Friday, January 30, 2009


I love where I live. I pray that Idaho Power will let us stay for a long, long time. When we left the house this week, to go into town for our "Crazy Tuesday ritual" which consists of: piano lessons, chime choir, lunch with Grandma- (except this week we had a big Chinese New year lunch/culture activity with our homeschool group --more on that later) and then swimming at the city's indoor pool with the homeschool group and sometimes a trip to library......whew..gasp....anyway....that morning, the drive out of the canyon began at 8:45 a.m. with a -6 degree temperature and absolutely beautiful sunlight sparkling off the frosty trees. click on this photo to get the full "cold" effect
I felt almost euphoric and the children and I marveled at how even cheat grass was beautiful that morning because it and everything else was sparkling like diamonds in the sunshine. The sun has made itself pretty scarce around here the last 2 or 3 weeks. I don't mind cold, but I do mind greyness that seems to have no end. By the time we straggled home that night, the clouds had returned and that COLD grey look was settling in......but I have to admit: it's still beautiful.

I love our cozy little house, that looks like it could fall off the edge into the canyon when viewed from above, but when you're here-- feels quite firmly planted on the ground. Come visit us, when sunshine and warmth have returned for good and the drive down isn't quite so treacherous...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Blogging is Great

This blogging thing has been so much fun. When I started 6 months ago, I had no idea that because of blogging I would stumble across my best friend from highschool, one of my favorite roommates from college, besides meeting new people in other states and keeping up friendships with local friends. much fun.

I have to share this- Cynthia, who was my best friend in highschool, just started a beautiful blog showcasing some of her lovely bead creations. I'm amazed at her ability to find time to create with 4 busy boys; 2 of them being twins!

Boxes are Best

Where have the kids gone to? They're being so quiet......

Here they are! In the new dishwasher box- eating huge carrots right out of the bag and all the marshmallows.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Butternut squash soup

Today, with the beautiful snow coming down (Yay!! Snow is so much better than the eternal fog we were having!) it's put me in the mood to make butternut squash soup and homemade bread. I have a few squashes from the garden that I need to put to use before they go bad and end up becoming dinner for the chickens. Look at this squash- I don't know if you can tell from the picture, but it was a biggie.

I case you're curious, yes, I love squash soup (I like pretty much any soup)but no, my kids will not be ecstatic about about dinner to night. Oh well. I've been a mom long enough now that it doesn't hurt my feelings too much. Did you know that I have a child (who will remain anonymous for the sake of his privacy), that when I asked him what dinner he wanted me to cook for his birthday, he could only think of ONE meal he even likes? So sad.... but you can see now why I've grown a bit desensitized to my children's opinions on food.

Back to the soup topic. I don't really use a recipe- I just saute butter and onions, then throw them in with the cooked butternut and some chicken stock. I add various spices and a dash of cayenne for added flavor, then run the soup through the blender. A lot of recipes call for a touch of nutmeg or cinnamon but then even Joel would rebel.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Some Photo Memories of "Cool Ringings"

We had a really fun time at the chimes conference last weekend. All the musical activities that kept us running, dorm time with our friends, eating in the cafeteria with a great all you can eat salad bar: it added up to be a very memorable weekend. :-)

Here's an interactive picture/scrapbook dealy-o. If you click on the pictures they'll enlarge.
Click to play Cool Ringings 2009
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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Dried bananas- yum!

I have a couple favorites in the world of dried fruits: apricot leather, plum leather and dried bananas. I haven't made the latter in quite some time. I finally got around to making a couple trays of them and they were eaten up in less than a day. Homemade dried bananas are not even in the same universe with the store bought ones!

You start out with bananas that are starting to get "gross".

Slice them up in approximately the same size slices,

12 hours later- finished! And yes, they are much more brown than the ones at the store but they taste better that way. :-)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Happy Birthday Joel!

Well, I haven't posted in a while and I really should be jumping in bed- BUT I wanted to get this up before another busy day begins anew. So, with that introduction:

Happy Birthday Joel!! From the kids-
and me. I love you....

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Bell Choir Field Trip

We are so excited about our trip tomorrow! My 3 older kids and I are traveling with our "Freedom Ringers" and "Liberty Bells" group to Caldwell for a 3 day bell choir conference. (Did you ever imagine there were conferences for bell ringers?) I didn't want to miss out on all the fun, so I offered to help drive our homeschool's bell and chime choir and stay and chaperon in the dorms.

Our group of ringers was just organized this September but they are doing amazingly well and are a lot of fun to listen to. I plan to take a few pictures and maybe a video and I'll post it when we get back. Meanwhile, I'm packing a bunch of reading material in case I'm lucky enough to have spare time on my hands. Let's see: my stack includes a book titled "Choosing and Keeping Ducks and Geese", "Sheep- story of the humble animal that built the modern world", "Water from a Deep Well- Christian Spirituality from Early Martyrs to Modern Missionaries", and my latest Kitchen Garden Seeds catalog and Murray McMurray Rare Breed Poultry catalog. I'll let you know if any of them are real page turners so you can ask for them at your local library. :-)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Pain au chocolat

Thanks to Mandy, my sister-in-law, for posting her delicious pain au chocolat recipe on her blog. (Mandy is always such a gourmet- everything she makes is amazing!) I finally had a chance to try out her recipe yesterday and the bread turned out so flaky and tender. In the center is a yummy chocolate center. If you just make the dough, leaving out the chocolate, I bet it would make great homemade croissants.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

They can't all be winners...

