Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Fun, Productive Scrapbook Weekend/My Day

Well, since many of you read my twin sis' blog, I'm not going to post a bunch of the same pictures of our weekend. If you want to see pictures of the weekend go to Stacie's blog at www.afirefighterswife.blogspot.com. She has wonderful pictures of our tea, pages and just fun sister time.
I got 86 pages pretty much scrapbooked, just need to get some titles and pull some journaling off my blog to put on them. Stacie got 70 plus pages completely done and she had a handicap since Lily was our nursing baby for this camp. So I'll unofficially declare her the winner.
A really fun place we went to for lunch (twice because we liked it so much) is a wonderful little Hawaiian BBQ joint. It was so yummy and the atmosphere was great!
Now, I'm catching up from being gone for 5 days. I was so exhausted, I put all the kids down for a rest and I took a 1 1/2 hour nap this afternoon. Those who know me well, know that that is a rare occurrence indeed. I've always had a hard time taking naps. It was wonderful.
We brought our niece, Jessica, home with us and she and Josiah (4 months apart) have been having a blast! When we got home last night, the kids (minus Hailey) convinced me to put up the tent and they slept outside. They did really well and actually went to sleep! I checked on them 3 times and didn't hear a peep. Very weird, but trust me, I'm not complaining! We went to a playground this morning to play with the homeschool group then home again to catch up on dishes, laundry, etc. The kids have been playing with water balloons, the sprinkler and now dress up. We've got a few fireworks to light tonight, so I've had that leverage for good behavior all day, which has been great. Instead of getting mad when Josiah misbehaves, I'm taking fun things away. It seems to be much more effective. I'm going to have the kids help me fold laundry tonight while we listen to a kid's book on tape. Again, another thing I've learned is not to have the kids fold laundry while watching a movie because they get to distracted. Put in a book on tape and they have no problem staying focused while getting to do something special as they fold laundry.
Well, that's it. Better go get dinner started. Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Our Lil' Biker Chicklet

When I came back from a ride last week, Hailey wanted to sit on the bike so bad. She wasn't happy with just sitting on the bike, she insisted she wear my helmet and my gloves. I just thought she looked so stinkin' cute. Michael was so proud he took some pictures (a rare happening indeed). We call her our lil' biker chicklet.

Don't worry, we don't ride with the kids (except in parades). These are just photo ops.

The gloves on her totally crack me up!

She looks so tiny on the back of the Harley.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Homemade, Non-Toxic, Kid-Safe, Mosquito Spray/Repellent

A friend of mine from church gave me this recipe for a non-toxic mosquito repellent. I've tried it and it so far it has worked great on all of us. Mosquitoes love me, so if this works on me, it should work on anyone. Being red-heads, my kids have sensitive skin so I have to be careful on how much citronella oil I use in their formulas. This is so absolutely easy (and cheap) that anyone can make it, I promise!
Ready? Here it goes:
Homemade, Non-toxic, Kid-Safe Mosquito Repellent:
-2 oz plastic spray bottle (I picked a couple up at Wal-mart in the travel section for less than a dollar a piece)
-10 drops drops of citronella oil (can get at local health food store)
-add water to fill
How easy is that? My friend also told me that if it isn't working, add more citronella oil. He told me that for extra sensitive skin, you can add a few drops of geranium oil or back off on the citronella oil. Hope it works as well for you as it does for us!
***BTW, if you do get bit or stung by a bee, rub some apple cider vinegar on it. It'll take the sting/inch out. Also, ACV works great on minor burns.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Feelin' A Little Blue

I wish you could see Josiah's beautiful blue eyes in this picture, but it just doesn't show up well . Josiah looks so handsome and he's sweet with Hailey (most of the time). When she gets hurt, he's learning how to comfort her. I drive home the point that his job is to protect Hailey. Of course, she adores her big brother and tries to keep up with him.

