Friday, May 31, 2013

On Memorial Day weekend I was cleaning my room watching cooking shows on PBS and thought, 'I'd sure hate to be a vegetarian today' because it was all meat and BBQ- from Oaxaca Mexico to Kansas City!  Then our friends, Shaun and Andrea, invited us over to their house and served some awesome BBQ and it was like heaven!

Our neighbors Jeff and Darlene invited us over the next day for another BBQ.  Aren't we lucky?

We had a camp out with our church family recently, and this year, I actually bowed out.  I have been camping with small babies often enough to finally have realized that it's not fun.  As much as I love our ward members and as sad as I was on missing out on the chance to get out of the house, it was for the best.   Maybe we can snatch some pictures from someone.  Pat and the boys had a great time.

I needed something to send for everyone in my family who went camping, to eat with their hands. I had some hamburger I needed to use so I made calzones.  (You have to pronounce that like the Italians do.)  I made my easy french bread recipe that I use for pizza crust, and put ground beef, tomato sauce, and cheese inside to bake.  I guess I haven't made these for some years because the kids thought they were super fun and delicious.
The kids LOVED making them, but they're not a snap.
Later we had signed up to feed the missionaries, and again, I looked at what I had, and there were potatoes and still some hamburger, but not enough to make hamburgers like Pat wanted.  I also had some leftover ham and broccoli, so I made two types of stuffed potatoes.  A ham, broccoli, cheese, sour cream and onion version, and a sloppy jo and cheese version.  Kind of a weird dinner, but hey.  The missionaries loved them.  I also made cinnamon toast in the oven with the leftover french bread for them and salad.

My potatoes were stuffed way high, but I like this picture below from pioneer woman of a pizza version- the link is below.  Looks good!
http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2013/04/pizza-potato-skins/

This was dinner one night, and honestly the best coleslaw I've ever had!  I wish I could remember how I made it.

This was another dinner.  Palta (which in Chile is avocado mashed up with lemon, evoo, and salt) along side roasted yams, red bell pepper, black beans, etc.  Anyway- it was really good and comes from this recipe where you're supposed to put it in a burrito, but we didn't get that far.http://www.melskitchencafe.com/2013/02/black-bean-and-sweet-potato-burritos.html

Does anyone want to pay me a million dollars for this?  I entered it in the Pillsbury bakeoff contest, but I didn't win.  It is the best Key Lime Panna Cotta Pie out there; Also the only one.  Sorry it looks kinda blue.  It is the lighting.

A delicious curry made with chick-peas.

Farro and Quinoa for breakfast.

Stephanie- you better love lentils girlfriend.  I love them more and more.

Shepherds pie with lentils instead of meat.  We cooked the lentils until soft with some onion, garlic, carrot, and celery, and then turned it into a gravy perfect for shepherds pie.  There wasn't a bite left.

Noodles with squash and carrots in a cheese cream sauce.  Everyone liked it, but I won't make it again since I had to slice the veggies in thin ribbons which takes too much time.

Beans, onions, corn, and squash.  I think this recipe was called Not Quite Succotash or Calabacitas.  It was good.

Homemade granola bars.  I perfected them for Evan's lunches since store-bought healthy ones are so expensive.  Wheat germ, oat bran, peanut butter, honey, whole wheat flour, flax, oats, etc.  Lots of good stuff.  The ones below don't have the chocolate chips, but have pumpkin seeds instead. We love these.


Then my friend Chantelle brought us her famous caramel brownies.  She makes brownies and then pours the homemade caramel on top.  They are so decadent! 

Eggs in a hole.  The kids really liked these because they are fun.  I remember my mom making them too.  I spread cinnamon sugar butter on the cut out holes and then baked them in the oven at 400 degrees until they were toasted and the sugar was caramelized.  Too much work for normal days, but fun for a change. I ate it with a fork, but the kids loved just picking it up!
Yesterday I was all day at the temple with the youth from our Stake.  It was really neat as some of them found their own names of their deceased ancestors to do work for in preparation for our pioneer trek next week.  I found some names too!  It was really beyond wonderful.

When I got home the table was set with candlelight and Pat served me dinner while I talked his ear off.  It was so nice of him, because I hadn't eaten.  I wondered what in the world he was going to feed me all special-like since we were nearly completely out of food.  He did salad for the first course, and the farro and beans for the main meal.  Tis' a gift to be simple.  And it was delicious!

He had set the table all fancy, but I messed up and used my salad fork for both plates.  I'm so ashamed.


