Thursday, July 31, 2008

Fresh Peas... the not so fast food.

I have gotten some grean peas from the farm these last two weeks. Last night I made a fresh pea soup with them. It was good! It needed something though, so I may try it again next week... it took a lot to shuck 3 lbs of peas, but with the girls help, it wasn't too bad.

Cyan said she really enjoyed it. Good thing too... because I am sure it is the first of many shuckings in our lifetime. I imagine I will be a little old lady, shucking peas on the front poarch, covered with grandchildren, while my daughter yells "No no!" and "Stop that!".

Cyan's baby. Domino still hates being held, but she really liked being walked. She was very happy running around, eating all the dandylions she could stomach.

Other Fun Summer Stuff...

Saturday, July 26, 2008

My $50 dining room make over

So about once a year I do these... the $50 make overs. Only this time, it involved large pieces of furniture, so it seemed like even a bigger feat to me.

Here is a link to my dining room when I first painted it. It looked great then. This was before baby #3. About 2 1/2 years ago. So before the computer and high chair and two homeschoolers needed to move in to that same space. Since then, it has gotten cluttered. Difficult to move in, and pretty much the most overused space in our 900 sq ft house. It also has been used a million times daily by two, if not three, children... and the chairs were falling apart. Literally. Pieces of the backs were coming off, the bottoms all had a spoke either missing or coming out every time you moved, and the table would wobble so bad, that one of my kids couldn't erase effectively while the other wanted to write. It was time for the really nice, really delicate table to go.

In comes sturdy 1950's table and chairs:

I know what you are thinking. 'She's crazy! How could she give up that beautiful set for these bargain basement old set?' Well, the simple truth is, my children were quickly ruining them. It would not have been a beautiful set much longer. So I figured, something indestructible would be helpful. Something cheap, so the baby could write on it, and I would not have a fit, would be even better. This was both. Each piece = $9. So it was $45 for the whole set...

Can't get much better than that. Plus, they are kinda cute, don't ya think? If you have to go old and indestructible, go funky. :)

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The first tomatoes are here!

I picked one three days ago that wasn't quite ripe, but I was just too thrilled to see the deep pink peeking out from under my tomato leaves as I did the pruning. Cyan picked two more tomatoes today, and then of course, Logan had to pick one too... Cyan's weren't quite ripe. You can guess what color Logan's was. Green. LOL! But he was so proud! Tomatoes are coming. Wooohooo!

They were beautiful and will just taste better as the sunny days come back again.

The last four days it has been down right 'fall' cold. 65* as a daytime high, and 50* as a night time low. Crazy after the 90* set of two weeks we had last!

This brings me to a bit of news. I have taken a job at the my local organic farm working their market stand with a friend of mine. It is only on Sundays, and I honestly think it will be tons of fun, but am giving myself two Sundays to cement the commitment and luckily they are ok with that. I haven't worked out side the home in 7 years now. That is a long time. We will see how it goes. But I am really wanting it to work. I love the farm, I love the market, and I love my friend... so it has all the makings of great success!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Pasta with bell peppers, bacon, and kale

1 pkg bacon
1 cup heavy cream
4 tomatoes
4 cloves garlic
1 bunch kale
1 red bell pepper
1 cup grated Parmesan
1 red onion
1 lb linguine
  • In a very large saute pan cook the bacon (chopped before into small pieces) until crispy.
  • As you are pouring out the bacon fat, reserve a tablespoon or so of the bacon fat to saute the kale and onion in and put the bacon aside.
  • Slice the onion in very thin slivers, and add the garlic cloves sliced thin. Place in the same saute pan as the bacon was cooked in. Saute in a bit of the bacon fat (it is best if uncured ham is used) until clear.
  • Toss kale and tomatoes in.
  • Toss the bacon back into the saute pan and add the pepper (also sliced thin).
  • Once everything is crisp-soft, add the heavy cream, and Parmesan and mix well. Toss with the linguine and add salt and pepper to taste.
  • (This would be a great dish to substitute the fresh tomatoes with sun dried tomatoes.)

It was so very good... It would easily serve 8 as a main dish with these proportions, but for us, we ate it tonight and I will keep it for lunches later this week for Don at work. Lucky bugger. ;)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ALEX!