I just love this shirt that Aunt Abby sent Hailey. She just looks so sassy in this picture! Trust me, she is, too. We just blame it on the red hair.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day - 200 Mile Ride

On Saturday we hired a babysitter and went on an all day ride through the Blue Mountains. Larry (my step dad) rode behind Mom and I rode behind Michael. It was absolutely gorgeous scenery. The weather was cold at first but praise God it wasn't raining. Once we got to Granite it started to warm up a little. It was sunny and the perfect temperature once we got to Sumpter. In this picture we were stopping for lunch at a little cafe "downtown".
We're just about ready to take off in this picture.

As you can see, we were bundled up pretty good. I look like a southwestern biker chick. Kinda weird, I know.

I wanted to ride so bad, but Michael wouldn't ride behind, so I had to settle for getting on when he wasn't looking. Riding is just too much fun! In fact, he was pointing to something while we were going around a corner and I told him to watch the road. He said, "Do you want to drive?" I said "Yes!". He didn't ask me that again. LOL!

I guess I'm a 3rd generation biker chick. I'd love to get my grandma in some leathers for a picture! Here's Mom and I at the Sumpter Valley Dredge. It mined the valley for gold a long time ago. It is really neat because you can go look inside now. We also took the time to visit the Sumpter Pioneer Cemetery. Mom and Larry were gifted plots there by one of their friends (weird gift). So we went and saw where they would be buried. It was a little strange but it was nice to see it was in such a beautiful place. Of course, my mom had to lay down with Larry next to her where they would be buried and try it out. I got pictures with her camera but forgot to get one with mine. I know, our family has a weird sense of humor! Anyway, we had a great time. Rode 200 miles in one day. I can't wait to do it again! That's the great thing about Oregon, there is never a shortage of beautiful places to ride.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

14 Years and Counting!

Yesterday was Michael and I's fourteenth wedding anniversary! He surprised me by having a dozen gorgeous roses delivered to my door. I was in tears! I told the kids, "See how much your daddy loves me?" They thought it was so cool and keep smelling them and talking about them. We actually got to spend our anniversary together (a very rare occurrence) but we only had the evening, so we explored a new back road and then went out for a yummy steak dinner. It was wonderful, especially since we hadn't been on a date in months. Josiah took this picture of us. Not too bad for a 5 year old. It looks like Michael is shorter than me, but it is just the picture. He was slouched down and I was sitting up.

My twin sis and I were married 20 days apart (not a planned thing) when we were 20 years old. Everyone wanted us to have a double wedding but we couldn't agree on anything, including colors, and being twins, we wanted to have our own special day for once in our lives. As twins you share all special occasions while growing up. My sis posted her story of how she met her hubby 20 days ago on their anniversary, so being her twin, I thought I do the same.
Michael and I met when I was 15 years old and he was 17. His best friend and my best friend were dating and they introduced us. We met at the Tygh Valley All-Indian Rodeo. I remember looking at him, and thinking, "That's a cute cowboy I haven't dated yet. Maybe I'll date him someday". He was a bullrider and I was a barrel-racer/break-away roper. Well, we both went out with other people soon after we met but we kept seeing each other at various rodeos that summer. By mid-summer we were "single" again and starting to get interested in each other. By the time the Pendleton Round-up came in September, we were officially an item. We dated 5 years before we got married (with one 4 month break-up in there) then married in the summer of '95. I told Michael on our anniversary yesterday, "I've got no regrets and I'd do it all over again". We've both changed a lot, but we've changed together. We've traded horses and bulls for two kids and a Harley at this point in our lives. We'd love to get back to a farm life someday, but so far, God has us in this place. We'll keep trusting Him. He'll never let us down. Our marriage hasn't always been easy. We've endured long separations, a deployment and all the stuff most married people have to deal with. But we can honestly say we are more than just committed, we are still in love. Happy 14th Anniversary, Sweetie!