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Hiking the Sandias

So once or twice a year I take over Karisa's blog and share something I've done.  To start off my weekend I went out with my neighbor on Friday morning to hike around in the mountains near our home.  We figured they were going to close the forest lands soon because of how dry it is and we wanted to get our fun in before that happened.  This is a hike we'd been talking about doing for a couple of years and so it was nice to check this one off of our list.

Yeah, even on Memorial day weekend it's cold early in the morning at 10,000 feet.

It took us about half an hour to get to the Tram terminal from where we parked.  This is a picture of our destination, a ridge that juts out from the main mountain face, we were going as far as you could go without climbing equipment to right about the middle of the picture (traveling from left to right), just before the last upward jut on the right.

Yeah, we were high up.  One of the first tram cars coming up after we were finished.

Roads?  Where we're going, we don't need roads.
This was a fun part of the hike, dropping around 500 feet of elevation in about .3 miles going through scrub oak and aspens.

If you look closely you can see the tram terminal in the background.

My friend thought this was funny for some reason, me afraid of heights and leaping carelessly from rock to rock with 800 foot drops on both sides.

I love this picture, it gives a bit of scope.  The mountains are so massive and we are so small.  I love nature.  When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur and see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze.  Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee, How great Thou art, How great Thou art.

Can you see me scared to death?  Five points on the ground, getting some courage to carry on.  There's something absolutely wonderful of taking yourself to the point where your legs are shaking, your palms are sweating, your heart is racing, your breathing is coming quickly and then you push through it and conquer your fears.


At the end of the journey, resting up before heading back.  Yeah, that's a really, really long way down.

Scariest part of the journey for me.  I'm fine as long as I don't have to look down but that was inevitable here as there weren't many places to put my feet.  The narrowest part of the way, some of the largest drops on both sides.
Mike signing the Geocache.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Rick, having just finished up his time as a  Naval officer of a nuclear ship, stopped in New Mexico to be present for his nephew Charles' blessing.  We were soooo happy!!!  We missed seeing Sunny and their kids though, but I was so happy that he spent all that money and time to come!  Especially since he's leaving for Boston and MIT next.

The blessing was great, and this is the only picture I took!  We're all tired because it's early Monday morning and Rick is leaving to catch his flight. Daisy and Charles are still asleep so they're not even pictured! Failed again to take pictures when it counts!  Charlie was so cute and I didn't even take a picture.  He wore the same sleeper Dallas wore when he was blessed, and Dallas will be 11 this year!

I even planned to take pictures at the airport, but forgot the camera.  It was funny though when we all went to the airport to pick Rick up, I told the boys the first to hug Rick would get a prize.  Then as his plane deboarded, I tried to trick the boys into hugging random people by saying, that's Uncle Rick! There was this really dark Indian man they almost hugged, a really old man, and a man who I swear was 7 feet tall.  I was cracking myself up.

Then they were cracking me up by singing Alice Cooper's Poison at the top of their lungs while we drove home.  Yep, Rick got that special treat.  Sometimes you feel ashamed even while you're laughing.  Sam really likes that song, and now even Leia says it's her favorite.  Of course everything is her favorite.  

All right everybody!  Let's dance!  I'll be your instructor today!
First do this...
then this...
now this...
then freestyle!
She loves to dance and to tell others how to dance.

I still say these swings were our best purchase ever!

I just cleaned out my spice cupboard.  Apparently I always forget I have Thyme and Cloves, so I have three and four jars of that stuff.  Then the kids made tuna sandwiches and experimented with all different seasonings and vinegars etc.  I told Dallas, "You don't eat bay leaves, their for flavoring soups and stews and then you take them out."

"Well, I just ate one", was his smiling reply.  He made me laugh.

He just tried out for a challenge soccer team, but in the end it's going to cost so much for the extra stuff that comes with competitive soccer that we're just sticking with regular AYSO soccer.  We don't know if he made the team or not, but after looking at the budget, that's what we've decided.  It's nice to have an anchor.


I got one fist of iron and the other of steal.  If the right one don't get ya, then the left one will. -Charlie

When three year olds dress themselves.
Just chillin'.  Our doctor convinced me to put Daisy in speech therapy, so I figured if I had to make the drive I might as well do Dallas too.  Here we go again! 
This is Evan's last week of school.  We actually made it!  Thanks to one awesome teacher, Ms. Wilson.  She and I are kindred spirits.  And thanks to one awesome charter school opening up out here with a wonderful principal who has impressed me, so we are putting all the boys in next year.  We will still pray about it every year, and we may return to homeschooling in the future, but for now, it will be an exciting new adventure next year.  I'm sad and happy.

