...and they all lived happily ever after...

...and they all lived happily ever after...

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Family Photos a la This Is the Place Park

Well, it's fall (FiNaLlY!!)

And fall means a lot of fabulous things (like cooler weather and rain and changing leaves to name a few)

But fall also means it is time for family photos (at least in our household).

And since Josh is currently working a hand second job at This Is The Place Park, we opted to head up there on an afternoon to snap some photos and have some fun.

Now, we don't have loads of spare dollars this year to pay a photographer for their time (we know a few amazing photographers so if you are looking let me know and I'd be happy to give you some names) so we set out to do the best we could on our own.

First stop, wardrobe.

I have learned over the years that I like our family to sort of work together clothes wise when we are doing organized pictures.  So we picked a color scheme (navy blue and yellow this time around) and went to work collecting items for each person.

(I always lay out the chosen items together to be sure I like they way they look.)
 Once everyone was appropriately attired, we headed up to the part, slapped our little point and shoot camera onto a tripod and got to work.

Let me share a bit of our fun with you (nope, these are not professional grade, but they will do for now).  We had such a great afternoon.  It's nice to have pictures with the people I love best.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

A little roast trouble

Once upon a time I got up on a Sunday morning and put a roast or two in my giant crock pot so we could have dinner in the afternoon.  Yummy.

And then I came home from church expecting delicious smells and a mostly cooked roast.

But instead I found this.

Yup, still raw. 

And that's when I realized I put in the roast, the water, the seasoning.  I did all the things that had to be done.  But I didn't plug in the crock pot.


Sometimes that's how I roll.

(And thank you taco soup for being a delicious substitute.)

Friday, September 18, 2015

To my paperback pals

The other day Josh called to Aubrey that she needed to come in the kitchen and unload the dishwasher.  She was in the living room on the couch and when he called her she didn't move.  So he stepped closer and firmly asked her again to come and unload the dishwasher.  

She continued to sit there, book in her lap, eyes staring blankly out the window.

Now getting frustrated, he forcefully called to her one more time.

That's when she looked up at him with a face full of mourning and said, "Sorry, Dad.  One of the characters from my book just died and I'm not ready to face the world just yet."

He could have yelled at her, he could have scolded her, he could have reminded her that these characters are fictional and that their death has pretty much zero bearing on life as we know it.  

But her father, an avid reader, having been in that situation himself on several occasions, just nodded and told her to take a minute.  The dishes could wait a bit.

And that made me smile.

Because I love that I have a family that loves books and is completely enamored with reading.

The next day, I came across this little jewel.  

Further evidence of my children's addiction to reading, this image shows the book being read by my ten year old.  He was told he had to take a shower.  He argued that he was reading.  We said, tough luck, you can read after but a shower is a required element.  

So, nose still plugged into the pages, he meandered into the bathroom, but now with no bookmark he installed the book on the towel rack until he could dry off and get back to it (we did have a chat about how a square of toilet paper makes a more appropriate placeholder than a towel rack).

We do love our paperback friends around here (but we are not biased against hard covers either...both are fabulous).

I was glancing around as I started this post this morning and thought how untidy things sometimes look because most of our shelves are bursting with as many volumes as we can get onto them (see below).

But that is life the way we like it.  I love my printed roommates and being surrounded by them is comforting to me.  They are fabulous and it warms my heart that my children find warmth in their friendship as well.  

Seriously, I adore these biblio babies of mine.  I love their smell and I love their feel in my hands.  I love the sound of pages rustling and I love letting my mind run free through their liquid language.

I love that fluttery little chirp of, "Mom, can we have a story time?"  Any excuse to bury my face in a picture book with one of my littles snuggled into my lap is a great thing to me.  I am 37 years old and I still relish any reason at all to revel in a story or a fairy tale.

This is a love affair I hope I never get over.

Books:  good stuff, Maynard.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Birthday at This Is the Place

We recently celebrated a birthday around here.  Our little Logan-Bear decided to get older and we decided to celebrate.