Twice-Baked Potato Casserole Recipe

I got this recipe from sister, but I've changed it up quite a bit to make it healthier. I use red potatoes, but you can use Yukon golds or russets if you prefer. It is super as easy as I mix it in my Kitchen Aid. No mashing and no peeling veggies! I double or triple this recipe (whatever your Kitchen Aid will hold) and freeze it in individual pans. This is a great recipe for nursing mothers and the veggies are hidden in it, so great for picky eaters, too.
Twice-Baked Potato Casserole Recipe:
6 large or 8 small potatoes cubed and boiled (I prefer skin-on, whatever kind of potato I have on hand)
1/2 cup sour cream (more if using russets)
1/4 cup butter
1 cup shredded cheese (I use queso fresco, but cheddar and jack work, too)
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
2 cups finely chopped fresh spinach
1/2 cup shredded carrot
1 Tbl natural chicken bullion
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Homemade Italian bread crumbs
2 lbs of cooked meat (chicken, ham or turkey work well with this)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Layer cooked meat in bottom of pans. Throw all the other ingredients in a Kitchen Aid bowl, mix at a fairly high speed using mixing paddle. Spread potato mixture over meat layer and sprinkle with bread crumbs. Cook 45 minutes at 400 degrees. How's that for easy?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Congratulations, Michael!

I'm so thrilled for my man! After 3 years of going to school full-time, Michael graduated with his OSU Bachelor's Degree in Rangeland Ecology Management. Despite tremendous obstacles, he managed to overcome a learning disability thanks to hours of learning therapy, supported a wife and two small kids, juggled his commitment to the National Guard and worked out of town for the Forest Service during summers. He took summer classes and many times 19 credits a term to finish in 3 years. I couldn't be more proud of him. He finished very well, way better than either of us expected. We prayed together before every major test and it is clear that those prayers were answered. God is so good! The following pictures are of Michael's graduation party in our backyard. They are all out of order but hopefully you'll see how much fun we had and how proud of Michael we are.

Josiah has a ring in his nose and is acting like a bull. Don't ask!

It decided to rain on and off the whole day. One minute it was nice the next it was raining. So Michael rigged up a huge tarp so we could all sit under it and stay dry. Here we are going around the circle and "blessing" Michael. We were all a mess by the end of it. It was really special, especially when Michael's mom told Michael how proud of him his dad would have been (his dad died when he was 10 years old). At the end, we all prayed for him and his future. We had a lot of people staying with us that night, so we built redneck fire (in a washing machine drum) in the back yard and sat around reminiscing, telling jokes and taking turns playing guitar and fiddle.

Josiah is toasting his dad is this picture.

The guys did a great job with the shelter. Luckily, the wind wasn't blowing, so it stayed up all night.
Michael is nailing the tarp to the edge of the shed roof and then he tied it off to the lilac trees, posting it up on the sides.

Michael's best friend, Tim, and his family came up. It was the icing on the cake for Michael. They've been friends since 4th grade. They stayed up till midnight chatting around the fire.

Hailey still managed to be the princess of the party in her crown that her Nana gave her.

We had bbq'd hamburgers and hot dogs and had a bunch of different salads and figure foods. Everybody brought something which really helped me out.

Michael's little sister, April, was able to come up for his graduation. His mom, Kay, is standing with them in this picture. They were so proud of him! He's the first person in their family to graduate with a bachelor's degree.

This is our family shot. Josiah was so excited about his tie! I got it at a local re-run shop and he was so happy because it was blue (his favorite color). He made sure everyone noticed his tie. He even had an OSU tie pin that one of Michael's professors gave him.

