Friday, November 23, 2007

Christmas Ideas

Last year a customer who I've known, casually, for years brought me the neatest gift. She made a batch of sugar cookie dough, which she rolled out on parchment paper and then loosely wrapped it around an empty paper towel roll. She then wrapped the log in a piece of cling wrap to keep it fresh. She tied a couple of cookie cutters to the bundle, with a cute note telling me that she knew how hard it was to find time to make cookies while working.

Why I loved this gift:
#1 I didn't have to mix the dough myself and it was ready to cut into shapes.
#2 When I received the gift, we already had tons of other goodies, so I threw the bundle in the freezer and later when we were bored and starving for something sweet, we got it out and made cookies.
#3 This lady, who I barely know, took the time to make something that was so appreciated. It was thoughtful, usable and didn't clutter up my house, plus it made 4 kids and one busy mom super happy.

This year I plan to make several cookie dough logs to take to my busy friends and to several ladies who are on my Visiting Teaching route.

This is my Mom's Sugar Cookie Recipe, my kids are huge fans of these!
2 1/2 c flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 c butter or shortening
1 c sugar
2 eggs, well beaten
1 T. milk

sift flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg together. (I have never done this). Cream butter and sugar. Mix eggs and milk. Add eggs and milk to butter mixture. Add dry ingredients. Chill dough. Roll 1/4 inch thick. Cut out cookies. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet at 375 for 8-10 minutes. Cool. Frost cookies

*The nutmeg gives these cookies a special taste. Rick isn't a huge fan of that flavor, so I cut it down to 1/2tsp of nutmeg.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Foggy mornings, colored paper Indians and Pilgrims jammed into backpacks, 2 inches of snow, melting. Shopping lists crossed off, refrigerator crammed full of things to cook and bake. Bedding washed for out of town guests, one more bathroom to scrub. Hungry kids drooling over the pie. One more day. Let the Feasting Begin! Happy Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 1, 2007


Here' are the kids, anxious to start Trick or Treating. This year my mother-in-law came with us, I think she enjoyed going with us. This was the first year I can recall that there wasn't any rain, wind or freezing temperature. Two layers of pj's under the costumes were all we needed to wear this year. The jackets stayed in the car, people were able to tell that the kids were dressed up.
This is the one and only costume I made this year. I think it turned out beautifully. The silk fabric was so slick, combined with a slippery lining and even more slick satin blanket binding. At the care center one older man was really impressed by Abby's costume. I told him that I made it myself. He said it was too bad that none of the Japanese elderly people were around to enjoy it. I told him we brought our own and introduced him to Hana.
Abby has asked to keep this out so she can play dress-up with it. I would like to put it away in our costume box. What would you suggest?
We stopped by the Fire Station for candy, Peter was so excited to tell the Fireman that he was a firefighter. The Fireman barely responded, Peter was a bit disappointed by his lack of enthusiasm.
Michelle was so excited for Halloween, every morning for the last week or so she'd ask me if she could wear her pumpkin costume and go get candy.
Cristine was a cute ladybug. This was the last time we saw her hat and pink sock, not sure why she has it on her hand. She was a big hit with the patients at the Care Centers we visited.
Somehow she keeps finding candy, I think it is all hidden away, then I find her with a lollipop in her mouth. I need to go look for candy hiding places in the kids room.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Pictures, Now with Words

We made these candles the other day. I cut out the letters, B,O,O out of some dark colored paper, then glued them to the back of white tissue paper. We then wrapped them around some jelly jars and glued the ends together. Later we put candles inside and lit them. The burnt edges were purely accidental, one stray match caught the tissue paper on fire, we decided we liked the effect and made the others match. The kids had a fun time helping, plus it was very easy and low mess!
Michelle's class when to the pumpkin patch on Tuesday. Notice her cute new hair cut?
Crissy really enjoyed sitting on pumpkins, her back side was pretty muddy by the time we got home.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Get to Work, Part 2 of Harvest

My mother in law came out the last few days of harvest to help us pick our forrelle pears. She is a work horse. After taking this photo, she told me to stop taking pictures and get to work. She also kept telling me that every pear we pick is one our workers didn't have to pick. My thoughts were the exact opposite, every pear they picked was one less I had to pick. Did I mention I had a horrible cold and felt like and elephant was sitting on my chest?
Here she is again, this time she is picking from the top of a 10 foot ladder. I'm above her standing on a 12 foot ladder. Once again I wasn't picking, just taking pictures and enjoying our beautiful view.
Yesterday Abby came running into the house, so excited because she was picked as "Wildcat of the Week". Her school picks one boy and girl from each grade to be the Wildcat of the Week. The school takes a picture and interviews the student asking them their likes and dislikes. One of Abby's likes....High Sch00l Musical. We watched it many times this summer. My kids are obsessed. Abby saved up money to buy the cd. In the photo above, she is dancing to her favorite music. One small coincidence; their school is called Eastside, while ours is West and both have Wildcats as their mascots.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Harvest-Part 1