This is the best picture I have gotten of him in weeks.
Yes.
This would mean I have a 12 year old boy.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Racing Horses and Thundering Birds...

Oh wow. What a great day for good pictures! I took Alex to the airport this morning for his annual 6wks with his dad in FL. Logan LOVED the planes. He was so excited he didn't want to leave. Every time I said it was time to go, he ran to the window and pointed at the planes again. Even after Alex plane had taken off and gone down the run way. Logan wanted to yell "Bye! Bye!" to all the planes that were moving around the airport. It was super cute.
While we were dropping Alex off at the airport and saying 'bye-bye' to planes, one of my dear homeschool friends took Cyan with her to Emerald Downs to watch horse races. Logan and I met up with the group after dropping off Alex and having lunch. We got to the race track about 40 minutes before the horse races started. The kids got a personal tour of the place beforehand and Cyan says it was amazing. I can't wait to get the pictures. :)

The horse races were great though. What a sweet place too! They had little pony rides, a big blow up slide, and a bounce house for the little kids, and of course, they had the horse races for us big kids. It was $5 for us, and no charge for all of the kids.

The kids watched with mouths agape while the horses were running. They even got to witness a horse get pulled for being too jumpy at the start of the race.

It was completely a My Fair Lady moment where they all stopped what they were doing and watched in awe as the horses ran back around the edge of the track and started to round to the finish line.

#4 won...

Isn't that the sweetest surprised face?

#4 getting a pat on the head for running a great race!

Soon after we left for home. We had, after all, been up and in the car, airport, or seat at the horse race since just before 9am. It was time to settle down for an quiet afternoon at home.

Then, on the way home, we started to see the most beautiful fly overs from jets. Logan, still completely in the mood for airplanes, was pointing and yelling each time they flew over. The closer I got to the air force base, the more I realised that these were the Thunderbirds!


Some of these shots take my breath away... they were flying over us at hundreds of miles per hour... we stopped on the side of the freeway with a slew of other gawkers, stopped to watch the Thunderbirds fly over and do their tricks.

I already had my camera set to take action shots due to the races... so I couldn't help pulling it out.

What a fun day to be behind a camera. :)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Garden photos with first summer bounty

Beautiful Summer. This summer has been hot already. Too hot for many things to thrive. And too hot much too fast for others. But for onions and peas, it has been a great year, and it seems to be shaping up to be a great year for tomatoes and pumpkins as well. This picture above is an onion flower. Isn't it stunning? I only have three onions left in my garden from last year, but they are flowering now with these beautiful little bouquets of white blossoms that praise the sun for shinning.

And these little visitors sure have been sweet. We watched them for about 10 minutes the other day, bathing, and then jumping up to the feeder and eating and then coming back down for another dip in the bird bath. If I am correct, this was the missing link to my little inner city bird sanctuary and there will be birds nesting in the yard by next spring. Here's hoping!

And my peas (below).

They have been giving us food for nearly two weeks now. They peas came on fast and furious and are now nearly done. Started 5 wks late, ending only 2 wks late. The growing season this year just gets more and more odd. But I am thankful... esp when eating things like organic free range chicken from a local farm and snow peas from my garden for dinner last night.

I am not the only one who enjoys a salad including these beautiful blossoms. :) Happy bunny...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

What a great day!!

The birthday party was a great success!

Fun and games,

Cake and prizes,

Gifts and more gifts,

and yummy fair food. What could be better?

A link to the rest of the wonderful pictures!

And a little story to go along with them. ;)

Friday, July 11, 2008

I own a canned gallon of cheese...

For many reasons, when my kids asked me to do a carnival for their birthday party, I wanted to say no. But I conceded... understanding that the this birthday party may very well be the last one they have together. As Alex turns into his teen years, I do not picture him wanting many more birthday parties with his baby sister... and even more, with Cyan being the girly girl she has become, I can't picture her going with the gender neutral thing for much longer. So in honor of that realisation, I have pulled myself out of my comfort zone and decided that I will do the carnival party.