Our friend, Amy, made a really nice cake for Michael. We served homemade ice cream along with it. Josiah insisted we put some candles on the cake, then we all sang "So he's a jolly good fellow" and had him blow out the candles. It was a very special day for a very special man. I'm so proud of him!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Homemade Non-Toxic Floor/Carpet Cleaners

OK, so since it is Michael's graduation weekend we are in cleaning mode for his big party it has given us an excuse to try out more and more of our homemade non-toxic cleaners. I'm still just shocked when I see how much I'm saving, how easy they are to make, how safe they are and just how well they work!
Non-toxic, Non-Polish Floor Cleaner Solution/Recipe:

We have the Formica type flooring and non-polish wooden flooring. This recipe works great on both.
In a mop bucket, cover the bottom with about 1/2 to 1 inch distilled white vinegar. Fill to the the 2 gallon mark with water and add 5 drops Tea Tree oil (disinfects) or pine oil for a nice scent if desired. (The vinegar smell with go away as soon as it is dried). Dip mop in, ring and start mopping! It works just as well as Pine Sol, but in much healthier to breath.
Non-toxic Carpet Cleaning Solution/Recipe:
In a spray bottle, mix half and half, distilled white vinegar and distilled or filtered water. Spray carpet generously, then steam clean.
We had some high traffic areas that were really matted down. Can spray some dish soap mixed with water in a spray bottle over the vinegar solution. Use a scrub brush that won't damage your carpet. Scrub area well, then steam clean really well until soap is completely rinsed out of carpet. Our carpets look awesome. I wish I would have taken before and after pictures, but that might have been a little embarrassing! Once again, the vinegar smell with go away as soon as the carpet is completely dry.

Adventure Genes

I received this email from my mom this morning and I just had to share it with you. It explains from where I get my sense of adventure. My grandmother (Mom's mom) rode dirt bikes up into her 70's. My dad raced dirt bikes and snowmobiles and now loves to rope for old-time cattle brandings. My grandpa (Dad's dad) still rides and farms with horses and he is well into his 80's. I think I definitely picked up on all these genes! Anyway, just had to share this cute letter with all of you. I hope I can make it to her next race since I wasn't able to make it to this one.

Dear Everyone (both those who encouraged me and those who questioned my sanity) –
In my opinion my first stock car race was a raging success! Not because I won, but because I finished the race and because I had more fun than I’ve ever had in my life! It was honestly a bigger thrill than any of the other fun stuff I’ve done!!! Imagine, going as fast as you want, sliding in the dirt and not having to even have to watch for cops! It was also great to have a ‘real’ car under me again. I’ve been driving 4 cylinders for so long I’d forgotten how great it is to have some muscle under the hood!
In a nutshell, I had the fastest time in my group during Time Trials, so I got to start at the back and actually passed a couple cares before a chick hit me and spun me out. I think I flooded it in my excitement to get back in the race and it took me several tries to get it started again. Once I smelled gas I knew it was flooded so I just held the peddle down and turned it over a few times. After about 3 tries she started and stayed so at least I got to do one or two more laps (in all that excitement it’s really hard to tell) and see the checkered flag up close and personal!
My adrenaline was so high for long I about talked Larry to death when I knew he wanted to get to sleep! In fact, the adrenaline just shoots up every time I think about the race! I can’t wait to do it again. I want to do it again – TODAY! But alas, I don’t know when I’ll actually have another opportunity like this one. Now I need to convince my board to sponsor a United Way car. Of course, the executive director should drive it, right?
Thanks to all of you who showed up to support me and cheer me on, and for those of you who encouraged me and rooted from afar!
What an opportunity it was and even though I crossed it off my Bucket List, it’s definitely on my list of things to do again! Anyone have an old car with a good engine sitting around? The body can be in terrible shape! I was surprised to find that it was like a cross between a race and a demolition derby out there. If I ever get to do it again I will definitely be more aggressive! Some say I was too polite my first time out! (Hey, I was driving someone else’s car!)
I will send a couple pictures next week, just too prove I did it! (Yeah, like you can really see my face!)
All for now! I need to settle down and get to work! On the other hand, with this adrenaline level, I ought to get a ton done today!

Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff Recipe

I got this basic recipe off Homestead Mamma's blog and I changed it up to make it healthier and more flavorful. My kids asked for seconds when I served this last night! Great recipe for company, especially if you don't have time to cook that evening.

Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff Recipe:

2 Tbl olive oil
1 1/2 to 2 lbs round steak, cubed
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour

Brown meat in oil then add flour until beef is well coated. In the meantime in the slow cooker, mix together:

2 cans semi-condensed goled mushroom soup (if using condensed cream of mushroom soup, cut back the flour to 1/4 cup)
3 1/2 cups water
1 onion, finely chopped
6 to 10 fresh mushrooms, sliced
3 Tbl powdered all-natural beef boullion
1 Tbl garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste

Add floured meat, mix well. Cook on low all day. Add 1 to 2 cups sour cream 1/2 hour before serving. Cook 1 lb egg noodles. Serve sauce over noodles. If you have leftover sauce, freeze for later use.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

What a Softie!

I asked Michael if he could paint my toenails last weekend. Of course, Hailey was wanting hers done, too (typical girl). My immediate reaction was "No way, are you crazy? She'll smear it all over the place." He assured me he'd work with her, and I have to admit that she did pretty good. I used my blow-dryer to speed up the drying process. She just thought she was the cat's meow with her toenails painted. It was so cute watching Michael carefully paint her toenails. Seeing him doing that for his daughter (and myself) just makes me love him that much more. I definitely have a keeper!

As you can see, Josiah was pretty facinated by the process as well.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Triple Blessing Shower

My friend, Diane, and I had great fun this weekend putting on a triple blessing shower for the pregnant ladies at our MOPS (Mother's of Preschoolers) table. It was supposed to rain, but turned out really nice and we had a lovely blessing shower on our deck. I just love the blessing shower concept. I'll never do a regular baby shower again. Everyone would much rather spend their time blessing the mother-to-be rather than playing games that most people dread. I got the idea from an Above Rubies magazine and I really hope it spreads. Here is a picture of the lovely ladies in their various stages of pregnancy. (From left to right) Kendal is due towards the end of this month with her 3rd girl. Christina is due in September (she'll have 3 boys all under the age of 3). Jodi is due with her second girl in July. We are giving them a foot soak in this picture. We also gave them neck and shoulder massages, hand rubs and painted their toe nails. I think they look so beautiful in their daisy crowns! Such gorgeous princesses, daughters of the King.

Diane is on the left. She made the adorable cake you see in the next picture. Beth is on the right, she's a friend from MOPS, too. In this picture she is reading her blessing the lovely mothers. She also helped out by bringing a wonderful fruit dip and gave the ladies their hand massages.

My decorations are simple - quilts for table clothes and on the pregnant ladies' thrones. The quilt you see under the cake was Michael's when he was a baby. His mom made if for him. The block cake that Diane made was four layers, alternating chocolate and vanilla. It was just the cutest thing. She did a great job and she was a tremendous help. When we were all done with the shower, we prayed over the ladies. It was a perfect end to a wonderful afternoon.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Born To Ride!

I'm having such a blast riding Michael's Harley! I've been downtown, on the back roads and even the highway now. I ride every chance I get. Poor Michael, I'm sure he's probably regretting ever having encouraged me to start riding his bike because he's at home with the kids while I'm riding. Practice makes perfect! The hardest part of riding is when I know people are looking at me. As a lady rider, people just stare! It makes me nervous. I'm hoping I'll start to get used to it. I've made some mistakes, but nothing major. The worst one was when I dropped it (I was stopped) at a gas station in front of God and everybody. It was totally my fault, because I had put myself in a position where I had to back up, then make a tight turn from a stop with traffic coming in and out from all over the place. Thank God Michael's bike didn't get a scratch! I had to have some strong guys pick it up for me. They asked me if I was OK and all I could think to say was, "I'm fine! I'm just worried about my husband's bike!" I was pretty shook up, so I drove home. Michael told me to get back on and go for a 50 mile ride to shake it off. It was kind of one of those concepts of, "if you get bucked off, get back on". He was right, after riding 50 miles of back roads, I had my confidence back and I was doing fine. Mom and I want to plan a ride soon. I can't wait! I really do think that just like her, I was "Born to Ride"!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Mexican Meat Dip Recipe (A Dinner Dish)

