Sunday, June 28, 2009

Allowance dollars at work

Here is Paige. Proud owner of her own electric quad with trailer. She purchased it for $68 (bargained down from $70) from a neighborhood garage sale with allowance and birthday money she has been saving for months. This is a big accomplishment - considering she only gets $2.00/week.
We started giving the kids allowance several years ago. It has been a great way to teach them some realities about money - like how much it buys, how to pay tithing, how to save, etc. We help them divide their money: 10% to tithing, 10% to savings, 10% to college/mission, 70% for spending. The only stipulation is that they can't buy candy with it (healthy food is OK). I have cringed more than once as allowance money was spent on dollar store toys that break in the car on the way home. I have wondered when they would figure out that they could buy something they really wanted if they could control the urge to impulse buy. Paige has been diligently saving and had the money ready when something she really wanted came along. I am so proud of her.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


I started this blog several months ago with great intentions. But, for some reason, it took me a while to get rolling with it. Recently I have enjoyed reading blogs from my friends and family... Cassi, Jenny, Lindsey, Mike & Molly, etc. With inspiration from my friends, I have started to add a little more all the time. Since I am horrible at keeping a journal, I figure this is a great way to keep a little bit of my life preserved. Stay tuned for a little about me, my family, my hobbies and our adventures...

Windy Weekend

Here are a few shots from last weekend. Grandma Rosemary was kind enough to take the girls for a few days while Kirk and I enjoyed a little Kite boarding get-a-way. Lots of our friends were in the park for the weekend and we had great wind. The girls were in heaven with Grandma. A great time was had by all!


Todd with some hang time
James - King of big air and splash landings
The boys coming in after a session

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Garden Delights

When I was growing up, my parents always had a HUGE garden. I remember spending plenty of time weeding and working (I'm sure my parents did most of the work) in the garden - not to mention moving sprinkler pipe. But what I remember most is eating from the garden. We spent all summer eating whatever was in season and all winter eating whatever my Mom had preserved. Fresh peas (eaten as fast as you can pick them) are still one of my favorite vegetables.
I am not as ambitious as my parents were. I have little time to spend weeding, watering and caring for a garden and little space in our yard to devote to a big garden. But I have found some gardening techniques that work for me.
Shortly after we moved into our house, Kirk built me four garden boxes. He was all for having a garden and I think he figured that putting in garden boxes over existing lawn would only make less mowing for him. Because we have such poor, clay soil, we filled the garden boxes up with this amazing, beautiful black dirt - bought from a man down the road who digs it out of an old pond - chuck full of organic material. I have always used soaker hoses to water the garden, but this year I switched to a drip system from Orbit. I have it attached to timers that water it automatically and, so far, it works great.
Over the past few years I've been perfecting how and what I plant to suit my space limitations and our food preferences. My garden is shaping up to be a great one this summer. I order my seeds from Territorial Seed Company - a favorite local supplier from our days in Portland. I plant what we love to eat - lettuce, peas, beans, carrots, tomatoes, zucchini, beets, radish, onions, etc. My new 'experimental' vegetables this year are Broccoli and Edaname. I am excited to see how they both turn out.
My favorite part of having a garden is watching my kids spend the afternoon 'grazing'. Always asking 'what can we pick now Mom?'. I love to see them enjoying the fresh and nutritious vegetables.
I also love deciding what we are having for dinner based on what is ready in the garden. For example, tonight we had one of my favorite dinner salads - Applebee's Oriental Chicken Salad (see recipe below). It included lettuce, radish and sugar peas picked fresh from the garden this afternoon. It was delicious.
Applebee’s Oriental Salad Dressing: ½ c. honey ¼ c. white vinegar 1/3 c. mayonnaise 1/3 c. Dijon mustard ½ tsp. sesame oil Salad: Tyson Breast of Chicken – bake and cut into strips. One per person. 3 c. romaine lettuce 1 c. chopped red cabbage 1 c. chopped Napa cabbage ½ carrot shredded 1 green onion 1 T. sliced almonds – per person 1/3 c. chow mein noodles – per person

Horse Crazy

Hannah is wild about horses. She is at that age when everything revolves around them (I remember it well). She is constantly talking about horses. She is always involving her sisters in some make-believe game involving horses. She spots horses in every pasture and field we pass. She wants to own an Equestrian center when she grows up.

