Saturday, March 31, 2012

A nice dinner

From a few weeks ago...braised short rib stew from a Williams-Sonoma soup book (written by Marcus' coworker's wife):

Apple pie much easier than an apple pie or an apple cake!

Martha Stewart food magazine

Combine 2 c. flour, 1 c. brown sugar and 2 tsp cinnamon (I also added some nutmeg). Cut in 2 sticks cold unsalted butter. Press 2/3 in a 9" springform pan. Mix 5 pounds peeled/sliced tart apples and 2 Tbsp lemon juice and put in the pan (I used about 3 pounds apples). Sprinkle remaining crumb mixture on top. Put pan on a foil-lined pan and cook at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until golden brown on top. Run a knife along the edge of the pan, and let the cake cook in the pan until set. Serve at room temperature.

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Builder's Expo

Pictures from last month's homeschool group Builder's Expo (March 10th):

Mariposa has been building with legos alongside James for a little while now:

Bunny made this birdhouse with her grandpa when he was here in January:

James and his good friend Dominic displayed some Lego creations together:

I helped put on the Expo with my friend and neighbor Rosina. We all had a great time, the kids making and displaying their creations and then seeing everyone else's, and me taking care of the business end to make it enjoyable for all the families. Marcus got stuck on Gemma duty but I think they both had fun too; there were lots of exhibits to see, and some fun games and crafts to keep the littles busy. All in all a fun morning in March!

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Bunny is on spring break...lots of time to create....

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Monday, March 26, 2012

Making lunch

This is one of the many things that can happen if I start making lunch too late:

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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Opening day

Today was officially opening day for our vegetable garden! We had decent, dry weather, 60 degrees for only the 3rd time this year (mom and sibs, stop laughing). I wanted to see what I had out there, especially in the perennial bed, and start a spring clean-up list. Mariposa is always up for an adventure so she joined me. Here she is digging a hole to China:

So I got going. The perennials look nice, and I see some that can be divided, always fun. I have some plans for our octagon deck but I think those are on hold this year. Today I found that it is not that easy to garden when one is entering one's 7th month of pregnancy. But it was nice outside, and even if I was very slow I still got some stuff done. Here is Mariposa, bringing a bucket of compost in for me:

Other than the perennial bed inspection, my other goal for today was to prepare 2 spring beds for lettuce and peas. This is one area, next to the kale that overwintered and the strawberry bed that is double the size it was last year:

The second small bed, one that dad made for me a few years ago, with a trellis for peas. More kale that I just can't bring myself to tear out yet. I covered the bed with trays/scraps after seeing our outdoor cat, Catnip Nudge, come THIS close to using my new soil as a litter box.

I have a nice little list of what I can do in the next month. We do our "real" work in May so I only have to putter around for now, which is fun for me. Top on my April to-do list is to get the strawberries looking good. I will keep the large strawberry bed in the vegetable garden one more year, and border it with annuals later (I love looking out my kitchen window at the colorful flowers). I also need to divide those perennials and possibly add some, add some chicken wire to under the decks to keep the visiting chickens in and the cat out, and if course plant the lettuce and peas. Nice manageable tasks, things I can do while Gemma is playing outside. Looking forward to this very easy-going gardening year.

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Saturday, March 24, 2012

On the sunny Oregon coast

Here is a photo journal of the rest of Joe and Stephanie's visit to Oregon....

After Tillamook we drove up the coast to Cannon Beach to eat lunch at our favorite seafood place, Dooger's. But it was closed!! So Joe being Joe walked into a coffee shop to ask for another recommendation, which led us to Ecola Seafood. It was perfect for our group. Ordering was fast and kid-friendly while still having a complete seafood menu.

Stephanie really wanted fresh oysters and they had them here!

Here's the gang:

We made our way to the beach. It was so so so cold!!! Mariposa was ready to go back the moment she stepped foot in the sand (she probably was going through fever/chills which would not be fun in that weather). I was happy to take her and Gemma back to the van. So glad to have that large van, by the way!

Luckily we got this quick picture before going back (Posa is crying):

Daisy and the kids loved playing on the beach despite the cold. The adults not so much, but they obliged the kids and now they all have memories. On the way home we stopped by Camp 18 for the last of the Trifecta, the Marionberry cobbler (to go) and a quick drive around the outdoor logging equipment museum. Then home for chicken burgers and broccoli salad, and a nice evening of board games:

We were all so happy to have Joe and Steph come out and spend time with us! We hope they come again soon.

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Sick girls

Gemma, Posa and I have all been sick with the flu/cold. Gemma had a bad ear infection too (diagnosed on Wednesday) and Mariposa still has a cough. Somehow Marcus and James have not gotten sick, and Bunny only a little bit. I am on the mend, able to do chores now but still have to take breaks and naps. My cough is lingering but it's not too bad. I'm looking forward to being done with it, though.

This was the scene at our house the other day:

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Friday, March 23, 2012


On Monday we went to the coast. Since this was very much a culinary trip for Joe and Steph (see his blog, ) we knew we needed to do the "Trifecta" which starts with, where else, Tillamook!

Ice cream cones (before lunch!) while taking the self-guided tour:

Then the cheese samples:

Then on the road again....

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Jideo-cashing in Hillsboro

On Sunday we went to Mass sans Marcus, Gemma, and Posa (sick) and then to Elmer's for breakfast. A nice afternoon at home, watching MSU basketball and hanging out. Marcus had made us a fantastic Dini-and-meatball dinner and we ate it early so we could go out geocaching in the evening. Here we are on our way:

The first site was a dud. We think the water was too high.

Next we went to a new forested park that had THREE caches! We put in the coordinates for the closest one and off we went. Daisy had fun with us too.

James found it! It was in a hollow log (right below Bunny's hand):

We exchanged some goodies. At this point Marcus had to take the younger girls to the van because they were cold (and Gemma kept running off). Bunny took a shell and we left some jacks and other things.

We gave up on the other two caches, maybe next time. So we stopped at DQ instead!

Then at home all cozy and warm Joe and Steph had an art project for the kids. They painted wooden picture frames. Gemma really liked this as you can imagine. Joe quickly helped her with her frame then we shoo'd her away so the other kids could work on theirs.

Now they have a nice memory, and a place to display a memory!

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Auntie Joe and Daphne

My brother Joe and his girlfriend Stephanie came this weekend from Colorado for a visit. Other than the fact that some of us were sick, we had a great time! They came into Hillsboro on Max right after the St. Patrick's Day parade and we picked them up and took them to the Nut Farm, ready or not. The kids already love their Uncle Joe, and they took immediately to Steph:

A tour of the farm, our two remaining ponies (Joe better watch out, it looks like one of them is trying to bite his butt...).

Showing them the rest of the farm life:

Mariposa likes Chuck. He is a good rooster.

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Fr. Juan's birthday party

St. Patrick's Day was also Fr. Juan's birthday! We all met at the Big House for a fantastic dinner, and grammae had to bring out the kids' table because of extra guests (Fr. Juan is a popular guy). Notice Nicole and Eliot's green hair:

Presents time! All the kids just -have- to gather around and help.

We all left VERY full (and maybe some of us a little tipsy, not me of course but maybe some others). It was a great celebration for one of our favorite people!

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Monday, March 19, 2012

Daddy-Daughter Dance

Pictures from our church's annual daddy-daughter dance:

Bunny got the same face paint as last year: "I (heart) my dad"

She had a blast, it was a special time with daddy.

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Sunday, March 18, 2012

We're back!

Well, it has been a long time since I blogged, hasn't it? I think I will blame it on the auction--I ran the family portion of our school's auction earlier in the month, and it really took up a lot of time. 15 minutes here for an email....30 minutes here to type a document....3 hours there for a meeting...this is all time that I WASN'T doing chores or schooling or putting my feet up. So blogging was really low on the priority list.

That was a few weeks ago though, surely I had time since then, right? Maybe I did...but there was a lot of school and housework to catch up on, and sleep too. Then it seemed like a "big deal" to do a blog post when really it is not. So here I am, I just got a good talkin'-to by a few people last night (you know who you are) so I stole back the hi-pan from Gemma and am finally finishing my first post back.

I will do some old posts from the last month mingled in with some new ones. Here's a picture to start:

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