Here's a few photos from our harvest. I took pictures of most varieties of pears we grow, but you'll have to imagine how beautiful our Bartlett pears were this year. D'Anjou pears. These are hard to figure out when they are ripe, but if you get it right, heaven! A few weeks ago, we went to a small local restaurant. I ordered the pear and Gorgonzola cheese salad, with pine nuts and arugula. It was so good, much better than the main dish I ordered. Need to figure out what type of salad dressing to use, think I may make this for dinner tomorrow night.
Bosc pears. I think these are beautiful, sleek looking. I have a recipe for blanched pears with chocolate sauce. One of these years I'll get around to actually making it.
Forrelle pears. This was only our third actual harvest of these pears, we planted them when Abby was a baby. They are smaller than the other pears we grow and a pain to pick! It always seems like we will pick these forever since it takes so many to fill a bin, but in reality, it only took 5 days.
Bins of anjou pears waiting for me to haul in.
This is my tractor. Isn't it cute? I love to race around the orchard on this. I think the workers like to laugh at me as I bump along. I'm probably not as fast and efficient as some people, but they tolerate me, my tractor and my broken Spanish.
Anjou Pears in a bin.
Harvest was great this year. We had more workers than last year, I only picked had to pick the last 4 days, which was great. The weather was nice the entire time, which was a blessing, picking in the rain stinks!
Get ready, more harvest pictures to come!

Friday, September 7, 2007

More Photos

Michelle started preschool Wednesday. She said preschool was so fun and wanted to go again.
Michelle busy at school.

+++++Sprinkler Changing Time
All summer we have been moving sprinkler lines. Over the last few years we've been putting in more permanent lines, which now allows us a break between when we have to irrigate. These pictures are from Monday, probably the last time we'll use our hand lines for the year.

The kids usually enjoy helping, especially on a nice warm day! Peter loves the sprinklers. He likes to help set up the line then runs down to last pipe and take out the end plug. He fills it up with water, dumps it out, fills it again. Then he drops the end plug and runs off. When we get to the end of the line to hook it up, we then have to search for the end plug-what fun!
Most mornings I try to get up early so I can go out by myself. A little exercise, a little peace and quiet, what more can I ask for?

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

First Day of School and other photos

Things have been crazy busy around here. Grampy McBride came up for a visit. Peter lost his first tooth. School started today, Abby started 3rd grade, Peter 1st. Michelle starts preschool tomorrow. Here are a few pictures from it all.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Blackberry Picking with Cousins

We were able to spend the afternoon with Anna's kids Juddah and Zion. To pass the time we walked down to our neighbor's pond to pick some blackberries. Juddah has the most amazing blue eyes and a cute dimple.
Zion wanted to ride Abby's bike.
Everyone had a good time playing and picking berries. Our dog, Bingo, had a great time (we should have named him Blackberry!). He enjoyed eating the berries from the vine and from the kids bowls. We only ended up taking home about 4 cups of berries.
Cristine liked picking the berries, the thorns didn't seem to bother her.
Zion didn't bother with a bowl, he just ate all the ones he picked. Crissy held onto a bowl, but all of her berries went straight to her tummy.
We had a fun time playing with the boys and look forward to spending more time with them.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

1 Berry 2 Berry Pick me a Huckleberry

Looking for otters at Otter Lake. This picture was taken just before Michelle got her foot stuck in the gooey mud.
What a cutie!
whoops sideways
That's what we're looking for.
Do you see the little huckleberry.
Rick's feeling a bit tired after picking berries all day, maybe he's feeling old since yester day was his birthday.
I'm your Huckleberry.
Hana actually let me take a picture of her, usually I'm only able to take pictures of her back.
Yesterday we decided to head up to the woods to pick some huckleberries. The berries were plentiful, but small. We had a fun time romping in the woods trying to fill our buckets. I've been waiting for these berries-can't wait for huckleberry pie and huckleberry milkshakes and huckleberry pancakes.....maybe we should take another trip to the woods and get more!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

What's Baking?