Sadly, Josh was scheduled to work while our family party would have been happening so we decided to take the party to him.  He works at This Is the Place Heritage Park when he isn't working as a teacher so we decided to take our fun up to the park and have some fun there so Josh could be included.

Good idea.

We also discovered it was one of Josh's co-worker's birthday that day as well so we invited the whole crew for ice cream cones and birthday fun.  It really was great.

We ate our melty treat first so as not to end up with an ice cream puddle rather than cones and then we explored the park (which is waaaaaay cooler than the last time I went, which was about 10 years ago).

We caught a glimpse of all the monuments.

Got a little hands on with some of the tools.

Toured historic buildings and museums.

Interacted with animals (both the real and the fake variety).

Rode ponies.

We cooled off on the splash pad.

The kids loved the big "pirate" ship.

And panning for gold.

Other favorite bits were digging for gems in the gem pit (which costs $1, but our kids were in love with it so it was a dollar well spent), riding the train around the park, riding the mini-train around the pond, and exploring the black smith shop.  It was just a lot of fun.

It was especially great because we got to spend time with our Dad which doesn't happen as often as we would like.  

Happy birthday to this little man and happy family day to us all.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015


Just an FYI, my garden STUNK this year.

I don't know what I did to tick it off, but it really stunk.  

Despite my planting of various fruits and vegetables and my watering of said sproutlings and my regular pulling of weeds and adding of fertilizer, most of my plants rebelled and did pretty much nothing the whole summer.  (Thank you pumpkin friends for being the one exception.)

But, despite my garden angst, I didn't end up fruitless after all.


I really do have the best neighbors.  When I whined one night about my plight two of my less-impaired-when-it-comes-to-growing type neighbors swooped in to save the day by sharing their bounty with me.  They brought me a couple of loads of tomatoes because they are amazing.

Seriously, the best people.

Anyway, I was thrilled, so I jumped right into processing these beauties.

But, I decided to try something new (to me) this year so I plundered the internet for a sensational salsa recipe (mostly I just looked at some of my favorite sites and found a salsa recipe that lots of people rated as fabulous).

And I found a great one.  I made a few minor adjustments to help it fit our taste and off I went.

Dear Tomatoes: You are beautiful. Whole or mooshed, I really love you.

WARNING: I did have one little, horrible mishap where I chopped all my jalapeno peppers bare handed the first time around.  

This is a mistake.  DO NOT make it.  You will suffer with bright burning, sore, sad, crying hands for the rest of the night.  You might try soaking them in milk or washing them with oil, but these things will only help a baby smidge and you will be forced to writhe in pain while your children quietly laugh at you (because it is sort of funny to watch a grown woman shake her hands and whine while she does everything else all evening).

Lesson learned.  I will not repeat that adventure.

BUUUUT, it was worth it in the end because
TA DA!!!


It is very tasty good and if you need a good recipe you should try this one.  Or, stop on by and I just might give you a taste.  If you are nice (which you probably are).

My Adjusted Version of the Salsa Recipe (because the first round was a bit too spicy for those of us who have tender taste buds):

8-10 cups tomatoes, peeled, chopped and drained
2 - 2 1/2 cups chopped onions
1 1/2 cups chopped green peppers
1/4 - 1/2 cups jalapeno pepper, chopped (while wearing gloves!!!) 
(1/2 cup jalapeno still leaves a bit of a kick, but is much more kind to our wimpy mouths than the original recipe which called for 1 cup per batch, 1/4 cup leaves is much more mild)
6 garlic cloves
2 tsp cumin (boy do we love cumin!)
2 tsp black pepper
1/8 cup salt
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup vinegar
1  15 oz can tomato sauce
1  12 oz can tomato paste

Put everything into a big pot and lightly boil for about 20 minutes to let it all get together and become delicious.  Seal in jars.  Then hide the jars so people don't gobble it up too quickly.  We got between 4-5 quarts with each recipe.

Hope you like it as much as we do!

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