I added a handful of raisins to our smoothie tonight. Uuaaickkk...aaugg... it kind of... auug...made a weird gritty texture... I couldn't even finish my glass. Joel drank 2 cups but he's not quite as averse to texture in his drinks as I am. Did you know raisins are a great source of the trace mineral boron? Boron is recommended for helping with bone health and preventing osteoperosis. But I've come to the conclusion that I won't be drinking my way to raisin-caused bone health.

Winter Skies

“Look round and round upon this bare bleak plain, and see even here, upon a winter's day, how beautiful the shadows are!" Charles Dickens

The drive into town a few days ago resembled my vision of "the lone and dreary world". The heavy grey sky seemed so dark and bleak for being 10 a.m.! But even so, I appreciate how the snow adds an element of austere beauty to the normally barren scene. I hope the snow returns soon.

Friday, January 9, 2009

How many vegetables can I hide in here...

While visiting Phoenix this December, Joel and I went to the Costco with 7 hungry kids in tow. We ended up in front of the Vita-Mix demonstration table and stayed long enough to eat 4 different delicious demonstrations. Guess what we ended up buying? A new mattress! No, just kidding, we bought a Vita-Mix. :-) I was excited because it was actually Joel's idea. He turned to me during the demo and said, "I think I'd rather buy this than a new gun." I about fell over.

I've mentioned before that I like to serve healthy smoothies at dinner.
Now with this nifty new gadget I've been trying to hide even more vegetables in what should taste like a normal fruit/berry smoothie. I've found we can add a whole tomato, about 4 or 5 baby carrots, a leaf or two of romaine and a handful of spinach without compromising the flavor. The other day I threw a whole large carrot in and you could taste slight carrot undertones - but it still melded well enough with the other flavors that everyone asked for seconds. YES! My children will choose smoothies over salad any day, and by putting the salad in the smoothies- we're all happy.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Eggs Again....

I just couldn't help myself. I had to share another egg picture. This time it was a double double lucky day! I was making our breakfast favorite- Swedish Pancakes, which calls for 4 eggs. After the initial excitement of breaking 2 double yolkers in a row, I pondered with the kids for a minute if I should go ahead and add 2 more eggs. We decided against it. The pancakes turned out delicious. :-)

The egg-picture-taking fever must be contagious around here because when I got home the other day, some photos like this were on the camara:Taylor explained he'd gone out to take care of the chickens and was amazed at how big this particular egg was compared to ones we usually find. Of course he had to get a picture! Here's the side by side comparison with a normal egg:

Okay, I'm laughing at myself that I've devoted yet another post to eggs. I'm just a nut.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Reagan Ponders the Universe....

This evening Reagan came up to me with a note of surprise in his voice- "Mom, it's night again! Why does it keep doing - morning, night, morning, night, morning, night??" I gave him the little explanation about how the earth keeps turning round and round, which makes the sunshine come and go, and than that makes day and night. With an incredulous look he asked, "Is that normal?" Aah....sometimes don't you just want to give your kids a big squeeze and never let them grow up?

While I'm on the subject of Reagan, here's a clip Joel took of him when he was drawing. You have to look close, but watch his tongue. He cannot keep it in his mouth.

Snowed Out

The kids have been counting down the minutes and hours until the first day of skiing. In fact, Sunday afternoon Taylor fell asleep wearing his ski goggles.

What a bummer that skiing was canceled today at the last minute because of snow! So we are staying home- shoveling the driveway, doing school, laundry- exciting stuff like that. Here are some pictures of the kids sledding and views of our canyon set to music. We'll see if I'm smart enough to get this techno doo-hickey to work without help from my sister! (After hitting the purple play button, you may need to hit another arrow at the top of the screen)
Click to play snowday
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Thursday, January 1, 2009

Christmas Eve

This year, since we sort of missed Christmas while being in Phoenix, we decided to make our New Years Eve into Christmas Eve. I wrapped presents for what seemed like hours, family came over and had dinner, we acted out the Nativity, Grandma (the beautiful lady pictured here) passed out her famous homemade pajamas- the WHOLE deal. It was wonderful and strangely enough- or maybe it isn't so strange- it actually felt like Christmas Eve!

Here is the whole cast that acted out Luke 2......

Reagan was Joseph this year- but, ahem... so was Taylor. They both wanted to be Joseph so rather than have tears about it, we quietly let there be 2. All the head coverings are from Israel and a few of the robes. Some have been around since I was 5 years old and my dad was sent overseas for 6 months (with the Marine Corps). Later, my sister Havilah bought more when she did a study abroad program there. Aren't they great?

Here is a back view of Taylor in one of the Israeli robes.

Dad purchased this pretty shawl, that Hailey is wearing, in Spain- during that same overseas deployment. Somewhere in my parents house, in old photo albums, there are pictures of me wearing this shawl on Christmas Eve too. I love this tradition.

The angels speaking to Mary were a little bit shy.

Spencer is beaming about his "good news" but Heidi continued to be a little bashful.
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!"