This is such an easy, yummy recipe! My step mom always made this when I was growing up and it was a hit. Now Josiah begs for it. It doesn't work well with homemade cream cheese, sour cream or our homemade cheese, so I actually go to the store to get my dairy products for this one recipe. The only thing I don't like about this recipe is that it doesn't freeze well (gets too watery), so I can only make one dish at a time, but it's so easy, I don't mind.
Mexican Dip Dinner Recipe:
2 lbs cooked hamburger, sausage or any shredded meat
1 1/2 to 2 cups salsa
2 cups re-fried beans or black beans (optional)
handful fresh baby spinach leaves (optional)
8 0z cream cheese
1 pint sour cream
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Tortilla chips
In a 9x13 pan (I use stoneware), layer meat, then salsa. Add bean layer and spinach leaf layer if desired. Heat cream cheese until slightly melted, add sour cream, mix well, then layer the cream cheese/sour cream mixture. Top with shredded cheddar cheese. Cook 350 for 30 minutes or until a little bit bubbly.
Serve with healthy tortilla chips. I also like to chop up some tomatoes, cucumber, avocados and fresh cilantro and let people put some on their individual helpings.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Western Antique Aeroplane Automotive Museum

One of the really fun things we got to do when we were visiting Michael's folks during Memorial Day Weekend was go to the Western Antique Aeroplane Automotive Museum. Kay, if you're reading this, "Thanks!" It was the first time any of us had been and we had a great time despite the kids being really tired from playing at Aunt Stacie's the previous day. It was an excellent museum and pretty kid friendly. Fairly expensive, but worth it because it is huge and has really cool stuff. Here's their website if you're in the Hood River, OR area and are into this kind of thing http://www.waaamuseum.org/.

Someone had put a lot of time and expense into making an airplane that the kids could play in. It had all the controls, headsets and everything. The kids had a ball climbing all over it.

They also had an old army Jeep that the kids could play on. The windshield wipers worked by hand.

Josiah spent most of his time with this .50 caliber machine gun that was on a swivel base. He's such a warrior in the making. He'll turn a peanut butter and jelly sandwich into a gun.
BTW, we also got went to Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood with the kids. I didn't get any pictures but we had fun. I hadn't been there since I was a teenager. We want to do all the stops along the Barlow Rd someday, too. There is some great Oregon pioneer history along that route.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Healthy Jerky Recipe

Here is a healthy jerky recipe that we've used on everything from beef, venison, elk an even cougar. It just works on everything. This is a fairly spicy recipe, so if you want it less spicy, cut the black pepper back to 1 Tbl or less.
Healthy Jerky Recipe:
3 lbs of meat, sliced fairly thin
3/4 cup sucanat (could use honey or brown sugar)
1 Tbl Tabasco sauce
2 Tbl black pepper
2 Tbl garlic powder
4 bay leaves
1/3 cup sea salt
2 quarts of water
Heat mixture and pour over meat, making sure meat all pieces are covered. Cover pan and refrigerate for 1 whole day. Put meat in a smoker and smoke until done. We like using hickory chips.

Easy Sausage Gravy Recipe

I make Biscuits and Gravy whenever I have company because it is so easy and I make at least a gallon at a time, so I know my guests will get enough. I freeze the leftovers in increments my family will use. I always make this ahead of time and take it when we go camping. This gravy reheats wonderfully. Serve over my whole wheat biscuits-in-a-pan recipe under Labels-->Recipes-breads.
Jackie's Easy Sausage Gravy:
Brown 3 packages of natural sausage or hamburger.
Drain excess fat.
Mix in 3 cups of whole wheat pastry flour (it will be pasty!).
Add one gallon of milk (preferably raw). Mix well
Add onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.
Heat over medium heat, stirring often until gravy thickens.
(If too thick, add more milk; if too thin, mix 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour in cold milk or water and add mixture to gravy, mixing it in well)


Related Posts with Thumbnails