I worked a few hours on Sunday, but managed to leave early. Sundays always seem like a good day to bake, a tradition I picked up from my dad. He enjoys making desserts and often made fudge on Sundays. That sounds SO good right now, how I'd like to have my spoon ready to scrape out the bowl. Instead of fudge, I decided to make cherry pie. It is Rick's favorite, plus my freezer is full of pie cherries.
Today I mixed up a double batch of zucchini bread. My garden is full of zucchini, we've eaten it bbq'd, steamed, fried, cooked with bacon and egg plant (also from our garden). I've frozen some to make bread with this winter. But everytime I look there is more. So tonight when it cools a bit more, I've got to put the batter in the oven. My mother-in-law makes a zucchini relish which is the secret ingredient in her potato salad. She's made a batch or two, but I think it is time for me to get over my avoidance of canning. Until then I am in great need of zucchini recipes.

Highlights from the Last Week

Read and Finished Harry Potter-now want to start the entire series again, but not sure if I can survive long with only 4 hours of sleep a night.

Entered aprons, kids drawings, pears, cookies and veggies into the Hood River County Fair. The kids made $10 each. I made a piddly $2. We went to the Fair last Wednesday night. Rick had a church meeting, I asked if he would take Cristine, but he declined. Why did I have to take all of them to my Primary Meetings? Anyway I took all four. We had a great time, met up with some friends, they watched Cristine so I could go on a few rides. The fair is small but fun, same rides, same exhibits, same scary ride operators and great food! Love the taco stands!

Friday I decided to change the sheets on our bed. I think we must be the last people on earth to still have a water bed. While lifting the mattress to tuck in the sheet, the seam split and water poured out. Rick helped me drain the mattress, then we threw it out the window. Later that day we went to Portland to pick out a new mattress. We decided on a Sleep Number bed. We are now sleeping on an air mattress and awaiting the arrival of our new bed. For now we will be using our old 70's style frame, but the plan is to eventually upgrade to a newer bed, preferably one with storage under it! It is exciting to get a new bed, but it wiped out my kitchen flooring money. We are now going to go with bamboo flooring instead of the more expensive hard-wood we've been looking at.

Also in new furniture news, we were given a new futon for our family room. Our old old couch finally found it's way to the burn pile.

This morning I asked Peter to drink the last bit of milk left in the plastic gallon. I handed him a glass and the almost empty jug. I turned back to see him drinking from the jug. Once finished, he wiped his hand across his mouth and exclaimed, "I drank that just like Daddy drinks orange juice." Glad we're teaching our kids such good habits!

Monday, July 23, 2007

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARY! Today is my sister Mary's birthday. I was 5 when she was a baby, I couldn't believe that something so small and cute could be alive. My mom would lay her to sleep in a wicker bassinet. I liked to peek over the side to touch her and then I'd quickly pinch her to make sure it was a real baby and run off while hearing her cry.

I like to think that I helped influence Mary in becoming the great person that she is, but I think I caused more tears and torment than I should have. On her first day of junior high, Mary, Wendy and I joined a few friends at Denny's for breakfast. After a quick barely edible meal, we rushed across town to take Mary to the Jr. High. I thought I was being a cool, fun older sister, but we rode in my friend's topless jeep, causing Mary's hair to stand on end. Probably wasn't the way she'd planned to start the year.

Mary, I thought about calling you today, but with your problem phones, I couldn't remember which one was working. Hope you have a fun camping trip. Happy Birthday, I love you! No, I did not forget about your birthday, I just wasn't able to blog until 10pm.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Couple of Answers

Here's a picture of our trailer stuck on the side of the road. If you look closely to the right, you can see Abby and Peter.

Our camping trip was fun, I did not loose track of any of our kids. But while I was on a potty trip, Cristine wandered into the neighboring camper area. We had two families join us on our trip, making a total o 10 kids. The kids had a great time running around playing, yelling, laughing, crying, fighting, playing again. We'd put the kids to bed and then stay up playing phase 10 and talking. We must have stayed up too late, been too loud or our kids must have annoyed the neighbors because on Sunday morning someone left a nasty note on our car. The note said something to the effect: You folks are rude and inconsiderate campers. What a way to end a fun trip. Maybe had they mentioned something earlier we could have been quieter or something.

One of the reasons we like this place is how it is set up, there is a lot of space between camping areas with lots of brush. Different than some of the places we've been to on the Oregon coast where you are packed in like sardines. We think of it like leaving the country to go camping only to end up in the city.

The dog did not go camping with us. A friend from work took him home with her for the weekend. The dog is home with us once again. It seems to be ours now. Still no name.