looked it up to see exactly what it is.  Some sort of dessert that has currants (thus spotted) and is custard like????  Still not quite sure and I don't think it sounds appetizing based on the name or description, but it was funny to hear him use that word as many times as humanly possible in one evening (I guess it was the word of the day at work).

Saturday we planned to run more errands.  We met up with Alysha and shopped at Costco and then searched for giant marshmallows (or smarshmallows as Natalie calls them).  We didn't have any luck in our search.  We headed back to Celina's to clean out the car so it would be easier to pack up after the wedding that night.  Alysha helped Alona clean the back of the van.  It was pretty bad!  It was nice to see the car looking a little cleaner.  We hung out and talked until it was time to head to the wedding.  We dropped Alysha off at home on our way.
The wedding was really nice.  The reception was at Jeff's parent's house.  It was quite cool out, so we brought jackets and jeans for the kids to wear once the sun started going down.  Alona started to get a fever and really slowed down (this was the third day of a fever with no other symptoms- to our knowledge).  I guess her throat was hurting (although she only mentioned it once and said it only hurt a little).  Jeff's sister had strep throat (not the one getting married), so we decided to take Alona to Urgent Care to get her checked out.  She really wanted to stay for cake, though, so we waited a bit.  She was pretty miserable.  It was sad that we didn't really get to enjoy the reception.  At Urgent Care, they looked at her throat and tried to get a culture, but she didn't cooperate well.  What kid likes having a long swab stuck down their sore throat?  The doctor said it was definitely inflamed and gave her an antibiotic.  What a fun night!

We had to leave early Sunday morning to make it back for school to start on Monday morning.  We got up just before 7 am and started loading the car.  We walked out to find our car decorated.

The windshield has "smarshmallows" (there was even an "s" added in front of marshmallows on the package.  The yellow sign says Sunshine in the Soul.
The back side of the yellow sign.
The driver's side.
The back side of the orange sign.
The back window on the driver's side. (from Rock Band-Motley Crue's Without You)
The back of the car. (from Rock Band- Modest Mouse's Float On)
We love you, Alysha!

It was obviously Alysha's doing.

We got the car loaded and headed to Jeff's parent's to pick up a few things and say goodbye.  Our goodbyes the night before were cut short because of Alona's illness.  She woke up feeling like herself again, for which we are grateful!  It was nice to be able to spend a little more time with them before we left.

We made it home at 1 am.  Luckily, it was nice a cool (a rarity even at night here) so Jeff and I cleaned out the car right away.  I think we finally got to bed at 2 am. 

Ashley and Alona started school today.  They even made it on time.  They slept in the car, so they weren't as tired as us.  We celebrated Jeff and Alona's birthday this evening with presents and cake.  Alona wanted an ice cream cake with mint chocolate chip.  I know Jeff doesn't really like mint, so I made the cake with half mint chocolate chip and half cookies and cream.  It is just a chocolate cake in a 9x13 pan with ice cream on top of it, but it seems to be a favorite.  Alona got a few items in the mail from family, some Littlest Pet Shop toys, an iTunes gift card - because she LOVES music, and a scooter.  She rode around the kitchen and living room to try it out.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

What's cooking?

I have been a bit busy lately and have neglected my blog.  Here are some of the happenings over the last two weeks.

Everyone at our house loves pancakes.  These pancakes were made with whole spelt flour and home made buttermilk.  They were so delicious.  The kids had some friends over later in the day and they all ate the leftovers- plain! 

Want to make some for yourself?
‎The Best Pancakes  (this recipe came from my sister, who got it from my other sister- not sure where she got it)

2 eggs
2 cups flour
2 Tbs sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups buttermilk
4 Tbs (1/2 stick) butter-melted
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
beat the eggs on medium speed til frothy
add remaining ingredients and stir just until the batter is
smooth and no lumps of flour remain, do not overbeat.  
(I think there were still small lumps when I stopped stirring.)
Ladle batter onto griddle heated to 350 F.  
When bubbles come to the top in the middle of the batter, flip and cook until browned.
I've been looking around the world wide web for good whole food recipes.  I am taking some ecourses from the GNOWFGLINS website.  There are recipes on the blog that looked quite good.  The one that stuck out the most was these Arabic Meatballs.  The kids gobbled them up!  We made them with ground beef, but I would love to try some ground lamb.

On the side, we served summer squash with onions sauteed in butter.  The kids didn't really love them, but Jeff and I sure did.  Fresh sauteed summer squash is so delicious!

We also had roasted brussel sprouts.  I have never seen such small brussel sprouts as these.  We cut them in half and tossed them in olive oil.  They were a bit bitter.  I am not sure if they were too young or too old, but I've had much better tasting in the past.

One of the reasons life has been so busy lately is the passing of my grandmother.  I wrote about her in a previous post.  She was 90 years old.  Drew and I flew out to Kansas City for her funeral.  It was nice to see everyone again- we were just there a month ago for a wedding!  It was fun to look through all of the pictures she had.  There were pictures of my dad and his sister when they were young- some with their parents and grandparents.  I only got to meet one of my great grandparents- my dad's grandmother.  She lived into her 90's as well.  My grandmother also had pictures of Europe at the end and right after WWII.  Those are really great pictures to find.  My dad and aunt were actually born in Germany after the war.  We got to rifle through all of her things trying to decide what to donate, sell and keep.  She had the biggest collection of post cards.  My sister Rebecca was always surprised to find another large stack of them in box after box.  We wonder if they are from all of the places she has been.  She traveled more than anyone I know.  She lived through the Great Depression, survived Polio, served in the WAC during WWII, got a bachelor's degree as a single mother in the 1950's (which today would be no big deal, but back then it was practically unheard of), and traveled the world throughout her life.   Lucky for us, my dad recorded her telling stories of her life and had them put on CDs for all of us.  She saw so much in her lifetime.

My inheritance was some Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (apparently she had quite the candy stash and my dad wanted us to inherit it) and a CREPE PAN!!!!!  I know, it seems like such a simple thing.  My mother had the same crepe pan when I was growing up.  I have searched for a similar pan.  When we were going through her belongings, one box was labeled "crepe pan."  I was all over that!  I was so excited when I found it to be the ONE I have been searching for all these years.  I asked my dad if I could have it, as my kids are crepe fanatics as well.  So here is our first time putting it to use!  It took a few tries to get it right, but once I had it figured out it was the easiest thing ever.
Dip it in the batter and cook.  You don't really have to flip it because they are so thin, but sometimes I did.

I didn't get pictures, but we spread homemade strawberry jam on them and rolled them up.  The kids like theirs sprinkled with powdered sugar (or doused).  I also like fresh whipped cream, but didn't have the cream on hand.  I think we will be eating crepes more often around here!

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