Friday, March 30, 2012

Leavenworth, WA - A Bavarian Themed Village

Our family always enjoys learning about other cultures, and this mini-vacation was no exception. We had the privilege of being invited by some good friends of ours to stay in a beautiful lodge near Leavenworth, WA. We took a day to enjoy the sites, tastes and sounds of the Bavarian-themed village. We started at 10AM and ended at 5PM. The kids did an amazing job of being careful in the little shops where items were just stuffed in. They didn't break a thing all day, and it would have been really easy to do, just by turning around in some of those places. 

Who can resist a knight in shining armor?

The key to the kids' longevity that day was to just keep feeding them, LOL. There were so many samples of cheese, smoked meats, bakery goods, ect, that it kept them quite satisfied. Here is a pic of Hailey, enjoying a fresh-baked pretzel with her daddy.

We loved the Christmas store. Amazing who much stuff was in that place.

They had so many nativity scenes. The kids accidentally broke the Joseph in my scene this last Christmas, so I was in the market for a new one. I managed to find a pretty one for only $26 at the Angel Store.

One of the cute buildings.

We wanted an authentic German lunch so we headed upstairs to one of the mainstay German restaurants. I determined I'm not a big fan of German food, too heavy. Not enough green for me. I like my sauerbrauten recipe better than what I had there. 

But it was on the top floor and we enjoyed the beautiful view of the main part of town. 

View of the May Pole from outside our window.

I think the kids enjoyed the Nutcracker museum most of all. I had no idea how many different nutcrackers there are AND how expensive they can be. They had everything from Elvis to Star Wars nutcrackers. They were so awesome! We lucked out and found two in the gift shop for only $10 a piece. They were used Indian and Pilgrim nutcrackers. Perfect Thanksgiving decorations! Kids were thrilled, and so was I as I had promised them a nutcracker earlier, having no idea who expensive they were!

Another beautifully painted building.

This bear was huge! Hailey loved him. He would have never fit in the car.

View of the May Pole, looking up from the ground. 

They had carriage rides.

Shot of part of the main section of town where all the cute shops were.

On our way home the next day, Hailey wanted to help her dad pump gas (you can't do that in Oregon). She thought she was pretty cool. Well, I didn't tell them that we weren't looking too cool as we went through the Tri-Cities area with a big blue sled strapped to the top of our Subaru when the weather was nearly 70 degrees, LOL. 

Another blessing about a long trip is that we got to listen to the rest of the Lamplighter Audio CDs and a whole volume of Jonathan Park CDs. It is so nice when they are wholesome stories the entire family can enjoy. We also got a lot of knitting done on our trip. We knitted a baby stocky cap and and OSU wash cloth.   Love having something to do with my hands on a long trip. How about you, how do you keep your kids occupied on a long trip?

God Bless,

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Chiwawa River Lodge

We were so blessed to be invited to join our friends at Chiwawa River Lodge outside of Leavenworth, WA for a long weekend.  The lodge was huge with enough room for four families to each have their own space. This was our room overlooking the Chiwawa River. We had great weather the whole time.  The beds were comfy and I slept like a rock at night. Now that the kids are older, I was even able to take a nap one day!

This huge table was suspended from the rafters. We were all able to fit around it at meal times. It was perfect and easy to sweep under, too!

Our friends, Rick and Mindy, who invited us. We had enough food between our four families to feed an army! We certainly didn't starve.

Michael enjoying the fireplace with the kids. We did s'mores one night. So nice to have a real fire indoors!
Here is the lodge from the outside. You can see just how big it is. There was also about 3 feet of snow on the ground in some places. The kids had a ball playing in it. We went sledding one day at Wenatchee Lake, which was super fun. Even the adults joined in and tried to beat each other's distances. 

I took this picture of the Chiwawa River standing at the front door of the lodge.

There was even a hot tub! 

More to come on our shopping trip to the town Bavarian-themed town of Leavenworth...

Monday, March 19, 2012

St. Patrick's Day Fun

We were supposed to go to the "Wee Bit O' Ireland Festival" in Heppner, OR this year, but the weather was chilly and the kids and I were fighting mild colds, so we decided we better stay home and do a low-key St. Patrick's Day celebration. We let Josiah cook breakfast this year. He loves to fry eggs, so he made us fried eggs with sausage and toast. He taped our names to each plate. It was so cute! Usually I make avocado pancakes, but this was good, too.