We had so much fun at the end of the year award ceremony.  The junior high and highschool kids had won numerous state and national awards, and one family of 11 got up and sang the most beautiful song in perfect harmony, and the guitar kids played songs, and then there was a dance.  But to start off the dance, all the grades performed their own dances that they had learned in PE.  Evan did the chicken dance, which was a lot like a square dance, with all the kindergarteners and first graders.  They were sooo cute!

And then the 2nd and 3rd graders did their dance, and all the way up to the top (this year that's 10th grade), the dances getting more and more complicated, and with how much I love dancing and music I was so impressed I thought I would fall over.  The fourth graders were doing a complicated dance to Irish music, and the highschoolers even better!  Then the whole school came out and rocked my world with Shakira's 'Waka Waka-This ones for Africa' song.  They did it like a line dance, with a freestyle part and I LOVED it.  And what I loved most was that THEY loved it.  You could see how happy the kids were from highschool, all the way down to kindergarten.  It was loud because of the clapping and shouting parts and so fun.

In a world where kids are brought up thinking dancing = sex and that it is dancing to grind up on someone, or to pair off and bear hug like at my school dances, it was so refreshing to see that old fashioned dancing where everyone dances together in a pattern and everyone can participate and have a great time.  And they didn't even need poles.

I wish we did this at our church dances, although they do have some of that.  They do line dances to all sorts of music now.  It's weird, but the youth love it.  Oh- and Sam was out dancing with everyone on the Africa song and just caught on.  Dallas was off playing with his friends, and Daisy was super offended that I wouldn't let her dance with the highschoolers.  She loves to dance!  I could have stayed all night, but we had to leave because Charlie was too little for that scene.

The school has only about 250 students total this year, but they will be up above 400 next year, and the following year they will be at capacity which is around 500 and have all the grades from K-12.  I hope it just gets better, and the growth doesn't affect things negatively.  We loved having Evan in a first grade class with only 12 students!  

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Cray-Cray

Charles-

I was up at 2, your dad at 3, me again at 4:30 for the rest of the day. Your cute, but you're making your mother cray-cray.

Sincerely,

Me

I hurt my back carrying Charlie in his car seat one night when I had to take him into a trek meeting.  I didn't realize I'd hurt it, but after carrying it a lot, and far from my body so my legs don't bump it, and to get it into the middle of the car, I'm sure that was what did it.

I almost couldn't move for several days.  That's never happened to me before.  I thought if I just slept well one night it would be fine in the morning, but no.  I couldn't even get out of bed in the morning!  It's taking a long time.  At first I could barely stand up from a sitting position, or lay down.  Now when I read to the kids at night I lay on my stomach, and then find that I can't get up.  Or even if I just take too big a step it's crazy painful.  I'm never carrying that car seat again!

I am still recovering in other ways, and having no fun doing it.  I just feel restless.  I want to do stuff with the warmer weather, and exercise, but am having one health issue after another that prevents it.  If it weren't for the joy of a child, no one would ever do this!

I sure love you, my Charles. 



Friday, May 3, 2013

Hagar the Horrible

One day at the store, a lady I was standing behind in line, invited the boys to join her play, Hagar the Horrible for the community here in our town.  I knew she was a retired teacher and had seen her doing story time at the library and at other charity functions around town, so I said we'd try to come.  That was at the beginning of April.  After four practices in two weeks, there were four performances, and it all finished up in the same month!  We came in late of course, everyone else had practiced more, but it was a blessing for us, because I couldn't  have handled more.  We got in at the last moment!

The boys were reluctant (to put it mildly) at first, and now they both want to be in her future plays.  It was too unorganized for my taste but I was just glad to have a free learning opportunity which for homeschoolers is awesome!  I mean, I paid for a theatre class for D when he was four that wasn't near as awesome as this free opportunity.

The play was about Vikings and Hobbits and Mermaids and Fairys- I had a hard time figuring it all out, but the boys had to memorize lines, speak loudly, dance, sing, change costumes, and enjoyed playing with all the other kids in between, and even got a t-shirt with their names, a button, and cd with the music as souvenirs.  They were also well fed.  Who could ask for anything more?
Getting ready for the first performance.  It was located at our towns zoo.

D as Frodo.  S as a townsperson.  They're performing the song 'There's No Time Like the Dark Ages'.

S as the guard for the king of England.  He was also a soldier from Scotland at one point and that costume looked awesome on him, but I didn't get a picture of it.

D ad S as kings guard.




Pat understood the play better and after he explained it, it was quite funny.  All the kids had trouble talking too quietly so I missed a lot.  But hopefully they'll get better as they grow.  Maybe.  Maybe not.

E's tooth

His letter to the tooth fairy: