Sunday, September 29, 2013

rainy Sunday afternoon

It's a wet & wild day here in northwest Oregon.  A big storm system has been dumping rain all weekend so our planned trip to hike the Portland 4T trail is cancelled.  Here's what it looked like around our house earlier this afternoon:

cousins playing nicely (James was with grammae and papa)
Marcus searching for the "perfect" pork loin
recipe (shown here with the wonderful
America's Test Kitchen cookbook)

So it has been a nice, uneventful Sunday afternoon.  Aidan stayed to watch the Harry Potter #4 movie (he just finished the book) with Bunny, the two youngest are napping, and I've been working here in the school room.  Football is on TV in the background.  We're looking forward to a nice Sunday dinner of pork loin (new recipe #7 for the month; Marcus is ambitious), roasted beets, and creamy noodles.  Now this is my kind of Sunday!  :o)

Monday, September 23, 2013

First day of school, 2013

This year we started school a little early, the last full week of August.  Normally we wait until after Labor Day...sometimes MUCH after...but I did the math and decided to start in August so we would be done with school the first week of May.  (We school 4 quarters of 8 weeks each, with a week break in the fall and spring, and 2 weeks over Christmas.)  May is just SO hard for me to be cooped up indoors trying to get school done, when there's a garden just begging to be planted!  So we'll try this new schedule out.  I have a feeling I'll like it.
I work with Mariposa (grade 2) for about 1.5
hours in the morning, and maybe some catch-up
in the afternoons.
James has more independent work this year, and less time
with mom, but I still get in about 1.5 hours in the morning
with my oldest son.
Bunny is almost all independent, AND she teaches preschool
to Gemma for 1/2 hour each morning.  She is amazing!
One of these days I'll post my school plans in
detail.  This is one of my tools to keep me on track.
Guess what we did on our first day of school...took a field trip of course!!!  The state fair was calling our names and we answered loudly.  The kids love seeing the animals, then the exhibits, and finally, the rides!!  My favorite parts are the quilts and dinnertime (we pack sandwiches and eat in the garden exhibit area).

Each year we barely overlap with the cousins' visit
(they go earlier in the day and we go later).

Gem and Seddy were too short to ride the ferris wheel. :o(

Ok, my REAL favorite part of the fair: the annual "Eating
of the Elephant Ear!"  (we decided that next year, we'll
need to buy TWO....)
I thought Erica would like this.  :o)

Monday, September 16, 2013

tomato buddy

Look what we found while picking tomatoes:

It seems like every day we find a new amazing spider.  We are half creeped-out, and half in awe.  Ok, mostly in awe.  And our house (outside) looks like Halloween because we just can't bring ourselves to destroy a beautiful web.  Oh well.  Yay homeschool!!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

millions of peaches

As I mentioned previously, there is a frustratingly short window for my favorite peaches.  As in, about one week(!).  But Veterans are THE best peaches in the whole world.  The are not only super-sweet and oh-so-juicy, but the are also free-stone and easy-peel!  Veterans are easy to tell when they are ripe (no green) and they can ripen off the tree (good for us inexperienced pickers).  NOTHING beats a warm piece of peach pie made with these beauties.

VanDyke's at the market sells great Veterans, but we like to pick ours from a guy up the road.  Mr. B. is doing our community a great service to open his immaculate orchard up for u-pick.  He's so kind to the kids (he was a teacher in Portland for 30+ years) and charges an amazingly low price for these gold nuggets.  We are some lucky ducks to have Mr. B up the road!

(despite his sourpuss face, he really likes peaches!)
50-ish pounds got us about 4 pies, 7 quarts, and lots of fresh
eatin' by all of us!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

What we've been up to, in food

All you bloggers know how it is: you take a little bit of time off from creating posts, but all the while you've been "creating" posts in your mind, so when you finally have some time to blog, you are just overwhelmed.  Where to start?  What to cut out?

As is normal for our crazy family, we've been having many adventures in the last few weeks.  I could write 5 posts a day, and it would take me a week to catch up, I'm sure!  So I thought I would just choose a few pictures here and there, from the last 3 weeks.  Turns out, they all involve food.  Go figure.

the new chickens have been laying eggs,
which means some double-yolkers (woo hoo!)
lots of sweet corn, mostly from Gene W's stand
on Hillsboro Highway (some from our own
garden, but Gene's is MUCH better) 
our first real tomato harvest, the day before
rain was predicted (this was in August!!)
(rain splits tomatoes so we knew we had to
get them picked)
canning the tomatoes (whole, and sauce)
trip to the state fair on the first day of school
(we always get a mammoth elephant ear)
fun with the cousins: a late-night trip to Goody's in Orenco
there's a short time window for the delicious Veteran
peaches, and Mariposa and I made it a priority to go picking
peach pie is officially my FAVORITE kind
of pie!!!  but alas, no more until next August....
No promises, but I'll try to keep blogging soon, and expand on some of these pictures, and more....