Monday, June 21, 2010

Summer Solstice

You can hardly tell it's summer around here, let alone summer solstice. We woke up this morning to a steady downpour with gray and dreary skies. Hardly the summer day I envisioned. I had a day of cleaning, laundry, organization and summer planning in store for us. But when a friend called and invited us to the new Kroc center in Coeur d'Alene instead, I conveniently forgot about all of my obligations and responsibilities. We loaded up the kids and headed down. It's an amazing community center and we had a great time swimming the afternoon away. I don't think the laundry minded being put off until tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

School's Out!

Maren graduated from Mrs. Barbara's preschool in May. She had a great year exploring and being a bit more independent. Mrs. Barbara is a special teacher and we have been lucky enough to have her for all three girls. Hopefully, she won't retire before Izzy is old enough to attend her class also. We love you Mrs. Barbara! Great job Maren! Paige loved having Mrs. Stevens this year. In fact, when we were driving away from school today she asked if she could have Mrs. Stevens again next year. Sadly, she will be moving onto 3rd grade and Mrs. Stevens will be staying behind. But we are glad it was such a good year for Paige. Paige and best friend, Kiley. You've got to love the teeth on 2nd graders! Hannah excelled this year with Ms. Litven. It was her first year to receive letter grades and she was on the Honor Roll all four quarters. Way to go Hannah! Ms. Litven is an excellent teacher and we felt lucky to have Hannah in her class this year.

Hannah's big project for the end of the year was a presentation on Idaho History - which has been a big focus for them this year. They displayed pictures, reports and items from Idaho and spent the afternoon telling parents and other students about what they've learned this year. Hannah got extra points for her great costume - Thanks for loaning us the dress Campbell's!

Now... let SUMMER begin!

(and please send us some warm sunshine - we are ready to go to the beach!)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Farewell, dear Yukon.
As you drive to your new home in Montana we wish you good luck with new owners.
We will not miss your costly repairs (for silly problems).
We will not miss your squeaky doors.
We will not miss your awkward buttons and controls.
We will not miss your fancy gadgets that don't work.
We will not miss your funny smell (despite several deep cleanings, various scented sprays and vanilla trees).
Thank you for giving us lots of room to put our junk in.
Thank you for getting us through snowy winters on slippery roads.
Thank you for heated seats (well, only one of them worked. But it was mine, so I was happy).
Thank you for taking us skiing and to Grandma's, to school, church and on errands.
And last, but most importantly...
Thank you for selling quickly (before another costly repair!)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

New Technique

Thanks to one of my favorite cookbooks, The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook, I just found a new use for my cheese grater. It has now become my new pastry cutter. This works great for anything you would use a pastry cutter for - from pie crust to biscuits.
The method is simple... just freeze your butter until it is pretty firm. Then grate it with your cheese grater. I usually leave part of the butter wrapped in it's paper so I don't melt it with my fingers while grating. If the butter gets too soft, stick it back into the freezer for a few minutes until it hardens up again. Once it's grated, it's ready to use in your favorite recipe that calls for cutting butter in to the dry ingredients. For example, here is how you would use it in biscuits (which I made this week - they were delicious):
Buttermilk Biscuits
1 c. flour
1 c. cake flour
2 t. baking powder
1 t. sugar
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
8 T. (1 stick) butter, frozen
3/4 c. cold buttermilk
Heat oven to 450F. Sift dry ingredients. Grate frozen butter into the flour mixture and incorporate until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the buttermilk until the mixture forms a soft, slightly sticky ball. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and quickly form into a rough ball. Do not over mix. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a rough ball and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake until the tops are light brown, 10 - 12 minutes.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Quote of the Day

At lunch today, as Maren enjoyed drinking her lemonade through a swirly straw, she was overheard to say: "The person who invented the straw is a really good inventor because look how fast I can drink this stuff". Apparently she really enjoyed that lemonade!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Summer kick-off

We kicked off summer this Memorial Day weekend by taking our first kite boarding trip of the year. We met most of Kirks family in the Columbia River Gorge. Here are a few of the things we did... Playing in the sand... It was too cold for swimsuits and my girls didn't even ask. Maybe next trip! Watermelon... Visiting with family and spending lots of quality time together... Swing sets...
We estimated that these swing sets - out in the middle of nowhere - probably get more use than most swing sets in a typical community park. The park was teeming with kids and the swing sets were in constant use all weekend.
Kite boarding, of course! Bike riding...
You should see 2yr. old cousin Neil go on his boot scoot. I wish I had a video. Izzy figured out how to talk aunts and uncles into pushing her up the hill so she could ride down.
There was also plenty of great food and plenty of junk food (sorry, no pictures). Too bad I only did a little bit of running. It was a great weekend and we can't wait to go back a few more times this summer.

Return to the Classics

We just returned from a vacation where we spent plenty of time driving in the car. Before the trip, I made a stop at the Library and picked up several audio books. Our favorite turned out to be a great classic - Little House on the Prairie - written by Laura Ingalls Wilder and read by Cherry Jones.

The girls loved it and it kept Kirk and I interested as well. It was fun to re-visit a classic that we haven't read for a while. Try it on your next road trip! It definitely makes time in the car go by faster.