I took the opportunity to give my family some gifts. I gave Michael a new belt buckle for his kilt and the movie "Courageous". Josiah and Hailey got the Jonathan Park Volume III cd series, The newest Torchlighter DVD about William Booth (founder of the Salvation Army), a children's book about the true story of St. Patrick and kilt socks and sock flashes. We also got Josiah a kilt belt with a thistle buckle.  Can you tell my love language is gift giving? I have to be careful because I can overdo it so easily. That is why God gave me a man who's love language IS NOT gift giving, LOL. Keeps me in check ;o)
We have some good friends who celebrate St. Patrick's Day, too. So we called them up at the last minute and asked if we could bring over a corned beef and have a little celebration. We all dressed up (except, Kay - she's German, but we're working on her ;) and celebrated our Scotch-Irish heritage. Our friend, Billy, got us all some root beer to go with our corned beef and cabbage. We had some delicious potato soup with it, too. Billy put his shamrock plant in the middle of the table for decoration. It was perfect! We laughed and joked and had a great time. 

Here is a picture with both our friends, Billy and Kay. We are so blessed to know these guys. We've been friends for about 16 years now. We have our men and women's bible studies at their house. It is such a blessing. They are just awesome people and we are blessed to know them. 

When we came home we found a neat movie called "Saint Patrick: The Irish Legend". It was based on his personal writings. He was Ireland's "Paul" in my opinion. Just made me love the man that much more. He wasn't afraid of the church or anyone, he just bravely did what God called him to do. I want to be like that. Just doing what God wants me to do without question and with full peace of mind, despite the circumstances, resisting those voices around me who tell me to do otherwise. 

Hope you all had a wonderful St. Patrick's Day!

God Bless, Jackie

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Homemade Corned Beef and Cabbage Recipe

Happy St. Patrick's Day! 

I corn my beef ahead of time. You can use a pre-prepared corned beef, but it is way healthier if you corn your own. You can use whatever cut of meat you would like. I used a sirloin tip roast for this. 

Homemade Corned Beef Recipe:

4-8 lbs of beef (any cut)
1 cup kosher salt
1 Tbl pickling spices
1 tsp peppercorns (doesn't matter what kind)
2 bay leaves
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 c sucanat (or brown sugar)
1 gallon of water

Combine everything in a pan and bring to a boil. Stir until dissolved. Put meat in a glass pan and pour brine over. Weigh meat down if necessary to keep it under brine. Turn every now and then. Leave in brine for at least 24 hours, 3 to 5 days is better.

My favorite way to cook it:

Orpha's Corned Beef and Cabbage Recipe:
Discard brine. Boil corned beef in roasting pan (fat side up) for 3 or 4 hours in oven at 375 degrees, making sure it is submerged or floating in water. Then add potatoes wedges and carrots to roasting pan. Cook for another 30 minutes (can add 1 to 2 tsp pickling spice if desired). Then add 1/2 cabbage, sliced into wedges, cook another 30 minutes. Remove corned beef and slice. Keeping it all together (fat side up), place into smaller pan and cook 10 minutes in oven next to the other pan full of veggies. Remove from oven and serve.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

White Bean and Sage Sausage Gratin Recipe

White Bean and Sage Sausage Gratin Recipe:
4 cups of pre-cooked white beans (I use Great Northern beans)
2 cups homemade chicken broth
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, pressed
1 1/2 tsp dried sage leaves or 1 Tbl finely chopped fresh sage leaves
2 bay leaves
1 Tbl sea salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp ground rosemary
1 Tbl lemon zest
2 Tbl olive oil or bacon grease
1 cup homemade Italian bread crumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
sage breakfast sausage, slice links

1. In a medium pot or dutch oven, heat oil or bacon grease and saute chopped onion until just tender, then add garlic saute another two minutes.

2. Add cooked beans, chicken broth and all spices. Add water until bean mixture is covered, stir, bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes, blending flavors. 

3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. 

4. Fish out the bay leaves, then blend half the bean mixture, adding water if you need to get it to blend. Return blended bean mixture to the pot with the other beans. If it looks dry, add water until it looks nice and moist and liquidy. The water will soak up as it cooks or sits.

5. Pour beans into a 3 quart casserole or gratin dish. Sprinkle with 1 cup of Italian bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, sliced sausage links. 

6. Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly and top is browned.

You could easily make this recipe dairy free or vegetarian. The picture above is without sausage but my family of meat eaters liked it better when I added the sausage and Parmesan. This makes a great side dish or main dish. It kind of reminds me of a hearty stuffing. It is easy to double and freezes well uncooked. 

Enjoy, Jackie


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