Here is a typical conversation... Hannah: 'Can I have a horse?' Mom: 'Sure, when you live on your own, you can have as many horses as you want.' Hannah: 'Why can't I have a horse now.' Mom: 'Because they are very expensive, take a lot of time and space. Plus, I am allergic to horses.' Hannah: 'But we have a big yard and I'd take really good care of it.' Mom: 'I know you would take really good care of a horse. Our yard is kind of big - but not big enough for horses. Where would your horse sleep?' You get the idea.

In order to satisfy some of her horse cravings, she was given cowboy boots last Christmas. And for her birthday in April, we gave her horse riding lessons - which she started this summer. She loves learning all about taking care of and riding horses. She has spent time on Big Mama and Comet (seen below). She is really looking forward to visiting Grandma Johnson's in July where she will spend 4 days in horse camp at the Schiess farm with Paige and cousin Natalie. Kirk and I will most likely never own a horse. But Hannah is enjoying the time she gets with them now and, who knows, maybe someday she will have a horse of her own.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Top 10 Things I Have Learned From My Dad

1. 10” of new powder is worth skipping school (and work) for. 2. Bread is always better with a good crust. 3. A few squeaky screen doors are good with Teenage daughters in the house. 4. Being organized makes life easier. 5. A sharp knife is essential in cooking. 6. Early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise (especially the early to rise part). 7. A quiet whisper is often easier to hear than a loud roar. 8. Enjoying the outdoors by canoeing, camping, hiking etc. is one of the great joys in life. 9. Family is more important than work. 10. I am loved.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Fun on the Rocks

"Nooooo, not the rock pile. I don't want to go to the rock pile. Pleeeeeeaaaaase can we go to Roosevelt instead? Pleeeeeeaaase?" This was the chorus - lead by Hannah - that the kids sang as we drove to the Columbia River for a weekend of kite boarding and camping. The kids finished up school for the year, Kirk finished up work for the week and we were packed and headed for The Gorge. We informed the girls that we were not going to our usual spot - Roosevelt - which is grassy, has a great beach, lots of friends to play with and is very kid friendly. Instead, we headed to Rufus which is basically a big pile of rocks further down the river but promised to have better wind. We met our friends, the Lorio's, and hoped for some good kite boarding. We had great wind all weekend and kite boarded several sessions each day. Here's me on my 7m kite.
Here's Kirk catching some air.
The girls had a great time playing on the rocks, in the water, and with their friends Jensen and Kyra Lorio. We all came home tired, in desperate need of a bath and happy. On the way home the kids were asking "When can we go to Rufus again?"

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


We recently discovered the Boot Scoot training bike for our children learning to ride. It is a bike – but without pedals. We got the idea from cousin Drew who whips around on his Boot Scoot in Rexburg. You can buy the fancy version or, if you are cheap like us, take the smallest $20 bike from Wal Mart and remove the pedals. Boot Scoots have no pedals and instead teach children to balance as they go. Maren has been practicing on the Boot Scoot for some time now and decided it was time to try the real bike. As she was waiting in the driveway for Kirk to come out and help her learn to ride, she decided to give it a little try. Without any effort, and because of the balance she learned on the Boot Scoot – she just got on and started going. No chasing after her, no tipping over, no tears. It was great. Now she loves to ride and is glad she can keep up with the big girls. Whew! If only we would have known about this for the first two!

The Peony

Forget roses. Forget Lilies, daisies, geraniums. My favorite garden flower is the Peony. And mine are just beginning to bloom this week. They remind me of my childhood visiting Grandpa Byington’s house in Brigham City. They remind me of our little house in Portland where I first experienced having a peony in my very own garden. They remind me of moving into our home in Sandpoint just as the peonies were coming into bloom. These beautiful ones pictured below were a birthday gift from my sister that I planted several years ago.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Play Date

There are date nights, blind dates, prom dates, weekly dates, etc. Kirk and I have play dates. Although we enjoy the occasional dinner and a movie - our funnest dates occur during the day. In the winter our we have our weekly play date on the ski slope. It's a great time to enjoy a fun activity, have time to talk without children interrupting, get some exercise and clear our heads. Today, Kirk took me on our first moto play date. He loaded up the quad and the motorcycle and we headed to Roman Nose. It's a beautiful mountain peak just north of us. I have ridden the quad in our driveway, but that's about the extent of my quad experience. Kirk picked an easy, but beautiful and fun trail. The idea was to make it to lakes and granite cliffs at the top. Just as we got close to the top of the ridge, we ran into snow and couldn't go any further (although Kirk couldn't help but try). We had a nice picnic lunch on a granite bolder in the middle of a small, picturesque stream. I always enjoy spending time with Kirk and am glad we have the opportunity to do so many fun things together.