All know what a food person I am. And I am pretty dedicated to good, local, and organic food. Not to the exclusion of fun or nutrition, but I am pretty darned dedicated. Yes, there is pretty much NO way to have a carnival without the junk food. So the title to this post: "I own a canned gallon of cheese." is not only accurate, but it is probably the ONLY time in my life where I will be able to say such a thing. LOL! I say it loud and proud as well.

This party was MUCH harder for me to plan than all of the past parties because there is no crunchy, natural spin on a backyard carnival. I mean, I guess I could have, but that would have been reinventing the wheel. lol... So I conformed. I have cheese food and chips, burgers, Carmel corn with hot peanuts, licorice whips, suckers, push pop ice cream, and a cake in the shape of a roller coaster. I made tickets (above) for the invitations, and we have a stamp that says "admitted" for when the come through the gate, which will be covered with balloons in an arc over the top and have a little red table with a 'ticket counter' where my happy children will be sitting to welcome their guests.

The whole thing is serving up to be a TON of fun. Which I knew it would be... but the planning took me completely out of my comfort zone. I have planned carnival games... I even have a tattoo artist (temporary, of course).

I can't wait to take pictures and share with all the completely non-organic, fun day I have planned. Two more days. :)

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Asian Chicken Salad


Asian Chicken Salad

3 chicken breast
peanut oil
salt and pepper
mixed salad greens
snow peas
slivered almonds
Oriental Sesame dressing

Defrost chicken breasts and slice thin. Saute' in peanut oil and salt, and add pepper at the very end. While those are cooking, chop and wash greens and top peas. Drop peas into the saute pan right as the chicken is done and just lightly cook to add flavor (leave them crunchy).

Toss salad greens with the dressing and top with warm chicken and snow peas, then add slivered almonds on top. My husband likes this best served with a side of Jasmine rice, but he would eat Jasmine rice with anything. ;)

The greens and snow peas were fresh out of the garden. It was delicious.
~~~~~~~
This summer has been SO strange. Who would have thought I would still have peas come mid-July? Last year, the season was over in July. I was watching my beans get to be tall and beautiful at this time of year. This year, I am planting bush beans (and that only happened today) because I have no idea whether or not pole beans will really fruit by the time the frosts come again. It is such a strange year. Snow in April, frost in June. I didn't plant anything until May. So strange.

Ok Go, Here it goes again...



Amazing what 4 skinny dudes and 8 treadmills can do, huh?

From Lee

Cuz I just can't stop taking pictures of these flowers!




Sunday, July 06, 2008

Ahhhh... Cherry Goodness.

Cherry Season. Some of the best ideas ever come during cherry season.

Take the Pampered Chef Cherry Pitter. Yes, this little gadget is one of the best inventions ever. I only use it one week a year, but man, I love the thing. And yes, I always wear black while pitting cherries. If not, I ruin clothes. As it stands, my fingers are still tinged purple around the nails.

I ended up with 12 pints of cherries. We dipped a TON in chocolate for the little 4th of July party we had here... ate them with S'mores made on the fire pit in the back yard. So good.

What to do with the few leftovers we had? I made a Dutchman/Dutchbaby and added vanilla, flour (for thickener), and honey to some water, poured in the cherries in and brought it all to a boil. It made for a great sauce for said dutch pancake. :)

And this... this is what we had for dinner. Potatoes, Portabella mushrooms, red onion all sauteed in oil and butter. Then I add in tomatoes, pesto, a bit of salt, and tons of chopped basil. After this stage I smothered it with mozzarella cheese and put in the oven for 45minutes. It comes out golden brown and melty. SO good. Perfect meal for before eating copious amounts of sugar and lighting things on fire. ;)

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Daylillies

Yesterday I had a blast working with a friend at the little Farmers Market they openned in Chehelis. What a beautiful little community. I just love hanging out with Hannah and Heidi and selling strawberries and these incredible Daylillies that their farm, Boistfort Valley Farm, has out right now. Sometimes days like that make me think twice about staying at home. A job like that would suit me. I love it so much.... but I only second guess for a few seconds. I will do that eventually. Something with good food. It is written into my future somewhere... but my place now is home. Honestly, I love being home. It was fun to hang out and play though.

These STUNNING flowers got to come home with me. Aren't they amazing??? I couldn't wait to get my camera out when they openned up this morning. *glee*



This is the variety I have in my yard:


Beautiful!